Ladder Materials : Types, Their Advantages & Disadvantages

Ladder materials play a vital role in picking the right ladder for the job.

Undoubtedly, a ladder is a must-have asset to anyone who works with ladders. Different types of ladders are available today. But do you know what the different types of materials ladder made from are?

Modern ladders come in various design and are made of different materials. When selecting a ladder for your job, it’s essential to know the benefits of each type.

So, we like to inform our reader different types of ladder materials and their merits and of course demerits (if any).

Read Along!

Types of Ladder Materials- Advantages & Disadvantages

The four most popular materials for ladder include:

  1. Timber/ Wood
  2. Aluminum
  3. Fiberglass
  4. Steel

*** There are also ladders made from plastics and ropes.

Timber/ Wood

Timber/wood is one of the most common materials used for making ladders. As wood is a readily available and inexpensive material, wood ladders are by far most affordable next to ropes and plastic ladders. For this reason, wooden ladders are among the popular choices for small business owner and homeowners.

Some timber ladders are heavier than other type of ladder made from other materials. In fact, this makes them safer and sturdier for those tough jobs. The natural durability of wood provides this type of ladder an impressively long lifespan as long as you take proper care of them.

Although wood ladders are non-conductive, some may feature metal fasteners. These make them not perfect for electrical work.

Advantages of Wood

  • Non-conductive of electricity
  • Resistant to heat (obviously not to open flame)
  • Disadvantages of timber
  • Not perfect for industrial or commercial applications
  • Prone to rot and warp

Disadvantages of Wood

  • Not perfect for industrial or commercial applications
  • Prone to rot and warp

Wood Vs. Fiberglass

Timber LaddersFiberglass ladders
Cheaper than fiberglassSomewhat pricier than timber
Lighter than fiberglass ladderHeavier than timber ladders

Aluminum

Aluminum ladder is the best option for those quick little DIY fixes. This type of ladder is also highly versatile from the construction point of view.

Aluminum ladders come with many advantages. They are lighter than fiberglass and timber counterparts. So, this type of ladder is easier and safer to handle for a single person.

Aluminum ladders are durable, rust and adverse weather resistant. So, you can store them outdoors with no adverse effects. Finally, they are affordable.

Advantages of Aluminum

  • Lightweight and practical
  • Easy to transport
  • Corrosion- and moisture resistant
  • Non-magnetic

Disadvantages of Aluminum

  • Electricity and heat conductive
  • Not safe to use near any electrical sources
  • Prone to bend under heavy pressure
  • Not ideal for very heavy-duty weighted projects

Aluminum Vs. Fiberglass

AluminumFiberglass
Cheaper than fiberglass laddersSomewhat pricier than aluminum ladders
More lightweight than fiberglass laddersSlight heavier than aluminum ladders
Are less likely prone to crack in comparison with fiberglass laddersMore prone to crack than aluminum ladder
More likely to bend in comparison with fiberglass laddersLess likely to bend in comparison with aluminum ladders
Less stronger than fiberglass counterpartStronger than aluminum counterpart
Less weather resistant than aluminumMore weather resistant
Not electrical shocks resistantElectricity and electrical shocks resistant
Less flame resistant than fiberglass laddersMore flame resistant than aluminum ladders

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is the newest material in ladder manufacturing industries. This type of ladder features some distinctive features. This ladder type is considered to be the safest option.

In some cases, fiberglass ladders are stronger than aluminum ladders. In addition, unlike aluminum, fiberglass ladders are less likely to weaken or bend in hot temperatures.

Advantages of Fiberglass

  • Moisture and corrosion resistant
  • Non-conductors of heat and electricity
  • Built to last many years
  • Safer option for jobs that involve electricity
  • Perfect to use in commercial or industrial purposes

Disadvantages of Fiberglass

  • Heavier than other types of ladder
  • Difficult to handle by one person
  • Under excess pressure, this type of ladder may snap
  • Not well-suited for heavy-duty weighted projects
  • More expensive

Steel

Steel ladders compete with fiberglass and aluminum ladders for lightweight honors. Steel is the most durable material for ladders. And ladder made with steel is very safe to use even in the rough environment of constructions and warehouses. That’s why steel ladders are the all-time favorite of most professionals who need ladder in their work. But this type of ladder is not an ideal choice for the DIYer.

Advantages of Steel

  • Well-suited to heavy-duty weighted projects
  • Resilient and more robust than aluminum and fiberglass ladders
  • Affordable than fiberglass and aluminum ladders

Disadvantages of Steel

  • Conductors of both heat and electricity
  • Not moisture or corrosion-resistant
  • Prone to rusting
  • Heavier than aluminum and fiberglass counterpart

Ladder Selection Chart

This chart will help you to ensure the ladder material chosen for your project is perfect for the task at hand.

Ladder Material
WoodAluminumFiberglassSteel
LightweightYes
ResilientYesYes
Moisture ResistantYesYes
Corrosion ResistantYesYes
Non-conductor, HeatYesYes
Heavy-Duty Weight CapacityYes
Non-Conductor, ElectricityYesYes

Conclusion

Hope, this article has provided you a bit of insight into some key differences among a few most common ladder materials.

Remember!

Ladder made with different types of materials has its particular values on the job.  And materials influences not only ladder safety and durability but also ladder price.

So, choose wisely!

Frederick McHale
 

Hi! I'm Frederick, a passionate blogger. I have work-experience in many fields. Professionally I'm an Engineer. I have over 15 years of experience working with different power tools.

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