Ladders are essential tools for many different types of tasks. But, how do you put a ladder on a sloped roof? That’s what this blog post is all about!
If you’re not sure how to use one safely, then read on to find out. We’ll also show you some helpful tips that will make the process easier. Let’s get started!
What is a Sloped Roof?
A sloped roof is a roof that has an angle greater than 45 degrees, the opposite of a vertical or flat roof.
The slope can be very gentle, but must always have at least 1/4 to 1/3 of the span horizontal.
Sloped roofs are common in many countries because they are flexible and economical alternatives to more traditional flat roofs.
Why is a ladder needed?
A ladder is needed because the roof has an angle greater than 45 degrees, making the surface unclimbable by foot.
The ladder must be climbed to ensure that no damage is done to your home or belongings during the cleaning process.
Putting a Ladder on a Sloped Roof
Sloped roofs often make it difficult to put a ladder on. The ladder will sometimes fall off, or slide down slowly (meaning you’ll need to follow and try again).
This instructable provides step-by-step instructions for improving the gripping power of your ladder when trying to access a sloped roof.
Make sure the ladder is the only thing on top of your roof. PUTTING A LADDER ON A ROOF WITHOUT PERMISSION IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND ILLEGAL IN MOST OF THE UNITED STATES.
It can cause damage to the roof and become a huge liability if anything should happen (i.e.; somebody falls off the ladder). If you are unsure, ALWAYS check with somebody who has proper authorization.
Tips in proper use of ladder
- The roof could be slippery, so make sure the ladder legs are well gripped.
- Before putting a ladder on a sloped roof, read these instructions and make sure you understand them completely.
- Then practice with your ladder in an open area.
- Make it part of your routine when working from a ladder to always practice beforehand in a safe empty area.
- Make sure you are using the correct ladder for the job (i.e.; length, weight tolerance, load bearing).
How do you make sure the ladder won’t slide or move?
Due to the variable nature of roof shingles, it is important that your ladder remains attached at all times. There are several methods to ensure this:
1) Use brackets that can be bolted down securely,
2) Use brackets that have been drilled into the rungs so that they can’t slide, and
3) For extra protection use brackets on both the front and back of your ladder to prevent it from moving forward or backwards.
To protect the underside of your roof, choose 1; for easier access to all areas of your roof choose 2 or 3.
Dangers in putting a ladder on a sloped roof
- The ladder could slip away from the top plate of the angled wall causing you to fall off.
- If your safety line isn’t attached or becomes detached from the D-rings at waist level, you will not be able to get down safely because all ropes and knots should always be double checked before beginning work on a project.
- Leaning ladders can slip away from under you causing you to fall off.
Instruction in putting up a Ladder on a Sloped Roof
1) First determine where to put your first steps of your ladder on the roof.
Use a carpenter’s level and make a small mark on the roof in that exact spot (for the ladder foot). Place the top of your ladder on that mark.
2) Now, let’s determine how you are going to “adjust” your ladder when it begins to slip down the roof.
Look at where you will be putting your next steps (ladder feet). Is there a protruding object you can hold onto? Using the carpenter’s level, trace a line on the roof that is tangent to that object.
3) This next step will require some artistic ability and/or math knowledge.
You are going to determine where your feet should be placed, along that line you just traced, this will create what we call an “artificial angle” or “artificial step”. Line up your ladder feet on this new “artificial angle” line, which you have now created.
4) Use a chalkline to mark all of the positions your feet should be placed in.
Make sure they are evenly spread out along that line you’ve just created, by building an “artificial step.”
5) When you are placing your ladder on the new “artificial steps”, it is important to use the same technique as you did when you first placed your foot onto the roof.
You can place both of your feet on one step, but never put all of your weight on any one step, doing so may cause damage to that step and/or to the roof.
If you are advanced, you can place your feet on two steps at once (one foot on each step).
If using an extension ladder it will make things easier because if you do slip you can use one hand to hold onto the top of the ladder, and other hand to grab onto the extended portion of your ladder.
If your ladder does not have an extension, you can use one hand to hold onto the top of the ladder and other hand to grab onto a protruding object on the house (i.e.; window sill, drainpipe etc.).
If possible, try and position yourself so that when you do put pressure on your ladder legs and they begin to slide, you can use your hand(s) to stop the ladder from sliding completely off of the roof.
6) When stepping onto a new rung/step on your ladder, always make sure it is stable and will not slip.
If unsure, try to get down (all of the way down – if possible) and re-position your feet on a new step, making sure it is one that will not slip.
7) Remember to keep your weight evenly distributed on each foot, never put all of your weight on one step or rung.
If you are going down the ladder anytime soon, always make sure you have a very stable footing at the top and bottom of your ladder.
8) Always watch your footing on the roof and on the ladder, avoid going up/down anything that is slippery or unstable looking.
Wear a pair of shoes with good traction on them (i.e.; boots). Sometimes even if you don’t think it’s slippery, put some chalk lines on the roof before you begin working just to be sure.
DO NOT WEAR FLIP FLOPS! It may look cool, but if you fall from a ladder wearing flip flops it will not be very comfortable.
If you have to make an exception and wear them try and make sure they are the least slippery looking pair you can find (i.e.; rubber soles).
Types of Ladder on a Sloped Roof
- Large – A ladder that is long enough to reach the top of a house with a small roof pitch.
- Such a ladder needs no feet because it can be placed on the ground and leaned against the house.
- These ladders are usually not very safe, as they may slip from their position, or tip dangerously from side to side.
- Platform – A platform that is attached to the roofing material near one end, and with a few rungs running down one side of it.
- These are easy to use because they have feet at the bottom that can be forced into gaps between slates or tiles on roofs where there is no other method of attachment.
- Extension – An extension ladder that has two parts. One part is made to be placed on the ground, so it can run up against a house.
- The other part is attached to the first at the top, and hangs down so it can be forced into gaps between slates or tiles where there are none available.
- These are very hard to use safely on a sloped roof, as the second piece is almost always unstable.
- Pole – A wooden pole that can be placed in guttering gaps, or on top of flat roofs with easy access around the edge.
- These have no feet for use on sloping roofs, so they are generally not safe to use anywhere where there is a risk of slipping off.
- Triple – A ladder with three sections, used to provide a safe platform at high levels.
- Usually this type of ladder is only found on the outside of buildings, and is mainly used for paint-work or other maintenance work.
Putting ladders on sloped roofs can be difficult because you need to keep the ladder steady while climbing up it.
However, there are certain factors that you should look at before you put the ladder on, like your body position and locking the ladder into place.
Once that is done, all you need to do is climb the ladder with caution and enjoy your view from the top!
A few key things to keep in mind when putting up a ladder on a sloped roof are your body position, how you lock the ladder into place, and when you need to use an extension.
Knowing these factors can save you from serious injury or even death when putting up ladders on sloped roofs.