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Old 12-20-2013, 05:08 AM   #1
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Climbing on the roof

OK, It's been a couple of years since I had my last AS and in the interim all my RV's have had ladders to climb on the roof. Now that I'm planning on installing two Ultra Breeze vent covers, what is the best safe way to get to the roof without marring the finish of my, new to me, AS? All help appreciated

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Old 12-20-2013, 05:46 AM   #2
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Scaffolding.
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Old 12-20-2013, 06:03 AM   #3
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I used an extension ladder with padding (foam) taped to it. Lean it against the window trim because it is much more solid than the skin. Climb carefully and walk only on rivet lines.
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Old 12-20-2013, 06:05 AM   #4
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Do you have an awning? If so, use a ladder leaning against the rolled-up awning to climb up; the awning will prevent the ladder from making contact with the metal. Otherwise pad the ladder where it will make contact.

Then, lay a soft rubber mat down on the roof. Rubber provides good friction between surfaces, and provides a cushion for what's next. But use a soft rubber mat only, not hard rubber. Your weight wouldn't be enough to make hard rubber adhere to the slick aluminum.

On top of the rubber mat, lay a piece of plywood. The plywood spreads your body's load out between multiple framing members and avoids a concentrated load that could cause dents. Make sure the plywood is no wider than the flat part of the roof, not overlapping onto the curved sides. That way you can't accidentally step on an unsupported edge of the plywood and flip it like a tiddly-wink. But also make sure the rubber mat is larger than the plywood, so there are no wooden edges making contact with the metal to cause a crease.

As an alternative, if you want, you could glue the rubber mat to the plywood first so you've only got one potential surface to slip, where the rubber contacts the metal. No chance of the plywood slipping off the rubber. This is safer, but a bit more work.

And because fall protection is part of my job, I have an obligation to add these suggestions:
1 - Place your ladder so that the slope of the ladder is 4-on-1, for every four feet up from ground to where it contacts your awning, move the feet of the ladder out one foot. Make sure the ladder is at least 3˝ feet taller than your trailer, so you have convenient handholds on the ladder for stepping from the ladder to the roof or stepping from the roof to the ladder.
2 - Use both hands and both feet on the ladder. Don't carry stuff up the ladder in your hands. Put your tools in a fanny pack or tool belt if you have one, and use a rope to hoist the vent up after you've climbed up without it.
3 - If by some chance you should happen to fall, make sure your landing spot is as soft as possible. Park on the grass— not on gravel or pavement— to do this work.
4 - Keep your center of gravity as low as possible. Don't stand on the roof; crawl. Except when getting on and off the ladder. Stand up for that.
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Old 12-20-2013, 06:20 AM   #5
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I would be interested in learning more about what scaffolding system you are using to get on top of your trailer? Thank you.
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Old 12-20-2013, 08:20 AM   #6
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I'm a fan of the awning rail. It puts the ladder at more of a vertical, so less side pressure on the trailer.

I used a thick piece of polystyrene. You can get it at Lowes in blue or pink. Very light material, with great compression strength. Cut it in half, carry it up with you, then get on that. It can be a little slippery. If you glued some carpet padding to the bottom of it, it'd be perfect. You can work all day on that. The carpet padding is just to add a little weight, and to keep it from sliding off the top from a slight gust of wind.

Rob.
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Old 12-20-2013, 09:12 AM   #7
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do not stand or lean on the end caps as they are not supported and will buckle. i like to tie my ladder to the awning as high as i can get it tied.
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Old 12-20-2013, 10:05 AM   #8
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Some time ago a forum member replaced his skylight with an opening hatch so he could bring a small stepladder inside the Airstream to access his roof. Looked like a great idea and safer than going up the sides. I believe he still maintained a skylight in the hatch.

I thought I bookmarked the post but apparently not. Does anyone else have or remember it?
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Old 12-20-2013, 11:26 AM   #9
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Question It's been awhile...

But I think I recall having a problem....

Anyone have a picture of the ladder resting on the awning roll? I tried it with our TeleSteps and it wouldn't work because the feet had to be brought to far out to be safe, and the ladder itself was very close to the skin.
I wrap the top of the TS with a microfiber fender cover and use the window frame.

Stay on the seams off the end caps....I use grippy Sperry Deck Shoes.

Bob
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:15 PM   #10
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as far as the ladder, I use an Aluminum gorilla ladder that varies in size and can be opened up like an A frame. More stable, and usually don't have to rest it on the AS, but when I do, I can vary the length so it's appropriate.
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Old 12-20-2013, 05:22 PM   #11
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I use those hollow 'pool noodles' that kids use and just slit them length-wise and they'll snap right on to the rails of an aluminum ladder. Once on top, just keep to the rivet lines.
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Old 12-20-2013, 07:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Some time ago a forum member replaced his skylight with an opening hatch so he could bring a small stepladder inside the Airstream to access his roof. Looked like a great idea and safer than going up the sides. I believe he still maintained a skylight in the hatch.

I thought I bookmarked the post but apparently not. Does anyone else have or remember it?
Some of the '50's and 60's had a front vent that easily snapped out and is large enough to stand up thru. I climb onto the roof of my '63 thru one. There are some photos of Wally standing up thru the same type of vent.

On all of my other trailers I lean the ladder on the awning near the AC unit and climb on up. As the other posters have said don't put any weight on the endcaps or they will cave in.
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Old 12-20-2013, 08:17 PM   #13
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I never climb on the roof. I work from the sides. This is just me. I know others venture up there.
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Old 12-20-2013, 08:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
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I never climb on the roof. I work from the sides. This is just me. I know others venture up there.
Sounds like good advice Frank. Lots of opportunities to realize Murphy's Law up there.
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