Q: Is it safe to have an extension ladder rest against the roofline, or should the pads at the top of the ladder rest against the siding? – Enrique, Austin, Texas

A: Tom Silva replies: I like to use a ladder with extensions that can be attached to create two side arms, called ladder stabilizers, which have several advantages. From a safety standpoint, they give a lot of stability to the ladder. The stabilizers also give you more versatility, allowing you to span a window if you want to wash it, for example. And they pull you away from the house, which is a more comfortable place to work from.

In general, though, I think you're better off resting a ladder against the house, unless you have a big overhang that prevents it. In that case you may have to rest the ladder on the roof. And one of the best things about the stabilizers is that if you do have a roof that comes down with an overhang, the ladder will rest on the roof comfortably.

The most important thing is that you never want to be stretching when you're working on a ladder.
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