I am trying to get an extension ladder in position so I can finally clean these gutters. I have a stabilizer, but it's narrower than the span of 2 windows, and I'm very uncomfortable putting the ladder up this high without it. I'm having a real whale of a time getting the ladder into position. I'm thinking that somehow I need to get the stabilizer legs above the windows, but still beneath the gutter line. I'm hoping that someone has tips or tricks for getting this ladder into place. I know the wood shingles on the front need replaced-- that's next.

I contemplated putting the stabilizer beneath the windows, ie not on the highest rung, but I wasn't sure if this was safe or not.

It's a 28' Werner fiberglass extension ladder, and Werner stabilizer.

Any suggestions?

The area of interest where I am finding difficulty placing a ladder.

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    @ChrisMelville It doesn't mean anything different elsewhere. OP is using it wrong.
    – user91988
    Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 16:06
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    How steep is the roof? If it's a relatively low slope, you can just put the ladder up on another side of the house where there aren't windows and walk around, cleaning the gutters from above. Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 17:33
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    @ChrisMelville I actually did mean "great fun", even if my efforts were unsuccessful.
    – Alex Launi
    Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 18:46
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    I believe OP was being a bit flippant in describing the excitement of cleaning the gutters (ie. it is, in reality, NOT a whale of a time).
    – Z4-tier
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 14:35
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    Consider whether now is the time to do this. If you fall, you will end up in a hospital which you'll likely be sharing with COVID-19 patients.
    – Jeremy
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 1:58

7 Answers 7


Leaning the ladder against the gutter

If the gutters are safe to lean on, and if there are no potential problems with denting them, then that is the way to do it.

The ladder will be stable and you will be in a better position for cleaning the gutters than if you were on a ladder leaning on the walls.

Some gutters are actually strong enough that you can lean a ladder against them without any issues; not even a risk of aesthetic dents. I talked to a guy who hand crafted and installed gutters and he said that for some buildings they install extra strong gutters because they know that ladders will be leaned against them or they know that kids will be hanging in them.

Don't lean the stabilizer on the side of the gutter since that involves a risk of the stabilizer arms suddenly slipping below or above the gutter. Instead, do not use the stabilizer or if using the stabilizer place it above the gutter so that the ladder itself is leaning on the gutter.

Leaning a two arm stabiliser against the window area, not a good idea in your case

The stabilizers that I know of all have two "arms". Even if you place the ladder correctly and the spacing between the arms will rest against the framing, then that is not really good enough in my opinion. There is a risk that something gives in and the top of the ladder moves a bit to the side, in which case one of the arms will suddenly lean against the glass.

Leaning a stabilizer against the roof

From googling it seems that many ladder stabilizers are built to be used like that as well.

Avoiding using a ladder

This is what I would do if I had a house like that. You can get remote controlled gutter cleaning robots, eg iRobot Looj or you can get accessories for a power washer that lets you clean the gutters while standing on the ground eg Gutter Ball.

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    It looks like there are > 20' power washer arms. This is a really good suggestion I hadn't considered. Thanks!
    – Alex Launi
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 21:45
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    There are also telescoping poles with a u-shaped bit on the end that you can raise up there and drag along inside the gutter to scrape out the crud.
    – Z4-tier
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 14:38

The ladder should be placed against the gutter and extended (3' or so) above it, so you can do your work without reaching up blindly. Doing the work as you suggest could cause you to have an unstable body position, reaching up and over like that. If you are concerned about damaging the gutter, you could fasten a wide softner of some sort to the ladder. If the ladder won't reach that high, your ladder is too short.

Also, at that height I would ascend with a screw eye and immediately screw an anchor into a rafter-tail and wire the ladder up, for stability. It also would be great if you could block the ladder from moving at ground level, by staking down a 2 x 4 or something to prevent slide/kick out.

At even 12' up, a fall could be fatal. At that height you would be lucky to survive a fall.

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    Maybe rent a scissor-lift or articulating MEWP (Mobile Elevating Work Platform), or consider a scaffold. Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 20:41
  • Your last paragraph is very good, this is one of those things where the fact the op needs to ask means they really shouldn't be doing it themselves. This is not a task that your average diy homeowner should attempt themselves. And if your local hospitals are like most, even routine injuries can become severe problems.
    – eps
    Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 19:43

I'm a gutter installer from florida,the sand shifts alot here under ladders,plus uneven ground and bushes to consider.I find a good spot on side of house or a lower roof to access top with another ladder.As long as your roof is a 6-12 pitch anyone can walk it,much faster,efficient and safer in my opinion .stabilizers throw off your balance and are difficult for even the experienced.Always be safe ,or call a professional


Not allow to comment, so have to open a separate Ans. This is how to stabilized the ladder. This is how I saw the Pros stabilized the ladder after lending against the gutter. Used two Vise-Grip C' clamps, one on each side of the ladder, the Vise-Grip are attached to the rafters you have above the windows. A chain or rope is run through the C' Clamp opening and wrapped around the ladder. This is similar to the other answer of using the eye screw, but without having to drill holes. This is faster, and in my opinion a little safer, not having to haul a drill up there and drill holes for the Eye screws.


You need a safer stabilizer, one that goes on the roof.

I wholeheartedly recommend the Ladder-Max Ladder Standoff Stabilizer. I know it's a bit pricey but it was worth every cent to me. It doesn't damage my gutters nor shingles and I feel totally stable 28 feet in the air while cleaning my gutters.

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I highly advise against resting your ladder on the gutters especially if your gutters are a thin gauge aluminum. Even thick gauge aluminum will sag over time with repeated abuse. Replacing gutters is a heck of a lot more expensive than buying the proper equipment for your task.

I think there are competitors which sell something similar for a slightly lower price.

You can try to achieve the same result with your Werner but you may damage the roof and it might not be as stable.

  • I do this with an ordinary stabilizer with the soft end pads on the ends.
    – DaveM
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 1:09

Do not rest the ladder on the windows (or elsewhere) on the wall: you need to get above the gutter. I'm not 100% sure what a Werner stabilizer is, but if it is what we in the UK call a stand-off, put it on the second or third rung from the top so there is some ladder above it, and rest the stand-off on the first row of roof tiles. That way you can get your arms just above the gutter and still have something to hold on to, and won't damage the gutter. Of course, it the Werner is something else, a stand-off is what you need! By resting on the roof, it will prevent the ladder falling sideways, but you should still secure the bottom to stop it slipping out, e.g. by strapping it to a screw eye in the house wall, or banging a spike into the ground to fasten it to etc. I also recommend a body harness and fall arrester as a slip could be fatal -- and it happens! Make sure your ladder is tall enough to reach and still give 73 degree angle.

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    – Ack
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 17:39

That ladder is a beast to move and get in position so a helper would be nice to help you and definitely rest the ladder on the gutters because it will get you in a safe and better position to clean the gutters, also to make sure your ladder is at the correct angle and I was taught to put your toes against the base of the ladder then extend your arms toward the ladder and your hand should touch the ladder when your at the correct angle.

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