I am painting a tall house using a 40-foot extension ladder that is composed of two 20-foot sections. So, in its shortest, unextended form, the ladder is 20 feet high.

The problem I'm running into is standing the ladder up. There are other houses on both sides of the house I'm working on, and only about 10 feet of clearance between the houses. As a result, I can't stand up the ladder using the only method I know, which is to lay it on the ground at the base of an exterior wall, then push the base against the bottom of the wall and raise the ladder up rung-by-rung with my arms until it's vertical. I can do this in the back and front of the house, where there is enough clearance to lay the ladder flat on the ground, but not the sides.

Because the ladder is so big, it's also not really possible to stand it up in one location and walk it to where I need, at least not by myself. (And even with two guys, it would be tough, I think; it's a relatively heavy ladder, and you just don't have much leverage at the base of something 20 feet tall.)

Are there any techniques I could use to stand the ladder up on the sides of the house without being able to lay it flat?

1 Answer 1


About 2-3 feet from the side of the house, lay the ladder down parallel to the house placing the feet of the ladder as close to their desired location as possible (the length of the ladder may not allow you to place it exactly where you'd like it at this step).

Brace or have a second person brace the feet of the ladder, and from the opposite end, lift the 'top' run over your head and walk your your hands toward the base (monkey bar style), until the ladder is fully vertical.

Once vertical pivot the ladder on the foot closest to the house, squaring the ladder to the house. If your ladder is not yet high enough you can extend it now. Walk your hands back toward the top of the ladder until the ladder rests against the house (usually only is about 1 rung).

  • 1
    If you don't have a helper you may be able to use a rope instead. - Stretch a 25 foot rope along the ground parallel to the house. Lay the ladder on top of it. Tie one end of the rope to the bottom rung. Pick up the top of the ladder and walk along the rope, raising the ladder hand over hand as usual. Tread heavily on the rope to keep it from slipping. - Although you can reverse the operation, it is probably safer to hold the rope in your hands when lowering the ladder. Apr 8, 2018 at 15:22
  • One of the larger ladders I use has a pully and rope built right in
    – virtualxtc
    Apr 11, 2018 at 6:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.