Standing on a chair to perform minor home repairs just won't cut it forever. Ladders aren't the most romantic tools, but they're basic essentials if you plan on painting, replacing ceiling fixtures or molding, or doing much of anything involving your home's exterior.
- Extension ladders - Extension ladders are rated for their extension height and weight. You want a ladder that's long enough for your highest elevation jobs, but look for one that allows you to stay on the fourth rung down or lower and still reach the height you need. You also want a ladder that's rated for the weight you'll be carrying (typically 200 pounds or less). An aluminum ladder will be much lighter than one made of wood or fiberglass, and it can withstand exposure to the elements. This sounds great, but the one drawback is that it's a very poor choice if you'll be working on or near electrical lines. For that type of work, you'll need a fiberglass or wood extension ladder. They're heavier and more expensive, but they're safer around electrical current.
- Multipurpose ladders - Multipurpose ladders can get pricey, but they're designed to fold, extend and even go together as scaffolding. They're a good choice if you're not sure what type of work you'll be doing and want a very flexible option. If you're just getting into home repair, they're fun and useful.
Buying a good ladder is important, but using it safely is critical. Before you clean your gutters, wash your siding or perform any other DIY task, learn how to position and handle a ladder safely.