Do-It-Yourself Siding Projects and Ladder Safety


A do-it-yourself siding project, like other do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, can be enjoyable and give you a real sense of accomplishment. One of your vinyl siding tools for this project may be a ladder. But be careful not to become a statistic--ladder accidents send over 200,000 people to the emergency room each year, some with very serious injuries. A ladder is a safe tool when you use it safely and keep it in good working order.

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Types of Ladders for Do-It-Yourself Siding Projects

Homeowners typically use two types of ladders: stepladders and extension ladders, each of which are available in various heights and weights. For a DIY siding project, you should use a ladder tall enough to easily reach the greatest height of your siding installation.

Also, make sure that your stepladder is in good working order and all steps are secure. Follow the instructions on the ladder regarding how high you can climb on it. If you're using an extension ladder, you should never work on the third rung from the top or higher. It's a good idea to err on the side of caution--if a ladder isn't quite tall enough for your DIY siding project, find a taller ladder.

Step ladders and extension ladders come in four weight categories:

  • Type III Light Duty; maximum weight 200 pounds
  • Type II Medium Duty; maximum weight 225 pounds
  • Type I Heavy Duty; maximum weight 250 pounds
  • Type IA Extra Heavy Duty; maximum weight 300 pounds

When choosing which ladder to use, consider your weight as well as the weight of the equipment you may be carrying. If the combined weight is approaching a ladder's maximum weight capacity, you should select the safer ladder.

Finally, you should make sure that the ladder is secure before attempting to climb it. For example, professionals usually have a helper hold and steady the bottom of the ladder when working at potentially dangerous heights.

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