Ladders against gutters... And what to do when getting onto a roof ladder?

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Krome10

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Hi

I'm back with my second ladder question...

I must admit, I usually just lean my ladder against the gutters and I've not had a problem yet. But I can see that a stand off is a better idea, and at the same time will make working easier. So I'm going to get myself one.

But I've got some roof work to do soon and will be getting a roof "hook" ladder for that. I know the ground ladder should extend around a metre passed the gutter to make it easier / safer to step across. But I can't imagine that would work well with the stand off. So what do people do? Put the ground ladder against the gutters? Or is there a better/safer way to do it and avoid using the gutters?

Many thanks
 

HOJ

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Presuming this isn't a bungalow! and not meaning to underestimate you, but:

Please give this some serious thought, are you happy working at heights? are you strong enough to manhandle a ladder, in the first instance up to the eaves, with a stand off attached as well, then pull up a roof ladder, run it up the roof and flip it over the ridge, with the chance of knocking tiles off in the process, then clambering up said roof ladder, to do what when you get there?
 

Richard_C

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I don't like ladder work and certainly won't go beyond gutters onto the roof. For years I have just leaned it against the gutters for the 2x annual de leaf, but this spring I bought a stand off so I could replace a gutter section. Big plus for stability, and did the job, but even my fairly light aluminium one made it a real beast to get the ladder up and move it around.

I have resolved to pay someone in future, age 70, ladders and gravity make uneasy partners.
 

Inspector

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My standoffs fit into a pair of rungs on either side of the ladder with friction holding them in place. I put them in 3 or 4 rungs down from the top giving lots above them to grab on to. I also have a fall protection harness and the roofer left anchor points behind when the roof was done with the asphalt shingles. So the first thing is to clip the rope in when I get on the roof and then go about whatever I went up for. When done then remove the rope before getting off the roof. I have to use the standoffs because the gutters here are so thin they buckle when the ladder is placed against them.

Pete
 

Bingy man

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100% don’t put ladders on the gutters, the stand of should leave the ladder clear of the gutters and should not impede access onto the roof . Consider also for your own safety the pitch of the roof and the type of material used ( tiles / slate / asbestos or corrugated sheets etc) .as per previous post 1st job is to set up and secure ladders top and bottom and a buddy in case you go wrong. inspectors post regarding a fall arrest harness is definitely worth the extra cost in terms of your safety ..
 

Tradebloke

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I have been doing roof repairs on and off for most of my life. When I am getting on a roof I like to have an assistant to make it safer but that's not always an option. I would normally extend the ladders onto the guttering and go about a meter above. Then either screw some heavy duty eyelets into the soffit board if the building has one so I can securely tie the ladder into position. Failing that I would remove a small section if tiles in front of the ladder and tie the ladder to the roof rafters.

Removing the tiles can also make stepping onto the roof safer and easier, especially if your roof ladder does not meet the upright ladder. Also I normally place 2 bags of sand at the feet of the ladder. Having a solid un-movable rigid ladder will give you more safety and confidence stepping on to and off of it.

If you slide down the roof by accident, its good to know that it will stop you. On bigger jobs I have done this with 2 ladders tied in and used a scaffold board between them to increase safety further. But all said and done, you cant beat a scaffold for roof safety.
 

Phil Russell

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Fascinating topic with good advice. Thank you.
May I extend it a bit? How do people extend their long 2 section ladders? Generally no real problem shoving the 2nd section up to about head height and hooking it onto the 1st section but how do you go higher?
I have thought about 'walking' the pre-extended ladder up the wall but am not too sure it is standard practice.
Cheers, Phil
 

Ozi

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I used to climb for a living and you couldn't pay me to transfer from a ladder leaning on gutters to a roof ladder hooked over the ridge. As others have said hire a scaffold they are quite cheep and easy to assemble, usually make the job quicker as well as safer. always make sure of the surface it's built on
 

Tradebloke

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Fascinating topic with good advice. Thank you.
May I extend it a bit? How do people extend their long 2 section ladders? Generally no real problem shoving the 2nd section up to about head height and hooking it onto the 1st section but how do you go higher?
I have thought about 'walking' the pre-extended ladder up the wall but am not too sure it is standard practice.
Cheers, Phil
For most buildings I can reach the gutter and then walk up the ladder a bit to extend further. If against a wall its easier to have an assistant push the ladder off the wall while you do this. I have managed to do it alone by making the ladder very steep and kind of bumping it off the wall while pushing up. Some larger ladders have wheels and or ropes to make this easier.
 

Tradebloke

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lol yeah the same safety brigade who think you should put acrows props and scaffold boards up to the ceiling if you want to get into your loft to do some electrical work.
 

Bingy man

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If your not sure or confident then 2 people to set up is best practice-if you are part way through setting up your ladder and it starts to come back towards you gravity will take over with you in between. Again avoid having kids in the work area - take extra steps to prevent access from a rear door or back gate . Kids are incredibly curious to see dad on the roof of the house .. oh and make sure your phone is charged and to hand jic- if you are all set to go and have 2nd thoughts about the job as you are about to step from ladder to cat ladder ( hopefully you will use one ) then stop and descend to the ground . No shame in that as it will look different than when on the ground looking up to roof level looking down. Keep your wits about you once on the roof and move steadily and cautiously using both hands // and feet to assend/descend ..
 

gasman

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I'm an anaesthetist - hence Gasman - and used to do alot of trauma anaesthesia. The best 'elfin safety' story I ever heard was a guy who had fallen backwards off his ladder whilst cutting a tall hedge, breaking a couple of vertebrae and one hip. He was holding a flymo mower by the sides of the base, using a cable tie to keep the power on, in order to shave the vertical face of the hedge. One of the surgeons had driven past him doing it on the way to work and recounted the story to us all in horror. A couple of hours later he was our patient. These days I am all for a bit of due care and attention! Regards to all Mark
 

Sandyn

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at 70+ I still get up on the roof using a ladder or a ladder off my tower. I now always tie the ladder/tower to anchor loops I have dotted about the walls. I also use a body harness and have rope loops along the ladder. If moving from a ground ladder to roof ladder, I have a rope loop on the roof ladder. I attach the body harness before moving across.
I have a three section ladder and it's really difficult to extend. Having it near vertical against the wall is how I do it. I bump the ladder off the wall as I push the top section up. I might have to climb on to the ladder to get the top section fully extended. I then unlatch the bottom section and holding the top two sections against the wall I kick the bottom section away from the wall.

One of the most dangerous thing you can do whilst working on a ladder is trying to reach too far sideways. It puts everything out of balance and puts side loads on the ladder. It's better to spend the time to reposition the ladder.
 

woodwind

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We used to do a lot of tv aerial installation work in the pre health and safety days but were very conscious of good practice and would concur with most of the advice given, foot the ladder properly, tie to an eyelet and use a padded roof ladder with good quality wheels, also use a safety harness if possible. But we never used a standoff! They make the ladders unwieldy and heavy. A length of wood rounded on one side was laid in the gutter to minimise any deformation or damage.
I'm not suggesting the OP do this of course, but if he does, it's a good idea to attach a length of rope to the wood as a reminder to remove it after use. Experience talking here!
As for the large three section rope operated ladders, we kept one for the occasional higher than normal jobs, but they need two or three men to operate safely and we hated using ours, eventually just sold it and refused any such jobs that came along.
 

lexi

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Slater all my life. Ladders up against gutter is simple. Go up main ladder to just underneath gutter level. Drop a tight fitting bit of 4x2 2ft in length into gutter. The timber will lean against the bottom course of tile or slate. This will take weight of ladder and you without breaking gutter, or sliding on stupid vinyl gutters, Put ladder up against this timber and 4ft past gutter, Climb up and make ladder secure by screwing a bit of metal strap, or similar, to facia or roof truss. No chance now of ladder going side to side, it is locked.
Get your roof ladder onto roof. Tie that roof ladder to main ladder too. I normally tie roof ladder at top somewhere as well. Just shed some tile or slate at a joist and screw some fixing in. Remember, roof ladders are not fullproof. You need to keep your weight on them carefully. Even at that, the hook can slide up and ride over the ridge if roof is very slimy. If you are wary, throw a light rope over the roof and and down other side of house. Secure that from ground to top rung of roof ladder when all in place. It will keep you safe till your weight goes on the roof ladder. I carried 3 roof ladders. Big,small and an extension one that would eat most roofs. Longer the roof ladder, the more it needs tied at top, or spiked into roof at bottom. If you get method right, are fit .and have no fear, your chances are a bit better. With a helper..........they are better still.
 

Krome10

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Huge thanks to you all for the replies and input.

The section of roof I need to access is actually single storey. It's not a bungalow; the house has a mixture of one and two storey parts, but I've no plans to get onto the second storey higher roof. At least not until I've got a lot of experience on the lower roof, and maybe never. That's not to say I'll take anything for granted on the single storey roof and I'll treat it with the same respect as any other roof. I just won't have to re-enforce my pants as much as I would otherwise!

I like the idea of 2x4 in the gutter. Now that it has been suggested, I can't believe I'd not thought of it myself before. I need to get a standoff anyway, one which also allows positioning the ladder on a corner - as I have a gutter that can only be reached by putting the ladder against the corner. So I can try both the stand off and the timber in the gutter technique.

Presuming this isn't a bungalow! and not meaning to underestimate you, but:

Please give this some serious thought, are you happy working at heights? are you strong enough to manhandle a ladder, in the first instance up to the eaves, with a stand off attached as well, then pull up a roof ladder, run it up the roof and flip it over the ridge, with the chance of knocking tiles off in the process, then clambering up said roof ladder, to do what when you get there?

I'm fairly comfortable at heights. I've worked off ladders a lot - cleaning windows, painting, clearing gutters (a weekly job where I live!), and stuff like that. Just never on a roof ladder. I'm fairly fit and strong so don't think I'll have too much trouble on that front. The single storey roof in question abuts the gable end of the two storey section of the house. The gable end has render which needs hacking off. So I'll be using the ladder to access the wall and to sit on while I hack off. I've already done the bulk of the house, much of which was working off an extension ladder.


I like the idea of anchor points and have been thinking about that for a while. Not necessarily for this job or roof, but we have another single storey lean-to roof, so there's no ridge and it's in an awkward spot. It's left me dreaming up all kinds of ways I can access the wall at the end of the lean-to. Perhaps that's a subject for another thread, when the time comes...

But anchor points could help with this job too. Could anyone offer any advice please on what's best to use for anchor points, how to affix them to ensure they are strong enough, and any other tips?

Would also be really helpful if anyone could link me to the best type of rope to use when tying ladders, securing them as described above, etc. And if it's not taking the pee, any knot advice would likewise be really useful.

Huge thanks to you all :)
 
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