Roof Ladders

Be sure to read the "Ladder Safety" section also

Several styles of roof ladders are available. One of the most common types used is actually a standard ladder with a "roof hook" attached. See image. The hook easily attaches to the top end of a ladder section. A small hook on the lower end of the roof-hook loops under one of the ladder rungs, and is secured in place with a clamp. Use only one section of a ladder with these hooks, extension ladders must be taken apart.

Another type of roof ladder consists of two hooks that are screwed or bolted the rails of the ladder. The ends of the hooks are often pointed so that they will slightly stick into the roof surface. These pointed hooks may be safer in the sense that they are somewhat held in place more so than the un-pointed hooks. This type of roof ladder is often sold as a roof-ladder, complete with the hooks

Roof Ladder Safety

Using a roof ladder is not for every one, if you have not had much experience with ladders you probably should reconsider before attempting to get on a roof ladder.

It is important that your confidence and sense of balance are up to the task. Using roof ladders rely on the workers ability to climb and balance. The workers coordination and physical condition are important safety factors. Also a sense of understanding the equipment and procedures is very important to ensure safety and prevent accidents. Using roof ladders safely can be tricky. Don’t be cocky. Make sure you understand all safety precautions. If you’re not confident, hire a professional. Leave nothing to chance.

Be sure to read all instructions that come with this equipment

Safe Use

The Hook that holds the roof ladder from sliding down the roof may only be overlapping the other side of the roof by 6-8 inches depending on the radius of the hook. The more roof-overlap the safer. A roof that has as an upswept ridge cap is generally a safer type of roof for a roof hook, the cap protrudes up into the hook giving a couple more inches of overlap. The larger the radius of the hook the more roof-overlap you will get.

You must use caution. It is sometimes possible that while working from some sections of the roof ladder, the roof hook could be levered off over the ridge. This would probably be caused by a bowed roof or a warped ladder. Check to see that the ladder sets flat along the roof, Make sure that the ladder section at the bottom of the roof sets against the roof, without pushing it down. If it does not, and you get on the ladder it may lever the top of the ladder upward causing the roof hook to let go.

Tying roof ladder To prevent your roof hook from levering off, you may choose to tie your roof ladder to a rope secured to a solid object on the opposite side of the building. You can tie a rope to the top rung or the hook and secure the other end to putting some tension on the rope. Do not over tension the rope so as to bend the roof hook. Make sure the rope does not pass over a driveway where a vehicle may run into it. It is not always a good idea to tie the rope to a vehicle, but if you do... take extra precautions to make sure the vehicle will not roll or be moved. Don’t allow the rope to touch any power lines.

Check Frequently Check to make sure that all bolts and nuts are tight everything is staying in its proper position.

Accessing the roof ladder once  it is set up

When accessing the roof ladder at the eves; set up your accessing ladder so that it extends above the roof edge and is on either side of the roof ladder. When a ladder sets against a metal edge of a roof, it is often easy for the ladder to slide from side to side while working from the ladder. This is especially true if there is wet paint on the edge. You may want to secure the ladder by tying it into the building, or at least have someone hold the bottom of the ladder while climbing it.

When getting on to the roof ladder you must be able to transfer your weight from the accessing ladder to the roof ladder, all the while do not put your weight on the section of the accessing ladder that is above the roofs edge, and don’t put your weight on the roof ladder that is below the roofs edge. Do not try to do this with tools in you hand. Pass them up and secure them to the ladder in a safe position that wont interfere with you first. Do above steps in reverse when getting down.

When accessing the roof ladder from the end of the roof; set up the accessing ladder at the gable end of the roof so that it extends above the peak. Set the ladders side rails so that one is on each side of the peak. If done correctly this should lock the ladder from sliding side to side.

After climbing to the peak You must transfer yourself from the accessing ladder onto the ridge of the roof. While making the transfer, you may hold onto the highest section of the ladder for stability but do not bear your weight on this section of ladder that is above the roof edge that it sets against. At this point you will have to make your way across the peak to the roof ladder. Some people walk the ridge; others get down on the ridge and straddle there way along.

Either method of accessing a roof ladder is at least challenging to most people.