How big of a ladder do I need?


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Old 01-22-24, 10:47 AM
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How big of a ladder do I need?

I have one story house with a finished basement. The stairs to the basement are open as you can see in the pictures. In order to paint the top of the wall that has the handrail on it I will need to reach up in the air to almost the distance of the downstairs ceiling and upstairs ceiling combined - about 17 feet. If it matters, the width of the stair treads is about 4 feet. I'm about 5'10."

I am envisioning buying a Little Giant Ladder so that I can have one end resting on the lower steps and one end resting on the higher steps. My question is ... how big of a little giant ladder to I need to accomplish this? Can I get to the highest point of the wall with the set up I described? If not, can I safely use it in extension ladder mode given that I have only 4ft of width at the stairs?

Any advice would be appreciated.



 
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Old 01-22-24, 10:54 AM
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I'd try to avoid the ladder by putting an extension pole on the roller.
 
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Old 01-22-24, 11:07 AM
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It's probably not OSHA approved but I'd probably lay a couple 2x12s down that will span from the top step to the base of your end railing. Then lay a 32" wide piece of plywood on top of that, put a few screws in it to tie both planks together and then use a 4 ft step ladder on top of that platform.

That would make it really easy to move your ladder as you cut in the top edge of the wall in with a brush.

if you need to get past it to go downstairs you'd need to remove the stepladder, lift one side up and lean it up against the wall.
 
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Old 01-22-24, 01:10 PM
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A. If you don't want to buy a ladder you can rent scaffolding. I have aluminum Baker style scaffolding. It's pretty easy to set up in a stairwell to create a level surface to stand on. This is very similar to what XSleeper mentioned with the lumber to create a level surface.


B. If you already own an extension ladder I have Werner Level Loc legs on my ladder. The leveling legs make it easy to use a ladder sideways on stairs.


C. I've also done it with a regular folding ladder and some planks and/or also using a extension ladder.



D. You can buy a new ladder. A step ladder that has adjustable legs can be very handy. Unfortunately those types of ladders can also be heavy and expensive because of their complexity. Little Giant is a brand so it really doesn't tell us which of their ladders you are considering. Go to where you want to paint with a tape measure. You'll probably want your feet about 6' from the ceiling for cutting in. Measuring from there you can figure how large a ladder you'll need. A standard 6.5' or 8' can work at the upper part of the stairs but for the lower part you need a very tall step style ladder which can become impracticle.
 
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Old 01-22-24, 03:49 PM
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I painted my stairwell ceiling using planks spanning the opening as earlier suggested. Quick and easy and cheap.
 
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Old 01-23-24, 02:55 AM
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I usually use an extension ladder with a block on the lower step to level out the feet.
 
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Old 01-23-24, 07:56 AM
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Thanks for all the replies. Given the width of the stairway (about 4ft) and the max height i need to get to (ceiling maybe 15 ft from stairs) do people think i have enough room to use an extension ladder if i build a plywood box for the down hill ladder leg?
 
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Old 01-23-24, 08:34 AM
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There is enough room for a short extension ladder but you might not have enough reach to get it all. When I'm short on reach I use a brush holder and a short extension pole to reach further.

https://www.google.com/search?q=brus...BDIHCAUQABiABD
 
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Old 01-23-24, 03:05 PM
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You really only need the ladder to do the cut-in. If you are doing the wall and ceiling....do the ceiling first by roller close to the wall. Do the cut-in and then the wall. A roller can reach pretty far.

I have a ladder like Dane's with the adjustable leg. That's the best way do do it.
Size the ladder to work closed and extended.
It would also be a smart idea to have a helper above and below the ladder when in use.

The ladder legs are on the steps.
 
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