Tips for Working with Ladders:

Every painting job has those hard to reach spots requiring a bit of ladder work.  Whether it’s a two-foot step or twenty-four-foot extension ladder, climbing up the rungs can give even the most experienced painting veterans the jitters.  It doesn’t take much to cause a spill or mechanical injury.  Follow these easy steps to put your fear of ladders to rest.


The Right Ladder for the Job - a six-foot step ladder will work with just about any interior painting job (vaulted/cathedral ceilings being the exception).  Work inside with a step ladder, work outside with extension ladders.

The Goldilocks Principle” - not too short, not too tall, but somewhere in the middle of where you need to reach is where you want the ladder to rest.  A little extra height means never coming up short and having to teeter on the top rung or step, but don’t use a ladder with too much extra height or it can become unwieldy and cumbersome to work with.

Angle - when working with extension or prop ladders, the angle between the floor/ground and base of the ladder should be somewhere in the range of sixty degrees: not so steep the ladder is practically straight up and down, and not so shallow the ladder bottom will slide out when there’s weight on the top of it.

Set up for Range - position the ladder with the next move in mind, optimizing reach and mobility.

Test, Test, and Test Again - step on the bottom rung, grab both rails, and give the shimmy your weight.  Hop around a little.  If the ladder’s tilted due to uneven surfaces you’ll feel the telltale wobble.  Reposition until both feet of the ladder a firmly planted and immobilized.


Remember to be patient and take your time.  Above all else, respect the ladder and your surroundings when using one.  Taking the time to be cautious and prepared will always save you more than rushing to make a mess or get injured.

Working with ladders Painting