Today there is an enormous range of different ladders. Ladders can be divided according to the respective types and use. In addition leaning ladders, stepladders, and multipurpose ladders, there is another great product offering.
Ladders can have different properties. Telescopic ladders or trunk ladders are among other things for their extremely space-saving storage, so that they are particularly suitable for users who have no large storage options available and who store the ladder in a space-saving manner in a car or van.
In addition to the intended use, ladders can also be divided according to their material. Ladders can be made of wood, aluminum, plastic, or a composite of different materials.
This raises the question of when a ladder is advantageous for the respective user. In our guide, we would like to give you a brief overview of the advantages and disadvantages of the different materials in the manufacture of conductors:
4 Different materials for ladders with their Advantages and Disadvantages
1. Wooden ladders
Painting work is usually done with wooden ladders. The reason for this is quite simple: The material wood is warmer than aluminum and does not react with paint, water, or paste.
As a result, even when the ladder is used regularly, the wooden ladder does not leave any dirt residue on its own hands, so that work in the interior, such as painting the interior or wallpapering, can be carried out cleanly.
In contrast, the painter worker of aluminum conductors can quickly develop black discolorations on the fingers or on the clothing through the reaction with other substances, which can then cause unsightly stains on the freshly painted walls. That is why the painter likes to use the wooden ladder. Another advantage of the wooden ladder is the lower price.
The disadvantage of wooden ladders is their weight. Due to their material, wooden ladders are heavier than conventional aluminum ladders because they consist of purely natural products – a ladder without any chemical substances. However, this also means that wooden ladders wear out relatively quickly.
In order to keep the holding time of wooden ladders as long as possible, they should be protected from the weather. In addition to high humidity and rain, this also includes heavy exposure to constant sun exposure.
Here, the wooden ladder tends to warp due to permanent sunshine or a frequent change between getting wet and drying again, so that wobbling when using the ladder can result.
2. Aluminum ladders
Aluminum ladders are probably the most frequently used ladders in everyday use. The diversity of the different types of conductors and the resulting application possibilities is a clear advantage of aluminum conductors.
Due to the low material weight, types of conductors, such as the 3-part multipurpose ladder, can be manufactured that cannot be constructed from wood.
In addition, there are numerous accessories for aluminum ladders, such as hanging steps, gutter brackets, a headgear, or spring castors to make the ladder mobile, which enables additional functions of the aluminum ladder and significantly improve their usability. These ladders are also used in the warehouse as it provides great security.
Depending on the manufacturer and design of the aluminum conductor, a good supply of spare parts accessories is guaranteed for many years.
This means that locking devices for sliding ladders, feet for all ladder types, joints, fittings, and hinges for folding ladders or telescopic ladders can be easily ordered and replaced. This guarantees a long service life compared to the wooden ladder, even with the robust daily use of the aluminum ladder on the construction site.
Aluminum is also used for making different types of the pool ladder.
Aluminum ladders are also less susceptible to damage when loading and transporting on the truck bed or in the transporter to the place of use and, even if handled roughly, show no material chips that can lead to injuries. It is also much easier to clean aluminum conductors because they can be treated with solvents without directly damaging the conductors.
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A disadvantage of wooden ladders is the higher price of aluminum ladders. High-quality aluminum conductors from well-known brand manufacturers usually cost from EUR 100.00 upwards.
3. Composite ladders made of wood and aluminum
The composite ladder, or wood-aluminum ladder, is ideal for electricians and craftsmen who carry out regular work with electricity.
Especially when performing electrical work, it is advantageous and important for occupational safety to use conductors that have no conductivity. Compared to the ladder made entirely of wood, the composite extension ladder has a lightweight advantage thanks to the use of aluminum rungs.
Expertise for the insulation resistance according to VDE 0100 is available from the manufacturer of composite conductors made of wood and aluminum. Therefore, electricians in particular tend to use wooden conductors, composite conductors, or plastic conductors.
4. Plastic ladders / GRP ladders
There are not many manufacturers who produce plastic ladders. This is due on the one hand to the more complex production process and on the other to the resulting higher price and the lower sales opportunity.
Plastic conductors are usually only required for safe work in an electrical environment or when working under-voltage, i.e. from power supply companies or industrial companies. This results in a low sales volume. This material also offers many advantages in the agility ladder.
The advantage of plastic conductors is that they are made of insulating material and are therefore permissible for live work. This is required by compliance with the DIN standard EN 61478: 2002. On the one hand, there are all-plastic ladders in which the bars and rungs are made of GRP.
These ladders have been tested in accordance with Category 1 to 28,000 volts and are available as single 6-foot ladders, extension ladders, cable ladders, and 8 ft step ladders. On the other hand, a material composite is again offered for the plastic ladders, in which the spars are made of GRP and the steps are made of aluminum.
The Ladderpedia team, therefore, recommends that when you buy a ladder, in addition to the ladder-type that is right for you, you also have to select or take into account the choice of material for the area of application or location.