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Ladder ratings – What ladder is best for the job

Have you ever wonder what that sticker on your ladder means, or if that ladder was strong enough to support you and your tools. Here is some basic ladder info to help you decided what ladder to use for what task.

Ladders are typically rated by the weight they can carry per rung.

  • Type III Ladder – 200 pounds – rated for light duty.
  • Type II Ladder – 225 Pounds – rated for medium duty.
  • Type I Ladder – 250 Pounds – Rated for Industrial use/heavy duty
  • Type IA Ladder – 300 Pounds – Rated for Extra Heavy Duty


Info on the different materials ladders are made from.

Aluminum Ladders:

These ladders are typically inexpensive and lightweight, which makes them ideal for job where you need to carry the ladder by yourself. However, it is not recommended to use an aluminum ladder around live electrical wiring. Aluminum is a conductive metal, thus increasing your chance of electrical shock if you come in contact with a live wire while working from an aluminum ladder.

Fiberglass Ladders:

A fiberglass ladder is one of the more expensive ladders, but will last you a long time. The fiberglass is strong, rot, and rust resistant, and is non-conductive making it ideal to work around electrical wiring.

 Wooden Ladders:

Wooden ladders have fallen out of popularity over the last few years. They are prone to dying out, cracking, splintering, and if left in the wet weather, rotting. However, they are usually less expensive than fiberglass, fairly lightweight, and non-conductive.

Homemade Job site Ladders:

Even if you are building a homemade ladder, you should still follow all the OSHA standards for building ladders. To build your ladder you should use a minimum of structural rated 2×4’s for the sides of the ladder, and 1×3’s for the rungs. Be sure to inspect the wood for large knots, as knots will weaken the wood and could cause a failure.

When attaching the rungs to the sides, do not just nail them on. For the strongest attachment notch, them into the 2×4’s then nail or screw them.

For ladders that are up to 12 feet tall should have the sides spaced 16 inches apart (inside measurement), and for ladders up to 20 feet tall should have an inside measurement of 18 inches between the sides.


The information provided here is only intended to be used for general knowledge. Before implementing into your project consult an architect/engineer, your local building department, and the manufacture of the products you are using.

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