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How to Calculate the Ladder Length Needed

Ladders are needed to work at heights taller than ourselves. When working on ladders you need to do so safely in order to avoid a possible trip to the emergency room. Choosing the right length of the ladder helps to work on the ladder safely.

Stepladders must be tall enough for the worker to reach the area of work with their hands. A stepladder is suited for work up to a height of about 10 feet. Beyond that height, extension ladders are better suited.

Determine the height of the stepladder needed based on the height of the work area. A step ladder should reach within four feet of the work area so the worker can stand on the rung and safely reach the work area.

infographic of extension ladder pitch and placement

Here’s the calculation to determine the height of a step ladder: If your ceiling is 12 feet in height, subtract the four feet needed for the worker to reach the work area, and the remainder would be the height of the step ladder needed, in this case, a 8 foot step ladder.

Extension Ladders
Extension ladders need to be long enough to be placed at the correct pitch depending on the work height needed. If you are working on a roof, you need the extension ladder to extend three feet above the eave so you can access the rooftop with ease. So make sure to consider and add in this additional length when determining the height needed.

Here’s the calculation to determine the pitch of the extension ladder: place the feet of the ladder one (1) foot away from the wall for every four (4) feet of extended ladder height. An example would be a twenty (20) foot extended ladder (divided by four) should be placed five (5) feet away from the wall.

Talk with Our Ladder Experts
If you are still not sure what length of ladder you need, give us a call! We at Sunset Ladder & Scaffold have been selling ladders and scaffolding since 1929. Our team of experts are the best informed in the ladder and scaffold industry with sales and service second to none! We are ready to advise you of the many options available to you.

About Sunset Ladder & Scaffold
Sunset Ladder and Scaffold rents and sells the safest and highest quality ladders, scaffolding and related products available since 1929. We rent and sell ALL types of ladders and scaffolding that the industry offers including our own American-made Sunset Ladder Co and EZ Lift brands.