Re: Ladder Safety -- Roof Access
It's a little hard to describe, but if you want to set up a ladder on a gable end against the sloping edge of the roof, you don't want the ladder rungs to be parallel with the wall (as you would leaning it against the gutter). Doing so may cause the ladder to twist, lose stability and fall sideways in the downslope direction of the roof.
Instead, you want the rungs to be at a slight angle to the wall (though still level -- your ladder rungs must always be level!). The idea is that when you pull the ladder away from the roofline (with the feet firmly on the ground) and return it, you want the rails to touch the roofline at the same time.
You can test the stability of your ladder setup by placing one foot on the bottom of the ladder, and slowly tilting the ladder away from the wall until it is standing nearly straight up. The rungs must be level and the rails must be plumb side-to-side; if they lean when you pull the ladder away from the wall, you must reposition the ladder. Gently return the ladder against the wall. The rails must meet the wall at the same time; if not, you must reposition the ladder. This will test that both feet are evenly and firmly planted on the ground, and that there will be no twisting which could cause a foot to come off the ground.
If you have a hard time telling whether the angle is correct, just look at the rungs. The flat part on top should be level.
You should ALWAYS test the stability of the ladder, even if you have a helper holding it to give you confidence. (I'm not a big fan of having someone hold the ladder; for some reason it makes me more nervous. But then, I've never had a fear of heights.) Once a ladder starts going, it's unlikely that a helper could stop it anyway; at least make sure they have a phone to call 911.
Last edited by Fencepost; 09-03-2011 at 06:08 PM.
The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.