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Old 09-10-2011, 12:25 PM   #1
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Safest ladder

I have the need to get on my Airstream roof. What is the best and safest way to do this? What type of ladder is the best/safest (three legged, extension ladder, step ladder, etc.)?

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Old 09-10-2011, 12:31 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by B&J View Post
I have the need to get on my Airstream roof. What is the best and safest way to do this? What type of ladder is the best/safest (three legged, extension ladder, step ladder, etc.)?
A regular ladder works just fine.

Lean the ladder against the top of the window frame so that it rests on the drip cap. That works from 1969 until present.

If you have a 68 or older, place a small piece of carpet against the shell where the carpet meets the shell. That prevents scratches.

When your on the roof, DO NOT walk forward of the first main bow, or rearward of the last main bow. You can also use the awning rail as a guide.


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Old 09-10-2011, 12:33 PM   #3
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Safest ladder is an oxymoron.

I used this setup when replacing the air conditioner on my trailer a few years ago. It is the creation of Zeppelinium and worked out very well. Any journey to the roof of the trailer is an adventure. There are places you can step (rivet lines) and places you should not (end caps). Any mistakes can be costly to your trailer and to you.
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Old 09-10-2011, 12:42 PM   #4
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As Richard says, there is NO safe ladder, especially around Airstreams. I have a set of wooden tripod ladders up north that I feel best on, but down south I borrow what is available, wrap towels around the ends and GO EASY. Best to use any of those devices before toddy time.
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Old 09-10-2011, 01:17 PM   #5
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You are going to get a lot of answers on what is the best ladder. If you are home, and your use is at home only, Richards solution is ideal, or a ladder system that can do double duty around the house.

My shop ladders at home in storage were too long in the stored position to fit into our van, and we have been on the road for two years, away from the storage unit.

Our solution for roof access is with a multi position Werner 13 foot ladder, and it fits in the back of the van easily. A ladder of this multi position design, can be carried when traveling, and be used at home also.

Buy a ladder that is long enough to fit the job, strong enough (300lb), and short enough to fit in your tow vehicle if needed.
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Old 09-11-2011, 05:50 AM   #6
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No safe ladder

Ladders are unstable when leaned 15 ft. up an apple tree. Ask mehow I know this. Also 2 wks ago, while hanging the extension ladder up on the garage wall it slipped and came down the top of my forearm leaving a very nasty cut. Sal.
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Old 09-11-2011, 06:23 AM   #7
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As a painting contractor I spend countless hours on ladders, often 40 footers. The trick is to be extremely focused on what you are doing and always take just a moment and think before you make your next move. Take your time.
When on my Airstream roof, I wear non slip boat shoes and lean the ladder against the awning rail. The non-skid stuff people use to line cabinets or put under rugs to prevent slippage is a good thing to put between the ladder and the Airstream to reduce the possibility of the ladder sliding side to side as you exit or get back onto the ladder. Coming off the roof back onto the ladder is the most dangerous part--take your time and have a helper on the ground holding the ladder stable.
I would also suggest that you park the trailer in the grass so that if you should happen to come off the roof you at least land on something softer than concrete and chances of injury are reduced.
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:05 AM   #8
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If you're going to take the ladder on the road with you, take a look at Tele-Steps extension ladders. The one I got goes from about 30" tall collapsed to over 8' tall extended. It fits in a storage compartment for travel.
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Old 09-11-2011, 09:47 AM   #9
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Anybody rig up a pulley and harness like the factory service center uses? I wonder if something outdoors could be fashioned for safety, perhaps some sort of permanent guide mounted on the Airstream to attach to or cross over?? I can't see me ever risking the aerial walk without a strap or net. Leaving the security of a ladder rung to climb a tall slippery slope scares the dickens out of me. I would love to have a platform that would enable easy access but that isn't going to happen.
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Old 09-11-2011, 04:11 PM   #10
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Cantrell that was some great advice.

I have a 24' extension ladder. I generally keep it separated as I don't always need the length and it is easier and more stable (to me) to just use the lower section if that is all you need. I lean that section up against the awning cover and since my trailer is nest to a concrete block building the bottom goes against that. Very stable. But like Cantrell said, you have to stay aware of your every move. Also like he said getting back on the ladder to come down is the most dangerous part. All in all, I am a pretty big guy (220# 6'1") and I don't have many problems on the roof. I just carefully plan where to walk and stay on the ribs. I also wear good non-slip shoes.
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Old 09-11-2011, 04:25 PM   #11
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My MH has built in ladder but for roof work I have found it is now important to have more ladder above the roof line than I used to use, if it is at least 4 foot above, it is easier to hold and align that first step down.
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:29 PM   #12
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This has been discussed before, but in my opinion, something way more importantly than having one really safe extremely stable ladder is having a second ladder or point of egress. I feel comfortable going up many types of ladders and using many methods to climb up something, but what happens if the ladder gets kicked away, or the wind knocks it down while you are up there? Do you have another way to get down other than jump? Ultimately tou could slide down the endcap, but I'm betting over 95% of the people on these forums (incl. myself) would probably risk our bodies rather than dent our trailer.

just some food for thought.

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Old 09-12-2011, 04:45 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by DaveFL View Post
My MH has built in ladder but for roof work I have found it is now important to have more ladder above the roof line than I used to use, if it is at least 4 foot above, it is easier to hold and align that first step down.

Just make sure your first step down is at or below the point it contacts the trailer or it may kick out and then your in for a ride

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