An extension ladder is a very
useful tool to have around the home, particularly if you have a two story
home. They are ideal for getting up on your roof and for house painting. The
main question that comes up when searching for a ladder is what are the pros
and cons of a fiberglass versus aluminum extension ladder?
Extension Ladder Pros
Fiberglass extension ladders have
a couple of key benefits over aluminum extension ladders. First, fiberglass
extension ladders do not conduct electricity very well.
Consequently they are the preferred
choice for professional electrician and line workers. If you plan to be working
around electricity then a fiberglass extension ladder is your best choice.
Second, they are more durable and rugged compared to aluminum extension ladders.
Fiberglass extension ladders will typically support more weight than an
Extension Ladder Cons
Fiberglass extension ladders have one
major con. They are heavier than aluminum extension ladders. As a result, you
may need to purchase a shorter ladder if you prefer a fiberglass one, and your
reach applications will allow it.
Another lesser issue with fiberglass
extension ladders is that ultraviolet light from the Sun can age and deteriorate
fiberglass. Over time, a fiberglass extension ladder could begin to show small
cracks due to the effects of ultraviolet light.
However, it takes many years before
the structural integrity is compromised in any significant way. To slow the
effects of ultraviolet aging you can store the fiberglass extension ladder
inside, or cover it with plastic if you leave it outside.
Finally, fiberglass ladders typically
cost a little more than aluminum extension ladders, typically in the 5-10%
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Aluminum extension ladders are most
commonly used by homeowners, because they are lighter and cheaper. Thus you can
afford to buy a longer extension ladder, which may provide additional safety
benefits over buying a shorter fiberglass one. There is less likelihood of
overreaching, and consequently falling, when using a taller ladder.
Extension Ladder Cons
Aluminum extension ladders have
one major con. They are not as rugged and durable as a fiberglass extension
ladder. Aluminum extension ladders have been known to literally fold up when
overstressed with too much weight. Consequently it is important to pay close
attention to the weight rating when purchasing an aluminum ladder. Make sure
you spend a little extra money and buy the heavier rated aluminum ladder.
Photo by Mark Donovan
Yes, it may be a little heavier than
the cheaper aluminum ladder, however it will provide more safety and will still
be cheaper and lighter in weight than the fiberglass one.
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Fiberglass and Aluminum Extension Ladders from Amazon.com