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Ladders and Step Stools

Whether you have tall kitchen cabinets, hard-to-reach attic space, or are just a bit vertically challenged, a ladder or step stool is essential. While ladders tend to be your faithful outdoor workhorses, step stools are your best friends in the kitchen or closet. Along with being practical, styles like a library ladder can add to your décor. As you shop for ladders or step stools, keep these considerations in mind:

What type of ladder or step stool do I need?

Choosing the right style depends on what sort of tasks you plan to undertake. In terms of practical use, there are two main designs:
• Extension ladder: If you’re looking for a way to get up on your roof, this should do the trick. These typically range in height from 16 to 40 feet and are designed to have you stand no higher than the fourth rung from the top. Instead of being self-supporting like an A-frame ladder, they’re designed to lean up against your house or another sturdy surface.
• A-frame ladder: These range in size from a shorter step stool style all the way to taller styles that can be used to hang artwork or reach those top-level shelves.

Should my ladder be made of a certain material?

Stability and safety are huge factors when it comes to choosing the right material. Keep in mind what you plan to use yours for when picking a material.
• Wood: An affordable and durable option, wood also looks great. If you’ll be moving around or working outdoors, be aware that it tends to be a heavier option that’s prone to weathering.
• Aluminum: This lightweight option is perfect for the majority of home use. However, if you plan to do some electrical work, be aware it is conductive.
• Fiberglass: The electrician or roofer’s top choice, these ladders are non-conductive, durable and strong. It’s a bit heavier than aluminum, though.

Are there any safety tips I should follow when using my step stool or ladder?

Even if you’re simply adding a couple of inches onto your height with your folding step stool, it’s wise to keep safety in mind. Here are a few tips to keep your ascent and descent as safe as possible.
• Only use ladders and step stools for their intended purposes.
• Refrain from setting up on an unstable or rough surface.
• Take care when storing your ladder or step stool. Be sure it’s secured and won’t fall over on people or present a tripping hazard.
• Be sure all locks are properly secured before climbing up.
• Keep a three-point contact when climbing and always face the ladder. A three-point contact can be two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand.
• Avoid stepping on the top rung unless it’s intended for that purpose. Most ladders will be marked to indicate whether you can take that final step.
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