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Winter Proof Your Roof: 5 Mandatory Maintenance Items

WinterProofHouse 300x200 Winter Proof Your Roof: 5 Mandatory Maintenance ItemsWhen the winter sky falls, many homeowners grimace with the thought of that horrible creaking sound that trees make when too much snow sits on their aged boughs.

Well, some things you just can’t plan for. But most things you can, and before your home is covered with a thick white blanket, make sure you’ve winter proofed your roof.

Take these steps, make sure you have these items, and you’ll be in good shape.

  1. First, a ladder. How else are you supposed to reach your roof? But don’t just settle for that old, rickety, 85-pound monster in your garage. Ladder technology has advanced to the point where they come lightweight and heavy duty, so you don’t have to blow a shoulder or worry about it collapsing under your holiday weight.Make sure it’s the correct size, too. Don’t get on the top rung of a ladder (always a no-no) you could have easily purchased one with an extra foot of height. Ladders are one thing that it’s OK to overestimate the size for, especially when you’ll be climbing it in winter or pre-winter conditions.
  1. Second, an ice pick or hammer with a sturdy adze to remove ice buildups in your gutters or points on your roof where water flows converge. Your roof is designed to push water away, so don’t block its natural flow. This is more of a reactionary measure than a proactive one, but you wouldn’t get into your car without your window scraper, and this is the same concept. Those heated windows can only do so much.You can probably get away with using a thick, durable plastic ice pick to knock away all but the most Alaskan ice buildups. A metal pick will probably damage your roof tiles to the point where any winter proofing you do will become moot. Don’t swing too hard, Hercules, just enough to get the ice away.
  1. Speaking of heating elements, new technology may allow homeowners to prevent ice buildups on their roofs by installing heated cables in the gutters. This largely removes the need of that ice pick, but with excessive cold the heated cables may not be able to keep up. However, you can even research installing heating elements on your roof tiles to prevent a single snowflake from collecting. This is extremely helpful in areas up north where snowfalls are suffocating. Just be mindful that the melted snow (water!) has to go somewhere, and if you heat your roof you’ll have to heat the gutters too. And keep an extra bag of salt by the front door walkway.
  1. Once the first winter frost has hit, it’s always a good idea to salt any cement surfaceyou’re about to place a ladder  on. A hidden ice patch with a ladder on top of it doesn’t spell out good things for the person on that ladder, and it’s one of those easily-avoided accidents.However, salt can wear away rock, including cement, but there are other options to prevent slipping, like rubber mats. Or, simply chip the ice away.
  1. Because melting water can refreeze on the siding of your home, you should look into installing shields similar to the kind that keep squirrels from birdfeeders. Vents on your exterior walls, such as the ones for a dryer or an HVAC system, can collect that cold water. When water freezes, it expands (it is a very peculiar molecule), and this alone can damage both wood and metal. You may not even realize it until you’ve got leaks indoors, but now you need a major overhaul in your structure to close the gaps that were opened by that freezing water.

It’s important to remember that safety is the most important thing. Don’t head out in the middle of a storm to try to knock excess snow or ice off your roof; the potential for harm to yourself or others outweighs the benefits of knocking a few inches to the ground. Be prepared ahead of time and sit snugly inside with peace of mind.

“Winter Home” Photo Credit: ungard

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Safety Tips for Holiday Decorating

LadderFail 225x300 Safety Tips for Holiday Decorating

What do you think of when someone says the words holiday decorations? The child in you probably rejoices with nostalgia. The adult in you groans with the realization it will be you atop the ladder in the cold, hearing a little to the left… no, too far… maybe we should put that somewhere else from behind you. Not to mention the potential for injuries. It’s the second biggest reason why people who work in healthcare hate working during the holidays (the first having to do with spending time away from family, of course).

They see more avoidable injuries between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than they can stomach. Don’t be a statistic: take heed of these tips to stay safe this holiday season, while keeping your traditions of exorbitant exterior lighting schemes alive like Clark Griswold.

  • Take your time. You don’t have to impress your family by nonchalantly walking around on the roof, or running up a ladder without anyone holding it steady. Ladders aren’t toys, and you have to treat them with respect. But just because you shouldn’t play with ladders doesn’t mean you can’t use your ladder to have a little fun. Your house, yard, window boxes, and shrubs are collectively your canvas, and it’s the time of year to show your creativity.
  • Don’t cut corners. There are plenty of things you can do to keep yourself healthy and injury-free while using a ladder to deck the halls. Never violate these safety tips:
    • Ascend and descend facing the ladder.
    • Step on each rung with both feet before continuing up.
    • Use both hands to hold the sides of the ladder—carry tools in a tool belt, not your hands.
    • Wear non-slip shoes.
    • Don’t overreach—keep your torso centered with the ladder.
    • Don’t go above the highest safe standing level (that top part of your ladder is not for stepping).
    • Keep three points of contact with the ladder at all times (two feet, and at least one hand, for example).
  • Mind the electricity. Power cords can prove to be a problem on many levels. First, be mindful of tangling power cords. After they’re hung or run around the exterior of your home, take a roll of duct tape and close up the open socket holes if any exist. This prevents rain and snow from getting into the circuit, which could cause a power short and put all your hard work out for good. Be sure not to puncture any cords with nails and tacks—drape them, don’t poke through them.
  • Teach the kids. Don’t let them get into bad habits— what you teach them about safety now could help prevent injuries in their future and set them on a healthy path toward DIY excellence.

And these tips are just for the outside. Stay safe indoors with the following reminders:

  • These days, a home’s electrical system isn’t as dangerous to operate as they used to be. You shouldn’t get too many sparks and power outages caused by excessive plugging (a la A Christmas Story). Instead, a smaller circuit will blow and only cut power to a specific section of your house. Still, you can prevent this from happening by spacing out where you plug in your lights, moveable Santas, Menorahs, and so on.
  • And speaking of sparks, don’t overlook the fires you may have indoors, such as fireplaces and even candles. It doesn’t take a lot for a flame to ignite a dried pine needle or wreath.
  • Be sure to have your chimney inspected and cleaned for the season. Chimney fires are all too common, but easy to prevent.
  • If you’re going to have a real Christmas tree, be sure to take your time selecting the freshest one you can find. If real is the only way for you, hold off on getting the tree until the second weekend in December. Be sure to trim it appropriately and keep its weight balanced by securing it in a stand. Keep the tree hydrated—hot lights on a dried-out tree are a hazard.
  • This might be the most important tip of all: hot chocolate. Find yourself a break and enjoy the warmth with a bit of hot chocolate and marshmallows. It’s the holidays!

Decorating the house is a great way to bond with your family, meet your neighbors, get outside and enjoy the crisp air. By following these tips, you can avoid slips and falls, electrical conundrums, fallen Christmas trees, and fire hazards. After all, this is a time to be merry, not moody.

“Christmas Decorations” Photo Credit: dr_XeNo

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We now offer the new Comfort Step from GPL!

GPL recently launched the new Comfort Step. Ladder-Guy.com is proud to be one of the select retailers offering this product.

What makes this step stool unique is that it is one of the very few step stools that is rated for 250lbs. The legs of the step stool are flared at the bottom giving the user more stability and confidence when on the top step. The steps are wide and feature a non-slip surface.

It also has a unique handle that eliminates finger pinching when opening and closing the step stool. Another unique feature is the locking latch; this may be used in the open and closed position.

The first step is just 6 inches off the ground.

The top of the step has been extended, so the user can bend their knees slightly against the top rail, providing additional stability and support.

For a limited time, Ladder-guy.com is offering a 10% discount on this product under the promotion code “NEW”.

GPL Comfort Step 3 Step Ladder

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How to Safely Use and Maintain a Ladder

Ladder injuries account for about 100,000 injuries each year. With these kinds of numbers, you would think Americans that have ladders would treat them as carefully as they do a skill saw or a chain saw. But, most people don’t consider a ladder a dangerous tool. Professionals take care of their tools because they know it is important for them to be in perfect shape to lower the risk of injury. A ladder is no different.

 

Cleaning Tips

At least once a year, every ladder should be cleaned and inspected for wear and tear that may affect the safety of it. Inspect the feet, latching mechanisms, and each step to ensure that they are not worn or uneven. You should also inspect for rust or corrosion. Usually a good scrubbing with a mild detergent should remove most dirt and debris. Then, the portable ladders should be dried by using compressed air or a blower. If you don’t have access to these, at least dry them in the sun.

 

The ladder should then have all moving contact points sprayed with a good silicone spray, making sure none gets on the area where the operator would place their foot. The ladder should be lubricated on all joints and any parts that move in contact with another part. After lubricating, the ladder should be opened and closed several times to fully lubricate the area.

 

Set Up and Use

When setting up a ladder, most users open it up and move it around until it feels like all legs are making contact with the ground and it seems level; then they begin to climb. Unfortunately, once they climb up the first step, the “racking” of the ladder changes now that weight is on it. One way to minimize this is to step on the first step and then lean back on the ladder just enough to pull the front legs off the ground (1/2 inch is usually enough) to “re-rack” the ladder, this may need to be done several times to get the ladder balanced fully. You should notice an immediate increase in stability. Experts contend that just doing this simple test on the first step could significantly reduce the number of visits to the emergency room. Also, always use a ladder that exceeds the height of the job. This prevents users from having to climb on the maximum height step or higher, as well as prevents them from having to reach too far. It is always best to have more ladder under you than to be balancing near the top of the ladder. Keep your weight and body centered on the ladder. You should position your feet at shoulder width apart and on the same step when possible. Never straddle a ladder. Do not overreach and never step on the top step.  It’s best to always have something beside the ladder to hang onto just in case you lose your balance.

 

Climbing Down

When you have finished your task and are ready to come down the ladder, make sure your hands are free so each hand can grip the ladder rungs as you come down. You should move one foot down to the next step and then the other foot onto the same step; again each foot should be about shoulder width apart. Keep your weight over the ladder—leaning into the ladder, never lean back.

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Welcome to the Ladder Guy Blog!

Welcome to the blog for Ladder-Guy.com! Many of our clients ask for tips and advice, so we’ve created a place to put them! Here at our blog, you will also get the chance to see the personality behind the company, and we hope to cement personal relationships with our clients and build up relationships with any newcomers.

At Ladder-Guy, we’ve created a simple online ladder store. We specialize in portable ladders, work platforms, and stepping stools that are easy to fold up and store away. We have a simple presentation where we show you pictures, descriptions, dimensions, and prices for your convenience, and we keep all of our products in stock.

With this blog, we’ll keep you, our customers, connected with all that’s going on in the industry. You can find give you in-depth information, professional tips, and advice. Make sure to check in regularly to remain up to date on any upcoming deals and specials you might be interested in, as well as news from the company. Thanks for stopping by!

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