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I'm planning to do some projects around my house. One is to change a light at the exterior peak of my garage, which is about 28' tall. The other is some painting on the side of my house, which is about 18' tall. I looked at a chart from a ladder maker and it looks like I could use a 28 or 32 foot extension ladder. Does that sound right and would either work for both jobs?

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    I've got a 24' extension ladder. I'm not afraid of heights, but I hate using that sucker at full extension. It's very wobbly and disconcerting. At a minimum, if you're buying a ladder that long, be sure to get a stabilizer that attaches to the top of the ladder and makes a wider base at the top. That will help a bit. Also, if you're buying aluminum, be sure to watch out for power lines - you don't want extending your ladder to be the last thing you ever do!
    – FreeMan
    Apr 21, 2021 at 12:11
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    While the 28' might do, a 32' will leave more overlap between the base and the fly, and that will provide a bit more stiffness. That will lead to you feeling more secure (I doubt it will actually be any more secure), and that will make it more comfortable for you to work from it. TBH, I'd strongly recommend renting scaffold for working at those heights, especially painting where you need side-to-side movement. It's a lot of up 'n down to paint from a ladder because you can't safely reach much from a ladder.
    – FreeMan
    Apr 21, 2021 at 12:14
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    I use pump jacks, a Jack system that connects to a pair of 4x4’s then you lay the scaffold planking between them but you still need a ladder to climb up once you are in the air. Left as a comment because this would not be for the light but if hand painting or doing exterior siding work they are better than a ladder. I would only get the steel ones mine have lasted for decades.
    – Ed Beal
    Apr 21, 2021 at 13:06
  • Excellent idea, @EdBeal, and thanks for the reminder and the proper search term. I'm considering these for the siding work I'll be doing on my house this summer.
    – FreeMan
    Apr 21, 2021 at 14:14

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As long as you're not stepping off the ladder then either will be fine. If you are stepping off to a roof you want the ladder to be taller than the roof line.

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