Home Decorating For Dummies
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Choosing the right kind of ladder depends on the intended use. Ladder styles and sizes vary greatly, so picking the right type of ladder can be confusing. In a perfect world, you’d have each ladder size (and a huge garage — with air conditioning!) so that you’d be prepared for anything. If you can afford or have room for only one ladder, however, get a 6-foot stepladder.

Ladders come in the following main types:

  • Stepstool (2- or 3-foot): Great for getting to those upper cabinets and shelves.

  • Folding ladder (6- and 8-foot): A 6-foot ladder is high enough for tackling most home-maintenance and repair projects, such as changing ceiling light bulbs and painting ceilings and walls. However, if your ceilings are 10 feet tall or higher, get an 8-foot ladder instead.

  • Extension ladder: Extension ladders, like the ones firefighters use, have ability to telescope in length, making them the granddaddy of them all. If your project involves a multistory roof, you need an extension ladder.

  • Adjustable ladder (various heights): An adjustable ladder allows you to shorten or extend each ladder leg independently. This flexibility provides the greatest amount of safety when working on uneven surfaces like stairs.

Don’t try to save money by purchasing a cheap ladder unless you intend to give it to someone you don’t like. A cheap ladder falls apart in no time — usually with someone on it. When buying a ladder, look for secure connections, metal-supported wood steps, and superior hinges. As the ladder ages, keep an eye out for loose connections, splits, cracks, and missing rivets.

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Katharine Kaye McMillan is a writer whose work appears regularly in magazines and newspapers. She is a contributing writer to Florida Design Magazine and the co-author of several books on decorating and design, including Sun Country Style, which is the basis for licensed signature collections of furniture and accessories by three leading American manufacturers and importers. Patricia Hart McMillan is a nationally known interior designer whose work for private clients, designer showcases, and corporations has appeared in publications worldwide, including the New York Times and USA Today. A prolific writer, McMillan is coauthor and author of seven books on interior design and decoration. She is decorating editor for Christian Woman Magazine and reports on design trends for The Sun-Sentinel in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

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