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Why you need a new loft ladder

30 January 2018 13:13:44 GMT

Do you need to invest in a new loft ladder? Whether you have an old loft ladder that could do with replacing or you still use a standard extension ladder to get into your loft, there is a wide range of options available.

Much more convenient than a standard ladder

The majority of homes with lofts do not have a built-in ladder. That means that if you want to get into your loft you will need to use a standard ladder – as this will likely be stored outside or in a garage it can be highly inconvenient to have to go and retrieve it every time. It is much better to have a loft ladder that folds out from the loft.

Of course, it’s also worth mentioning that a loft ladder is specifically designed for this purpose whereas a standard ladder might not be ideal from a safety perspective.

Is your current ladder in good condition?

If you already have a conventional loft ladder it is worth remembering that it will need replacing after a few years of use. If you are honest, how often do you check the condition of your loft ladder? It is something that many of us take for granted in our house to use whenever we want without performing the kind of the checks that we might on other ladders. But loft ladders do wear down just like any other and if you have had your ladder for many years it may not be in the best shape anymore. Give it a thorough check over, and if it is no longer in good condition it might be time to get a replacement.

Aluminium or wood?

If you are choosing your new loft ladder you have to opt between either a wood or aluminium model. This mostly comes down to personal preference but there are strengths and weaknesses to be aware of. A wooden loft ladder has a more traditional look and is also warmer when climbing (remember that it is stored in a cold loft). An aluminium ladder is lightweight and typically cheaper.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Safety tips for cleaning your windows

9 January 2018 13:07:37 GMT

Often there is no need to pay for a window cleaning service if you can do the job yourself. But one thing that stops homeowners from cleaning their own windows is the fear of injuring themselves, so here are some safety tips to help you clean your windows easily.

Choose an appropriate ladder

One mistake that many people make when they come to clean their windows is simply choosing the first ladder to hand without thinking about whether it is appropriate for the task. Ultimately the ladder you use makes the biggest difference to your safety, so if you choose a worn old ladder or one that isn’t tall enough for the work, you could be putting yourself in danger.

You can easily and cheaply pick up a high quality extension ladder to allow you to carry out your window cleaning safely.

Place your ladder correctly

Of course just having the right ladder doesn’t mean that you are automatically going to be safe using it. The first thing to think about is where you are going to place your ladder. Ensure that it is away from power lines, and that it will stand on flat and solid ground without any obstructions. Always make sure that the feet of the ladder are very secure and won’t be able to slip or slide while you climb.

Use your ladder properly

When you are using the ladder itself you should make sure you follow basic safety precautions. This means that you should only ever stand on a safe rung on the ladder – this will vary by model so check with the instructions. Also, you should ensure that you are maintaining three points of contact with the ladder at all times.

Make sure you have clean hands

This might seem like an obvious point, but having clean hands is actually very important when you come to wash your windows. This is not only because you don’t want to ruin the cleaning job you have done by getting dirty finger-marks on them, but also because having dirty hands can make you more liable to slip and fall from the ladder as you work.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Uses for scaffold towers around the house

18 December 2017 13:56:15 GMT

You might assume that a scaffold tower is something that is only ever used by building professionals and on construction sites. But this is not necessarily the case – the are plenty of uses for a scaffold tower around the house whether you are carrying out a specific project on your home or just need it for some DIY. Scaffold towers are also more accessible than ever; they are affordable and can even be hired if you only need them for a short period of time. Here are some of the uses for scaffold towers around the house. 

DIY tasks

The most obvious use for a scaffold tower is to carry out any form of DIY. Whether you are getting painting done or working on the ceiling and require access, a scaffold tower can be easily setup to help you accomplish a task quickly and safely. Of course it should also be noted that one of the major benefits of using a scaffold tower instead of a ladder is that it provides you with a safer and more stable platform to work from. This is especially useful if you are working outside – any kind of DIY work on the exterior of the house will usually be safer on a scaffold tower. 

Decorating the house

Another time when a scaffold tower can come in handy is when you are putting up decorations. Whether it is for Christmas, Halloween or just a party that you are hosting, having a scaffold tower can make it much easier to put up your decorations, especially if it is a job that will require two free hands. 

Cleaning windows

Many people pay for a professional winding cleaning service because they would rather not have to put themselves at risk by getting up on a tall ladder to clean their high windows. This can be frustrating as this is a job that you could easily do yourself if you had the correct access equipment. Using a scaffold tower takes away much of the risk involved and makes the job far quicker than having to use a ladder. 

Pruning in the garden

A scaffold tower can be enormously useful for all kinds of work in the garden but especially if you are going to be pruning trees or bushes. Resting a ladder against a tree can be dangerous, especially if you are working with an electric pruner. Having a stable platform to work from is a much safer environment. 

Clearing the gutters

Once again, if you are going to work high on your home, you need to have as much stability as possible. A scaffold tower provides you with two free hands to work on the gutter. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Telescopic Ladders ImageAt Precipitous we are often asked about our range of telescopic ladders. These innovative products are growing in popularity and offer a range of advantages compared to standard ladders. Here are the answers to frequently asked questions we get about telescopic ladders.

What is a telescopic ladder?

A telescopic ladder works the same way as a telescope. The thinner upper sections of the ladder are designed to fit into the larger bottom sections so the ladder collapses into itself, making it easy to carry, store and move around – a telescopic ladder with a closed height of 0.78m can extend to an overall length of 3.3m. 

What types of telescopic ladder are available?

There is a very wide variety of telescopic ladders available. The standard telescopic ladder simply extends out and can be used a range of different heights depending on your needs.However, there are also telescopic multi-purpose ladders that can be used as a step ladder or for work on stairs.

If you are interested in learning about which telescopic ladder might be right for your needs, the team at Precipitous would be happy to provide you with more information

What can telescopic ladders be used for?

The construction of telescopic ladders mean that they are extremely versatile and can used for a whole range of both DIY and professional tasks. As mentioned above, there are different types of telescopic ladder that are used for specific situations – whether you are painting, cleaning windows or even working on the roof, a telescopic ladder can be ideal. They are especially useful if you have limited storage space but like to get a lot of work around the house. These ladders can be folded down to a very small size and stored almost anywhere. 

What are the benefits of telescopic ladders?

Telescopic ladders have a number of benefits over standard ladders. Firstly, they can be more conveniently stored and are far more compact than most ladders. Additionally, this makes them less likely to be damaged due to poor storage or left open to the elements. They are typically made from aluminium, which makes them extremely lightweight and easy to carry out between jobs.

All of the telescopic ladders we sell additionally conform to all of the relevant safety requirements, so you don’t need to worry that you are compromising on safety. 

How can I use a telescopic ladder safely?

Of course safety is an important factor when using your telescopic ladder, just as it with any type of ladder. It should first be noted that the telescopic ladders that we sell all conform to the European standard, EN131. Additionally there are a number of checks that you carry out before each use to ensure that your ladder is in good condition to use.

Firstly, check the stiles, feet and rungs of the ladder for any wear or damage. Next ensure that the ladder is correctly locked into place. And finally, ensure that the ladder is properly set up on a flat surface with the feet braced. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

How to carry out a ladder safety inspection

28 November 2017 09:50:03 GMT

When working at height you are effectively putting your safety in the hands of your access equipment. This means that if you are using any kind of ladder you need to carry out regular inspections to ensure that it is safe to use.

The two inspections you need to carry out

The first thing to note about ladder inspections is that there are actually two separate types of inspections that should be carried out on a regular basis. The first kind of inspection is a detailed visual review which needs to be carried out by a competent or qualified person. How to carry out these inspections will depend on the make and model of the ladder, and you will find details of how to do so in your manufacturer’s handbook.

The second form of inspection is one that you need to do every time before you use the ladder. This is a pre-use inspection that give you the peace of mind to know that you are working on equipment that is stable and secure.

Carrying out a pre-use inspection

The pre-use inspection is something that you should do every time before you go up a ladder. And this also applies any time that something changes, for example, if the ladder is dropped, or has to be moved to another location. You need to check the following aspects of the ladder:

  • The stiles must be in good condition and not bent or split.
  • Every rung should be in working order – not bent, loose or missing. You should never attempt to climb a ladder with broken or missing rungs.
  • The feet should not be worn, damaged or dirty.
  • The treads should be dry and not slippery.
  • The locking bars must work and should not be bent, damaged or excessively worn.
  • Stepladder platforms must not be split or buckled to ensure that they are safe to stand on or work from.
  • The whole of the ladder should be free from dirt and rust.  

How often should a ladder be inspected?

As has already been mentioned, you should carry out a quick pre-use inspection yourself before each time you climb the ladder. But the formal inspection needs to be conducted at least once every six months, and it is important for records to be kept of these inspections. If you are worried about your ladder and would like to get it replaced, please get in contact with us

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

A guide to scaffold tower materials

14 November 2017 09:38:34 GMT

You might assume that when you come to buy or hire a scaffold tower, the material used isn’t especially important. But it is actually the case that material used makes a big difference to the tower’s uses and functionality. The majority of scaffold towers are made from aluminium, but there is also a growing number of fibreglass towers being manufactured and these may be preferred depending on the specifications of the job. Let’s take a look at the different scaffold tower materials to establish the advantages and disadvantages of each, and to see which one might be right for your needs.

Aluminium

Aluminium is one of the most popular and commonly-used materials in scaffold towers. It is strong, durable and very reliable. It is also typically lighter than other types of scaffold towers, which makes it easier to transport. If you simply need a standard scaffold tower for professional or DIY use, an aluminium model way be the most practical and useful for you.

Steel

While steel is commonly used in scaffolding, it is rarer in scaffold towers as it is much heavier and less user-friendly than aluminium models. The material is strong and durable, but steel scaffold towers typically do not comply with industry standards and therefore cannot be used professionally – therefore they can only be used for DIY tasks.

Fibreglass

Fibreglass is a material that has only relatively recently been used for scaffold towers, but it has grown in popularity quickly. This is mostly due to the fact that it is safe to use fibreglass around electrical sources, whereas it can be dangerous to be on a tower made from aluminium or steel when around a live electrical current. Unlike those materials, fibreglass does not conduct electricity. It should be noted that fibreglass is more fragile than aluminium and can break down with exposed to sunlight for long periods

If you are interested in either buying or hiring a scaffold tower but you are not sure which material might be best suited to you, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us. Our team are highly experienced in working with scaffold towers and we understand how each material can benefit you. Call us on 020 8684 6999 or email info@precipitous.co.uk and we will be happy to 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

It’s nearly that time of year when spooky decorations get put up for parties across the country – Halloween is almost upon us. For many people, half the fun of the day is decorating their house in scary adornments ranging from skulls and bats to angry pumpkins and spider webs. Whether you’re attempting to frighten trick-or-treaters or preparing the house for an unforgettable Halloween party you need to make sure that you put up for your decorations safely. Injuring yourself can be scary for all the wrong reasons, so follow the advice below this Halloween.  

Are your decorations safe?

The first thing that you need to ask yourself before you get started is: are my Halloween decorations safe? It’s all well and good hanging up huge ornaments above your door, but if they fall and hurt someone it can ruin the evening.

Remember that some items are designed to be used indoors and aren’t necessarily going to be safe if placed on the exterior – this could apply to lights or anything that is electrical. For example, you may need to invest in waterproof extension leads (especially as the weather can be so changeable this time of year). Always check the label of any decoration before using it to ensure it will be safe. 

Use appropriate ladders

It is the case that the most common way that people injure themselves when putting up Halloween decorations is when they fall from height. Whether trying to balance on a chair to hang lights or using a ladder that isn’t fit for purpose, any kind of work at height can be dangerous if you aren’t using the right equipment for the task.

When working outdoors you should use a ladder that is suitable – in other words, one that gives you sufficient height to reach the task comfortably. Remember if you are working with electricity it can be prudent to use a wooden or fibreglass ladder than does not conduct electrical current, rather than a steel one. If you are hanging up decorations indoors, don’t take any risks here either. Use a step ladder than allows you to reach the ceiling rather than any kind of makeshift access equipment!

Make sure you check lights

Another hazard is malfunctioning or broken lights. You should always check your lights (and any electrically powered Halloween decorations) before you put them up. When lights are faulty they can give electric shocks, create sparks or even burn your skin, so make sure that you check them over carefully. Naturally it’s also prudent to check your decorations work before you put them up. It could be extremely frustrating to spend hours setting up lights only to discover that half of them won’t switch on. 

Follow standard safety precautions

Halloween parties can be a lot of fun, but that doesn’t mean that you should abandon all safety precautions when you set them up. Use the correct type of ladder, wear sensible footwear and gloves, as well as any other protection equipment you need. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

When does a ladder need replacing?

13 October 2017 08:15:42 GMT

Is it time to replace your ladder? Whether you are carrying out DIY or doing work at height professionally, it’s important to be working with high quality equipment. If you have any concerns about the ladder that you are going to use it could be worth investing in a new one for your peace of mind. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you might need to replace your ladder. 

When it is damaged

Each time you use your ladder you should take a moment beforehand to check it over – when a ladder is in poor condition or damaged it can be dangerous to work on. Take a look for signs of wear on the feet, rungs and sides. If it is looking worn down you may wish to consider buying a new ladder to minimise the risk that the current ladder could buckle or break and cause you injury. Be aware of the age of your ladder too as this can be an indicator of how much lifespan it has left. 

When it is not tall enough

It is not only when a ladder is in poor condition that you may need to think of purchasing a replacement, it could also be that the ladder is not fit for purpose. One of the most common scenarios is that the ladder you have is not tall enough to carry out the work – this can cause some to use the ladder precariously or to overstretch and put themselves in a dangerous positon. It’s a much better and safer idea to simply replace your ladder with a taller model.

When a different type of ladder would be safer

Clearly one of the key issues working at height is safety, so if you are going to be getting on a ladder to carry out any sort of work you need to feel secure. It may be the case that using a different type of ladder – for example, using a combination three way ladder in a stairwell – is actually much safer than the ladder that you were intending to use. You always need to prioritise your personal safety when working at height, so don’t take any risks. 

When there is a significantly better model available

It could be the case that a more advanced or better model is now available for the job. For example, people who have to work near or with live electrical currents have previously used wooden ladders rather than metal ones, as wood models do not conduct electricity. However, wooden ladders come with a range of drawbacks. If you are you going to be working with electricity you can now use a fibreglass ladder instead. Like wood, fibreglass does not conduct electricity. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

How to safely use ladders on stairs

27 September 2017 08:31:04 GMT

Stairways can be one of the most challenging places to work at height. The size restrictions mean that ladders are usually the only form of access equipment that can be used, but standard ladders are not designed to be used on stairs which can make them unsafe and put you at risk of falling.

Nevertheless, if you need to carry out work at height there is usually no safe way to do so other than using a ladder. Stairways still need a huge range of tasks such as painting, wallpapering, changing lights and painting ceilings, all of which will require a ladder to work safely. That means that you are going to need to invest in the correct type of ladder.

The right ladder for the job

The ladder that you need in order to work on a stairway is a combination ladder. Specifically designed to be used in situations with uneven levels, these provide the perfect solution to allow you to work safely. You do not need to have years of experience – these ladders can be easily set up by anyone as long as the correct instructions are followed. And using a combination ladder is broadly the same as any other ladder.

If you need to carry out work on a stairway, do not try to find a different workaround. Simply invest in a high quality combination ladder to ensure that you are working at height in the safest way possible. 

Setting up a combination ladder

To safely set up a combination ladder on the stairs, use the following step-by-step guide:

  1. Consult the instructions from the manufacturer – different ladders may have specific procedures that need to be followed for correct assembly
  2. Enlist the help of someone else
  3. For most standard combination ladders, the first step is to remove the extension piece from the ladder and then stand it up with the stabilising bar at the top of the stairs
  4. Hinge the base and the mid-section of the ladder so that they are in the step ladder format. You can then add the extension piece upside down to the back of the mid-section
  5. Check the rung hooks are facing upwards and outwards
  6. Once the ladder is set up you can stand the extension piece on a step lower from the one that you are going to work on, then you can adjust the locking bars
  7. Ensure that you follow sensible health and safety precautions as you would when using any other ladder. For example, you should place the ladder’s feet as far away from edges as possible to ensure that they are always secure
  8. If you are working on your own you should tie the ladder to a bannister to make sure that it will not slip
Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Buying a scaffold tower can be expensive, but if this is the kind of access equipment that you need, you will want to get as good a price as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to buy a used scaffold tower. At Precipitous we offer a full range of high quality second hand towers – please get in contact with us if you are interested in buying one.

Here are some of the advantages of buying second hand:

A cost-effective price

Clearly one of the major advantages of buying a scaffold tower second hand is that it will be cheaper than buying new. Not only does this mean that you can get the tower you are looking for at a reduced cost, but it can also potentially make it affordable for you to buy a scaffold tower when you need it.

If the cost of the tower is prohibitive it can mean that users will opt instead to make use of a cheaper method of access such as a ladder. But when you need a scaffold tower, it’s important that you should invest in one. The lower price of second hand models can ensure that you are able to do this. 

Just as safe as a new tower

Some buyers worry that purchasing a second hand scaffold tower is not as safe as buying a brand new model. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Make sure that you only buy from an experienced and reputable dealer and you can be sure that your scaffold tower will be just as safe to use. At Precipitous, we make sure that every tower we sell has been inspected thoroughly and is in excellent condition. 

Get what you need

Another common concern for buyers is that buying a second hand tower means that you will need to compromise on what you are getting. But you can get the exact specification on the tower that you are looking for second hand. We offer a huge range of used scaffold towers so you can specify the working height, width and length you need to ensure you get a tower that is perfect for you.

Ideal both for short and long-term use

Buying a scaffold tower can be expensive, and if you only need it for a few jobs over a short period of time, the cost of buying a brand new model can be prohibitively high. This is where buying a second hand tower can be so beneficial. Far cheaper than buying a new tower, you can get the exact same functionality without having to waste any money.

Of course that doesn’t mean that second hand towers can’t be used over the long term either – our towers offer excellent longevity and durability. So whatever you need, these towers can be ideal for you. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

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