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tandmj
ladder against window

I have a 2 story house and am trying to replace a spotlight near a peak. Below the peak is a double window (two 30" wide double hung anderson wood windows) with an arch window over the top. The total window area with the arch spans about 64" wide by 80" high with only a couple feet between the top of the window arch and peak of the house.

Can I rest the top of my extension ladder against the half circle part of the window using a 36" wide offset bar attached to the top of the ladder without having the window cave in? That window seems pretty strong and I'm figuring most of my 180lb weight is pushing ground and not the window.

A. Spruce
Re: ladder against window

It is very unwise to put ladders on or against non-supportive surfaces.

The safer route will be to put a board or thick plywood over the window and rest the ladder against that, or find another means of reaching that height, such as a lift or scaffold.

dj1
Re: ladder against window

Ladder manufacturers (like Werner and Louisville) make ladder stabilizers. I think they are adjustable to 48" wide. Painting contractors use them for safety.

For a one time use, look at building equipment rental places, otherwise you will have to buy it.

Covering the window with plywood is a perfect solution if you can't find the right stabilizer.

keith3267
Re: ladder against window

Try a 6' long 2x4 attached to the top of the ladder so it extends past the window and rests against the siding. If the window trip is proud of the siding, then add a couple of 2x4 blocks to the end to clear the window trim. Use LED replacement bulbs so you don't have to do this very often.

tandmj
Re: ladder against window

first - I am trying to replace old halogens with LEDs. Second, I have a ladder stabilizer and use it often. To use one in this instance it would have to be almost 7' wide and they don't make them that wide. But I did plan to use it against the window so that the weight was spread out over a wider distance. I like the 2 x 4 idea and may give it a try. It too will will have to be about 7' wide so the trick is whether I can figure out how to attach it in a secure enough way that it won't jiggle or move while I'm climbing. If I don't do this just right, it could be nothing more than trading one risk for another. Thanks.

dj1
Re: ladder against window

"I like the 2 x 4 idea and may give it a try. It too will will have to be about 7' wide so the trick is whether I can figure out how to attach it in a secure enough way that it won't jiggle or move while I'm climbing. If I don't do this just right, it could be nothing more than trading one risk for another. Thanks."

I would think you can attach such a 2x4 to the ladder with nuts and bolts (it will require drilling). Also attach two small pieces of 2x4, one at each end of the long 2x4, so the ladder is away from the building.

Sombreuil_mongrel
Re: ladder against window

Can you rest the ladder on the eaves and reach in or is that too far. You only need one hand to screw in a bulb, but if there is a cover to take apart, ugh. OK, you want to replace the whole fixture? My condolences. You may need to set up two ladders, ladder jacks, and a walkboard.
Casey

ordjen
Re: ladder against window

I personally wouldn't lean a ladder directly on glass, but I always used to marvel at window washers in downtown Chicago washing those giant show windows in front of Marshal Fields department store leaning their ladders directly in the middle of that huge piece of glass. They had a ladder that came to a point at top and was padded with carpet. Glass is actually amazingly strong to a constant pressure, just don't strike it, especially with anything hard and pointed! In the case of residential windows, I would be more afraid of the glazing and/or sash giving way.

Mastercarpentry
Re: ladder against window

NOT on the glass! These aren't tempered heavy glass windows with ground edges like ordjen speaks of. These take very little pressure to break if an unground edge is a stress point. Double-pane may have a vacuum applied stressing the glass already. You need a load spreader which rests on the walls or brick molding without touching the glass. A 2X4 will do the trick for you. Secure it just below the top of the ladder rails with automotive-type hose clamps diagonally. If you can't get them long enough the same sizes threaded end-to-end makes them longer. Long ones are commonly found on car or truck air intake systems- a couple bucks at the junkyard. That will be secure enough as long as you don't stand on the 2X4.

Yes, there's actually little pressure involved here. Yes, glass is very strong. Yes, I know a painter who does this more-or-less regularly. But the consequences can be dire should the glass break while you're climbing up or down with large pieces falling fast like spears. It is literally risking your life so do it safely.

Phil

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