How are ladders supposed to be stored?

Proper ladder storage is crucial for safety and longevity. Ladders that are not stored correctly can become damaged over time or fall and cause injury. Following key storage guidelines helps ensure ladders remain in good working condition when needed.

Should ladders be stored horizontally or vertically?

The recommended method for storing most ladders is in a horizontal position. Laying a ladder flat helps prevent it from falling over and minimizes stress on the joints that can lead to damage over time. Storing ladders vertically against a wall may seem convenient, but it places a lot of downward force on the rungs and side rails that can cause them to bend or break.

Are there exceptions for storing ladders vertically?

Some types of ladders are designed to be stored vertically, including:

  • Step ladders – The spreader braces on step ladders are made to bear weight in both directions, allowing vertical storage.
  • Extension ladders – The locks on extension ladders allow the sections to support each other when stored upright.
  • Telescoping attic ladders – These ladders fold up accordion-style for vertical storage within the attic opening.

When storing these types of ladders vertically, make sure they are fully retracted/folded and secure against a wall to prevent tipping. Never lean a regular straight or extension ladder vertically for storage.

Should ladders be stored on their side or standing up?

For horizontal ladder storage, laying the ladder on its side is better than standing it on its ends. Storing a ladder on its side helps distribute the weight equally across all the rungs instead of concentrating force on just two points. This minimizes the risk of the ladder warping or the rungs weakening over time.

Should ladders be hung or laid on the floor/ground?

The best place to store a ladder horizontally is either on rack hooks, ladder hooks, or simply laid on the floor/ground. Hanging ladders vertically helps save floor space but still allows the ladder to bear weight evenly across all rungs. Laying a ladder flat on the floor or ground also distributes weight evenly. Avoid hanging ladders by one end only as this places extreme pressure on just a few points.

Where is the ideal location for storing ladders?

When choosing ladder storage space, look for a covered area that will protect the ladder from direct sun, rain, snow, and other elements. Ideal locations include:

  • Garage or shed – Protects from weather and keeps ladder secure.
  • Along a garage wall – Utilize hooks to hang ladder horizontally.
  • Under an overhang or deck – Keeps ladder out of the rain.
  • In a crawl space or attic – Works for short ladders; use caution on retractable attic ladders.

Avoid storing ladders in locations where they will be exposed to severe weather shifts. Moisture, dramatic temperature changes, and UV rays can all accelerate wear and damage.

How can ladders be protected when stored outside?

If you must store a ladder outdoors, try these tips to minimize exposure to elements:

  • Use a protective ladder cover or case.
  • Keep the ladder off the ground on hooks or stands.
  • Store in a covered patio or under an overhang.
  • Face the ladder away from prevailing winds and direct sun.
  • Apply protectants/sealants made for wood or metal.

No outdoor storage method is as ideal as indoor storage. But taking steps to shield a ladder from weather can prolong its life if indoor space is not an option.

Should ladders be locked or restricted when stored?

Securing stored ladders is a smart safety move. Options include:

  • Locking hooks/brackets – Prevent unauthorized removal and theft.
  • Ladder cages or covers – Provide an enclosure that still allows access for authorized users.
  • Chains/cables – Loop through ladder rungs and secure to a fixed point like bolted eye hooks.
  • Wall mounting – Attach ladder hooks to a wall at height, limiting access.
  • Locked rooms – Store ladder in a locked garage, shed, or closet.

Restricting access helps avoid misuse or accidental falls. But allow easy availability for those needing to use the ladder for its intended purpose.

Should anything be done to the ladder before storing?

Proper ladder care before storage prolongs the equipment’s lifespan. Always:

  • Inspect for any damage before putting a ladder into storage between uses.
  • Check rungs/steps for cracks or instability.
  • Make sure all screws, bolts, hinges, stops, and locks are secure.
  • Clean off any dirt, debris, sticky spills, or other foreign materials.
  • Allow wooden ladders time to dry if wet before storing.

Doingmaintenance checks before storage helps prevent small issues from becoming bigger problems. Repair or replace damaged ladders rather than storing them for later use.

Should ladders be covered or have any padding when stored?

Ladder covers are a good storage option for protecting the equipment from dust, moisture, debris, and accidental damage:

  • Padded ladder covers – Provide a cushion against dings and scratches.
  • Water-resistant covers – Guard against moisture damage.
  • Canvas covers – Are lightweight yet durable and ventilated.
  • Plastic covers – Keep dust and debris off the ladder.

If not using a cover, avoid storing other equipment and materials directly on top of ladders. Weight and shifting can dent rungs or side rails.

How can ladders be stored safely in limited space?

For small homes and garages, ladder storage space may be limited. Some ideas for safely stowing ladders in tight quarters include:

  • Installing ceiling-mounted ladder hooks to hang it overhead out of the way.
  • Affixing brackets on the wall to store the ladder vertically (for step and extension ladders).
  • Securing telescoping ladders to the wall when retracted into the smallest size possible.
  • Looking for unused vertical storage areas like in taller utility closets.
  • Stacking stepladders in pairs on their sides to minimize footprint.

Getting creative with vertical and overhead storage utilizing every square foot available helps maximize storage capacity.

Should wood ladders be stored any differently than metal ladders?

The main difference between wood and metal ladder storage is accounting for moisture:

  • Wood ladders – Are more prone to warping and damage if stored while wet. Allow time to dry before putting away.
  • Metal ladders – Are not as susceptible to moisture damage but can corrode over time if stored outside. Wipe down before storage and use covers/sealants if storing outdoors.

Other than considering moisture factors, wood and metal ladders have mostly similar storage needs – horizontal position, padded supports, clean/dry surfaces, etc. Pick storage locations that mitigate environmental threats specific to each material.

How should very tall extension ladders be stored?

Storing very long extension ladders brings added challenges. Strategies include:

  • Hanging horizontally from two sets of ceiling hooks spaced widely apart for support.
  • Securing to wall-mounted ladder brackets angled outward from the wall.
  • Building an A-frame ladder stand with long, angled supports to cradle the ladder horizontally.
  • Limiting full extension and storing in smaller sections still long enough to necessitate support at both ends.

Consider the length, weight, and angle of support needed to prevent bending and instability. Very tall ladders may require custom storage solutions with adequate reinforcement.

What kind of location should be avoided when storing a ladder?

Certain environments can damage ladders over time. Avoid storing ladders in:

  • Wet, humid areas leading to corrosion, mold, and warping.
  • Places exposed to dramatic temperature shifts causing materials to expand/contract.
  • Areas getting direct sun exposure and heat that can degrade materials.
  • Tight uncovered spaces allowing dust, debris and pests to accumulate.
  • Creepy crawl spaces, attics, and closets with lack of ventilation.
  • Where chemical fumes and vapors can weaken ladder materials.
  • Near lawn mowers, power tools, or sharp objects that could dent or slice ladders when moved.

Monitoring conditions in the storage area helps identify risks of excessive moisture, heat, impacts, or other environmental threats to avoid.

How can ladders be stored safely when space is very limited?

Those with confined homes and garages still need safe ladder storage. Space-saving tips include:

  • Install wall-mounted folding ladder brackets high up out of the way.
  • Opt for a telescoping multi-position ladder stored in smallest retracted size.
  • Hang the ladder vertically on wall-anchored hooks (for step and extension ladders).
  • Store sections of extension ladders separately stacked side-by-side.
  • Invest in an outdoor storage shed, safe cabinet, or protective case.
  • Lean sideways against rafters in an attic or crawl space.

Getting creative, going vertical, and downsizing the ladder’s footprint when stored allows safer storage even in very cramped quarters.

What are the best practices for moving ladders in and out of storage?

Carefully moving ladders protects both the user and the equipment. Follow these guidelines:

  • Carry only one ladder at a time, holding it at waist height for stability.
  • Lift with legs when picking up heavier ladders; avoid bending at the waist.
  • Ascend/descend ladders fully extended; do not carry ladders horizontally on your back.
  • Wear protective gear like gloves, helmets, and steel-toe shoes as needed.
  • Keep ladders below chest height when transporting to avoid obscured vision.
  • Have helpers when carrying extra long or bulky ladders like extensions.

Taking deliberate steps protects both the ladder from falls and your body from injury when moving ladders in and out of storage.


Properly storing ladders keeps them in optimal condition while also preventing harm to people or property. Following key guidelines can help:

  • Store most ladder types horizontally to distribute weight evenly.
  • Use hooks, brackets, cases, or covers to protect the ladder.
  • Restrict access but allow availability for authorized users.
  • Inspect ladders before storage and make any needed repairs.
  • Account for size, material, and environment when choosing storage location and method.

Taking time to store ladders with care goes a long way toward ladder safety and longevity.

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