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How Do I Get That High? A Beginner’s Guide to Ladders

How Do I Get That High A Beginner’s Guide to Ladders banner

A ladder is a simple tool, but it can be a powerful one. If you’re reading this article, then chances are that you want to know how to use ladders properly. Whether you’re a professional or just starting out in the world of roofing and construction, there are many different types of ladders available on the market today.

How do you paint high places on a ladder?

At Home Painters Toronto, we paint everything from baseboards to ceilings, both interior and exterior, and commercial and residential properties.

Oftentimes, our work calls for using a ladder, which many people can find daunting.

In fact, thousands of people end up in the ER due to ladder-related injuries each year.

Some of this advice may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many people forget or overlook these simple guidelines.

Whether it’s a 4, 6, or 8’ ladder, the safety parameters remain the same. Avoid a trip to the emergency room.

Follow these tips the next time you need to break out a ladder for your home renovation project.

Top Ladder Safety Tips

  • • When you open a ladder, be sure that the two hinged metal braces (called spreaders) are fully locked down and straight.
  • • Never set up a ladder on uneven ground. Be sure that all four feet of the ladder are firmly planted.
  • • Use the 4:1 rule, for every 4 feet of the ladder, it should be 1 foot away from the wall, this will prevent the ladder from tipping over.
  • • Never climb up the backside of the ladder, only and always the front, and be sure to always face the ladder when ascending and descending.
  • • Pay attention to load capacity. Remember, it’s holding your weight and the weight of whatever you are carrying.
  • • Regardless of the ladder height stay off of the top two rungs.
  • • Never sit on a rung of the ladder.
  • • Avoid overreaching. A good general rule of thumb is to keep your hips within the vertical rails of the ladder.
  • Keep your hands free with a tool belt, much better than hanging tools from the ladder.


painter painting cabinet with ladder home painters toronto

Types of ladders for painting

painter painting with step ladder home painters toronto

There are three main types of ladders for painting: extension, step, and scaffold.

  • • Extension ladders

  • are the most common and are used for reaching high places. They extend from 4 to 20 feet long depending on the type of job you’re doing. This is the best ladder for exterior painting because it’s lightweight and portable. And because you can extend it to the appropriate height for the work you’re doing. Extension ladders are also great for painting high walls inside your home because they don’t take up much space and allow you to reach those hard-to-reach spots.


  • • Step ladders

  • have steps instead of rungs and are best for working in confined spaces like under a sink or between cabinets. Step ladders are designed to get you up very high and are the best choice for reaching the eaves of a house or roof.


  • • Scaffold ladders

  • are made of lightweight tubing and are used to access hard-to-reach places. They’re also the best choice for working with power tools or large pieces of equipment that require more than one person to move them around. Scaffold ladders are used in construction sites where multiple people will be working at once.


Extension ladders; with great heights comes great responsibility and a greater chance of injury.

  • • When extending the ladder lay it on the ground, with feet against the house. Then walk it upright. When it gets to almost 90 degrees, grab a rung about thigh height and walk the base away from the house. Still follow the 4:1 ratio.
  • • Grab the rope and raise the fly. Or the telescopic section of the ladders to your desired height.
  • • Follow all other precautions outlined above. With the additional precaution that you shouldn’t stand higher than the fourth rung.
painter painting with high ladder

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Afraid of heights? At Home Painters Toronto, we have 34 years of experience in ladder use, and we’ll tackle that high-up painting job for you. Check our reviews at HomeStars. Call us at 416 494 9095 or email us at Brian@HomePaintersToronto.com for a free quote or for more safety tips on using ladders for your next home renovation. And don’t forget to follow us on all our social channels below as well! 

Brian Young - Home Painters Toronto

From The Owner & Founder


Hello and welcome!

I’m both deeply honoured and flattered you are considering using our services.

Since 1987 when I was at York University simply earning my way through school, I’ve had the privilege to meet and work with thousands of amazing homeowners like yourself.

Besides the birth of my daughter, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a homeowner’s life change when we have transformed their dream home into a masterpiece. For that reason, we take our jobs very seriously and are committed to our cause.

At Home Painters our mission is to paint homeowners’ dreams, and make your painting experience last a lifetime!
I look forward to hopefully meeting you one day, as it brings me tremendous joy to make homeowner’s dreams come true.