As ladders go, fiberglass is extremely popular with construction workers, gardeners, and DIY experts. They come with a long list of benefits, although the main positive is arguably their strength. That said, can a fiberglass ladder be stored outside?
It’s never a good idea to store fiberglass ladders outside. This is because sustained exposure to UV light from the sun can then weaken their structure over time making them unsafe to use.
However, you can safely use fiberglass ladders while the sun is shining – it’s just not a good idea to leave them for long periods. Keep reading, and we’ll break down everything you need to know.
What will happen if I leave my fiberglass ladder outside?
Fiberglass ladders are very resilient when it comes to water and wet weather, which – on the whole – tends to be the main concern when discussing leaving other types of ladders outside. However, in fact, your main enemy for fiberglass is UV. That said, it’s likely not healthy to leave any kind of ladder out in wet conditions.
When overexposed to sunlight, fiberglass deteriorates and can even break down completely. As you can imagine, this will only make your ladder more unsafe to use as time goes on.
That said, fiberglass ladders do arrive with some protection. Gel coatings can help to protect your fiberglass tools against the strongest of UV. However, that gel will not last forever – even the best fiberglass ladders are at risk of deteriorating.
In order to better ensure your fiberglass ladder’s well-being and, in turn, your own, you will need to wax and re-coat your ladder every six months. There is no harm in arranging for a professional to wax your ladder for you, however, it’s something that’s easy enough to try on your own (keep reading for the lowdown).
Above all, however, it’s probably better to just keep storing your fiberglass ladder inside, wherever possible – even if you have a maintenance regime lined up.
How long will a fiberglass ladder last?
Providing you care for your ladder properly, you can expect your fiberglass ladder to last up to three years in regular service. That said, it all depends on where you store it, and what your maintenance plan actually looks like.
As bizarre as it may sound, yes – it does pay to have a maintenance and cleaning plan for your ladder! It stands to reason that you’ll want to get your money’s worth over years of use. Let’s take a look at a few golden rules.
Tips for maintaining your outdoor fiberglass ladder
Keep it waxed
As mentioned above, waxing your fiberglass ladder is going to help keep it resilient against the threat of UV rays. You’ll easily find specifically manufactured UV fiberglass wax from online stores – it’s important that you only ever use wax that’s designed for use with fiberglass if you can. Otherwise, some experts suggest motorcar wax works well, too.
Be aware of moisture
Again, fiberglass ladders will withstand the rain and wet more than any other type of ladder. However, that doesn’t mean they are invincible in the face of moisture. As such, be careful with using them in wet weather, just as much as you would with other ladders. Again, it’s another good reason why you should simply keep your ladder indoors or at least covered up. If your fiberglass ladder gets wet too often, you could risk cutting its lifespan down by years.
Can lacquer help?
In some cases, if you do need to use your fiberglass ladder outside a lot, you might benefit from coating it with polyurethane or lacquer. This is a great way to make sure that the sun doesn’t eat away at your ladder’s paint and reduce its lifespan even further. Of course, you’ll also need to clean it regularly, and – once again – it’s no replacement for keeping it indoors.
Can any type of ladder be stored outside?
One of your next logical questions would be whether or not there are any ladders that can be stored outside – sadly, no, there are not. No matter how strong your ladders are, and no matter the material of which they are made, no ladder should be stored outside. Even with the best lacquer on the market and all of the protective wax, it pays to keep your ladders indoors. That goes just as much for aluminum ladders and fiberglass ladders alike.
With the sheer amount that fiberglass ladders cost, significantly more expensive ones, many people assume that they are indestructible. However, that isn’t the case, they are indeed stronger than most materials used for ladders, but they are in no way completely indomitable.
That is why, no matter how tired you may be and how strong your ladder may be, it is always best to store it properly in order to ensure its longevity and to better ensure your safety.
To conclude, storing your ladder properly, no matter what the material, is essential. All ladders need to be stored inside, even fiberglass models that may appear tougher and more resistant than most.
Proper ladder safety is a must – around that three-year mark, your fiberglass ladder will be approaching the end of its life – meaning that you’re going to need to be exceptionally careful from the get-go.
Fiberglass ladders are a fantastic help in all walks of DIY and construction – so it really pays to look after them as best you can.