What are the different types of materials ladders are made from?

Ladders can be manufactured from a number of materials, but the main three include aluminium, timber and currently one of the most popular materials in many industries - fibreglass. Using the example of step ladders, despite fibreglass steps being the more expensive step ladder they last longer and with more and more people being concerned about safety when using ladders, fibreglass ladders are often seen as the safest option.

When choosing a ladder it is important to know the benefits of each type so we thought we would inform our readers by comparing fibreglass to the alternative options of timber and aluminium step ladders.

Fibreglass Steps Vs Aluminium Step Ladders

Fibreglass Ladder Advantages

  • In comparison to aluminium ladders, fiberglass ladders in general are stronger. This does not necessarily mean that aluminium ladders aren't strong, but the strength will depend on the grade of the material used.
  • Fibreglass ladders are more weather resistant.
  • Perhaps the greatest advantage of a fibreglass ladder over its aluminium counterpart is its resistance to electricity and electrical shocks. Fiberglass does not conduct electricity, aluminium does.
  • Fibreglass ladders are more flame resistant than aluminium ladders.
  • Fibreglass ladders are less likely to bend in comparison with aluminium ladders.
  • Fibreglass ladders do not weaken in the heat like aluminium ladders. Aluminium ladders conduct heat, whereas the fiberglass ladders do not.

Aluminium Ladder Advantages

  • Aluminium ladders are a cheaper option than fibreglass ladders.
  • Aluminium ladders are more lightweight than fibreglass ladders allowing them to be easier to transport.
  • Aluminium ladders are less likely to crack in comparison with fibreglass ladders.

Fibreglass Steps Vs Timber/Wooden Step Ladders

Fibreglass Ladder Advantages

  • The fiberglass sections that go into creating a fibreglass ladder are uniform and don't vary in size, design or strength. In comparison, timber ladders can have significant variations in quality, so a weaker wooden ladder rung or support beam could fail without warning.
  • Fibreglass ladders can be used indoors or outdoors as they are resistant to any type of adverse effects due to weather. Timber ladders absorb moisture and can begin to rot after being exposed to wet and dry conditions.
  • Fibreglass ladders are flame resistant. Wooden ladders are not.

Timber Ladder Advantages

  • Timber ladders are a cheaper option than fibreglass ladders.
  • Timber ladders are lighter than fibreglass ladders allowing them to be easier to transport.

While all of these ladders can serve their purpose, fibreglass ladders will last a lot longer due to being weather proof, whether it be wind, rain or heat. Therefore, despite being more expensive, they are often seen as the better investment for people who use them regularly at home or at work.