When using a ladder, it may seem simple enough to place and stack it wherever you see fit. After all, what could be the harm? However, you’re likely to realize soon enough that there are things you should and shouldn’t do to keep your ladder performing as you expect. For example – can you lean a ladder against a gutter?
In short, no, you can’t lean a ladder against a gutter, or rather, you shouldn’t. The bottom line is, you could end up doing damage to the gutter, or you could even cause yourself an accident.
Plenty of you may be thinking that you have leaned ladders against your gutters multiple times without having a problem. However, trust us – it’s really not a good idea in practice. You might know how to use a ladder safely on stairs, but this is a scenario you may not have considered at all.
Keep reading, and we’ll tell you why leaning your ladder against a gutter is a surefire way to cause some serious problems.
Never lean anything against a gutter – if you can help it
Gutters are generally made of plastic, and ladders can be made from a range of different materials, from aluminum (which tends to be the lightest) to fiberglass (which tends to be the heaviest). Of course, the material of the ladder that you use will have an impact on whether or not it damages your gutter, although it is not the only important thing.
Your ladder could be very light, but the angle at which you place it will affect how much strain is put on the gutter, as well as your own weight.
Of course, gutters are made to withstand all different kinds of weather, the weight inside from debris (dirt, branches, leaves, etc.), and wear and tear over time. Gutters can last for decades; however, they do need to be maintained.
If you leave your gutter to overflow, then not only do you risk causing damage to your house, you also risk the gutter being damaged and needing replacing. Therefore, the best way to maintain the gutter is to clear it regularly.
Of course, there comes the question as to how you can clean the gutter without using a ladder against it to reach it? We’ll come to that a little further down – keep reading.
What can happen if you lean a ladder against a gutter?
Multiple things can happen from you leaning anything – ladders included – against a gutter:
You could seriously damage or break your gutter
Damaging a gutter can be anything from scratching it to denting it. Of course, scratching it may not seem like a big deal, however denting it can be a severe issue. Dents and other damages will only worsen over time and may require you to make a complete replacement sooner rather than later. At worst, you could break your guttering completely, and that’s an emergency situation you’ll need to remedy fast.
You could injure yourself or others
What you may forget is that since your ladder will have been placed at a specific angle for its security, if the gutter breaks, the ladder will automatically fall, potentially to the point when you injure yourself – or anyone around you. Obviously, no matter the height at which you work, falling from a ladder is very dangerous – potentially fatal, if you don’t take appropriate care.
While great for getting onto second story roofs and accessing awkward points, ladders still require quite a bit of vigilance.
How can you securely use a ladder without damaging gutters?
An obvious question you may ask might be, “How can I clean my gutters without placing the ladder against them?”. Although it may seem a little tricky, there are ways of cleaning your gutters without leaning your ladder up against them.
The first obvious solution would be to use a foldable ladder. They can provide easy-secure positions and get you high enough to reach the gutters without leaning towards them.
However, not everyone can afford a foldable ladder. Moreover, you will also need a lot of space, which isn’t always available. Thankfully, there is another solution.
You can also use a ladder stand-off. These valuable tools can fit to almost any ladder and provide a secure rest without you having to lean or create space.
Given that not all gutters are particularly stable, using a stand-off is also a great way to further ensure your safety and those around you.
When might you need to use a ladder stand-off?
Stand-offs can provide a secure and straightforward way of using your ladder without having to worry about having enough space or for something strong to lean against. Given their stability, stand-offs can also provide that extra hand that you need for your security while working.
They can come in handy for tree surgery, hanging Christmas decorations and more besides. Ultimately, a stand-off is a fantastic investment if you are likely to use your ladder in precarious scenarios.
While it may seem like a basic solution, leaning a ladder against a gutter is never a good idea. It can so easily cause severe damage to the drain, and most crucially, to you and those around you. It is always good to have a backup – ideally, that would be investing in a foldable ladder or a ladder stand-off. The latter is not too expensive and could end up saving you money on damage repairs and injuries in the long run.
Some of the best ladders designed for gutters, for example, may give you the additional lean and support you’re looking for. Trust us – it really does pay to invest in safety.