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Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

  1. #1
    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?


    Finally gave back the aluminum extension ladder I borrowed from a buddy 9 years ago. Of course, as soon as I do this, I need to get up on the roof and clean out my chimney cap.

    I think it's about time to buy a decent ladder. Needs to go 2 stories up to get on my roof. I'm thinkin a 28' is right.

    Question being, aluminum or fiberglass.

    Aluminum is rather wiggly. Not exactly confidence inspiring. I'm not good with heights on wiggly ladders.

    Fiberglass is heavier? Not sure on that one.

    I'm thinkin fiberglass.

    Something like this decent enough for a homeowner?

    Werner 28 ft. Fiberglass Extension Ladder with 300 lb. Load Capacity Type IA Duty Rating-D6228-2 - The Home Depot

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    Lifer burnham's Avatar
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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    I use fiberglass because they don't conduct. If I wasn't worried about being electrocuted I'd probably use aluminum. Fiberglass tends to get beat to shit if it's left out in the elements. The 28' extension and 10' step ladders I bought 7 years ago look pretty rough already.

    With that said, the ladder you linked would work fine, that's what I have at home. At work I have a 28' Featherlight ladder. Quite a bit lighter than an average ladder, sturdy, and you can fold the feet around without having to extend the ladder.

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    Lifer union's Avatar
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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    I prefer fiberglass. I like them better because they they don't conduct electricity. They are heavier and the longer ones can be tricky to move around alone. I'm not sure which will flex more given the same length but any ladder will flex and it gets worse the longer the ladder is.

    The ladder you choose is the same one I have but mine is only 24 foot. It has been a good ladder for me. I would buy again.

    Another thing to consider is getting a stabilizer. Depending on how much over hang you have it may bump you out a little more and the ladder will be less likely to move side to side while you're on it. Werner Universal Stabilizer-AC96 - The Home Depot

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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    I have a 40' fiberglass extension, it's freekin heavy, (needed to get to the peak of my barn) I would have prefered an aluminum extension ladder, but couldn't find one that was rated for over 275 lbs, my fiberglass ladder is rated for 350 lbs. You could get away with an aluminum ladder

    my fiberglass is hard to put up alone, almost impossible, an aluminum ladder is easy to put up comparatively,

    once up, I much prefer a fiberglass ladder, aluminum ladders feel to bouncy

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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    A little off topic, but what's up with the chimney cap?

    In terms of the ladder, what these guys said. Aluminum is lighter but a bit flexy, fiberglass weighs more but tends to feel more stable. I keep 32' and 24' fiberglass extension ladders and 12' and 20' foot aluminum roof ladders (really just one length of a 24 and 40 foot extension ladder with a ridge hook attached) on the truck and can get to most any chimney with that combination.

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    Lifer Rosco61's Avatar
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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    if you buy the correct grade aluminum ladder it will not feel flexible at all.

    D800 "PROFESSIONAL" SERIES ALUMINUM EXTENSION LADDERS - Lynn Ladder & Scaffolding Co., Inc.

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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosco61 View Post
    if you buy the correct grade aluminum ladder it will not feel flexible at all.

    D800 "PROFESSIONAL" SERIES ALUMINUM EXTENSION LADDERS - Lynn Ladder & Scaffolding Co., Inc.
    Took the words right out of my mouth!

    There are different grades of ladders and I always felt the consumer grade ones were wobbly. Went to Lynn Ladder years ago when I lived in Marblehead and bought a Grade I ladder. The ones at the big boxes are usually Grade II or III. Type IA in the link is 300 lb rating. Makes an immense difference. It also helps with stability to get the spreaders at the top, and they're essential for painting.
    LYN-LAD STABILIZER - Lynn Ladder & Scaffolding Co., Inc.

    You often have to move them alone and I didn't plan to work on electrical so, aluminum.

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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    My preference is for fiberglass as well and I have a 28' IA extension ladder that replaced an old 24' wooden one that weighed a ton. When you get into the heavy duty aluminum ladders, there really isn't much weight savings over a fiberglass. Fiberglass is non-conductive but over a long period of time can be degraded by UV light if not properly maintained. Aluminum is conductive but you can store it outside indefinitely and requires minimal maintenance.

    The Werner ladder you posted is an excellent one and you benefit pricewise from the economies of scale because Home Depot carries it.

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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    I just finished a primary research project with tradesmen where this topic unexpectedly came up over and over again. The professional choice is fiberglass, hands down. That being said, they all complained about the fibers eventually becoming exposed causing an itchy mess.

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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    It will be stored in a heated garage, so outdoor storage with UV issues isn't a concern.

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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIglu View Post
    It will be stored in a heated garage, so outdoor storage with UV issues isn't a concern.
    I always buy fiberglass unless I know the ladder will live outside. In general, I don't trust aluminum ladders because they are more susceptible to accidental damage by getting banged around. If the ladder drops or gets hit by something, any bend or kink can be a failure point. Fiberglass is more forgiving to typical usage/storage abuse that I see in my garage. Weight is less of a factor as its not something i use daily.

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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    I wouldn't buy an aluminum ladder, most importantly because they conduct electricity. They are also more wobbly and in my opinion, harder to set up/pull down with the rope. Aluminum is not as slippery as fiberglass, so the ladder "sticks" more when pulling it up. Fiber glass is heavier, but manageable once you figure how to do it.

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    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    Quote Originally Posted by freezinvt View Post
    A little off topic, but what's up with the chimney cap?
    The screen that covers the vents to keep critters out might be getting clogged. I'm not getting the draft I used to. I sweep from inside my house with fiberglass poles, so I can't visually check it without using binoculars.

    I'll need to have a ladder handy either way once winter hits.

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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIglu View Post
    Finally gave back the aluminum extension ladder I borrowed from a buddy 9 years ago.
    that reminds me, I have to get my 21' Gorilla ladder back that I loaned to my son,

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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    Fiberglass does NOT attract lightning

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    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    Quote Originally Posted by R7 View Post
    Aluminum is not as slippery as fiberglass, so the ladder "sticks" .
    I find that silicone spray lubricant helps quite a bit, especially on my Gorilla ladder

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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    Wow.

    I live on a ladder, literally. I'm a roofer. Really surprised the consensus is fiberglass. I can't stand fiberglass ladders. Definitely not as well built as a good aluminum ladder. Not sure I'd be hitting wires with either, just don't hit power lines or clean your chimney in a lightning storm.

    I think aluminum is very sturdy and lighter than fiberglass. That being said, we only by from Lynn ladders.

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    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    I'm not a professional roofer, nor do I want to spend big $$$ on something I'll use once a year.

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    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIglu View Post
    I'm not a professional roofer, nor do I want to spend big $$$ on something I'll use once a year.
    I didn't want to either, but when I need it, I need it, my 40' Type 1AA ladder cost me nearly $800 and I've used it 3 times in the 10 years I've had it ..... you could always rent a Lull

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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    I grabbed a ladder from work, aluminum, that was at the end of its service life (insurance thing??). Been using that for 10+ years. The catch broke on one side, I jam a piece of 2x4 in there once extended. Yeah, living on the edge, bitches. Anyway, for a couple times a year, I couldn't tell the difference between aluminum or fiberglass. They'd both enable me to put up my Christmas lights and burn the birds nest out of my woodstove chimney.

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    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyO View Post
    you could always rent a Lull
    Nah. I don't rent stuff. Waste of money. I let my neighbor buy one and just use it from time to time.




    Doesn't help a lot in the middle of winter because the Lull is 4wd, therefore prone to get stuck (wish it was 2wd).

    Still need a ladder. Don't need a professional ladder. I won't be using it hourly, daily, weekly or monthly. Probably once a year. I'm thinkin that fiberglass jobby I linked will work fine for my needs.

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    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIglu View Post
    I'm thinkin that fiberglass jobby I linked will work fine for my needs.
    I'm sure it will, you weigh a lot less than me, and the peak of yer roof isn't as high, if I was in your situation, that is the exact ladder I woulda got

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    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: Ladders, aluminum or fiberglass?

    I used to have a job in college where I power washed the peak eves of our town library, in a wind/rainstorm, with a 40' aluminum ladder at full extension.

    I have ZERO interest in being at the top of a 40' ladder ever again.

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