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#55913 - 09/09/05 12:59 PM Fiberglass ladders on roof rack
Jps1006 Offline
Registered: 01/22/04
Posts: 615
Loc: Northern IL
I notice premature fatigue on my 10' a-frame and a 24' extension ladder that have permanent residence on the roof of my van. I think it must be UV plus a little wet and temp difference. I was thinking about getting a good oil-based paint to paint them up to protect them. Do you guys notice this and what do you do?

I just find it ironic that my ladder rack-bound big ladders are the most expensive, least used, and wear out first.
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#55914 - 09/09/05 02:31 PM Re: Fiberglass ladders on roof rack
dmattox Offline
Registered: 10/20/04
Posts: 265
Loc: Anaheim, CA
I've heard its an OSHA violation to paint a ladder (hides possible flaws in the ladder). But, that might be one of the many urban legends that are around job sites.
#55915 - 09/09/05 03:25 PM Re: Fiberglass ladders on roof rack
trollog Offline
Registered: 10/02/04
Posts: 276
Loc: San Diego California USA
The big ladders stay at the shop, mostly. Our biggest is a 16' A-frame. Who really wants to drive around with that thing up top, killing your gas mileage? I am just resigned to and accept the sun damage the smaller ladders take, but so far I have seen more ladders put in their grave from jobsite abuse than from sun induced deterioration. I'de keep the big boys in the garage or at your shop. Although this may be heresy in here, you can also buy UV resistant aluminium for the big ladders. Takes two people to carry em, but you can leave em in the sun and rain, just stay away from the salt
#55916 - 09/09/05 03:46 PM Re: Fiberglass ladders on roof rack
Jim M Offline
Registered: 08/10/01
Posts: 457
Loc: Chestertown, MD, USA
Some of the local cable TV companies near me have a contractor come in and do PM on their ladders. You may want to call and see if yours has a similar program.

I did see them spraying the ladders with something but didn't ask what it was.

Scan this link for some info also.
#55917 - 09/09/05 04:35 PM Re: Fiberglass ladders on roof rack
luckyshadow Offline
Registered: 01/04/05
Posts: 305
Loc: Maryland USA
I was informed by OSHA that it is a violation to paint any ladder.Like dmattox said it hides flaws. If caught using painted ladders a fine will be assessed.
#55918 - 09/09/05 04:58 PM Re: Fiberglass ladders on roof rack
DougW Offline
Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 1143
Loc: North Chicago, IL
IIRC, it's more of the clearcoat on the fiberglass decomposing due to UV exposure.

There may be a clearcoat from an automotive source that could "restore" a ladder... I'm just not sure.
#55919 - 09/09/05 05:27 PM Re: Fiberglass ladders on roof rack
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5316
Loc: Blue Collar Country
I'd love to see the rule OSHA would cite....just what ever thief needs- unmarked ladders!

Check with your ladder mfr- most actually have a layer of pvc atop the fiberglass, to protect it. You have to cut pretty deep to get to the glass itself.

Of course, there's nothing that says you can't cover the rack with something. something tubular- like smurf tube or PVC pipe- would also make it easier to load the ladders, by rolling as the ladder slides on.

[This message has been edited by renosteinke (edited 09-10-2005).]
#55920 - 09/09/05 09:50 PM Re: Fiberglass ladders on roof rack
iwire Offline
Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4391
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
The OSHA rule does not apply to fiberglass, unless there is another rule I missed.

Wood ladders shall not be coated with any opaque covering, except for identification or warning labels which may be placed on one face only of a side rail.
Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
#55921 - 09/10/05 02:58 AM Re: Fiberglass ladders on roof rack
George Corron Offline
Registered: 05/16/01
Posts: 717
Loc: Lorton, Va USA
LONG ago, we used to coat our wooden ladders with linseed oil. I don't think that would violate OSHA's intent there.

AB Chance, and Hubbell sell coatings for their fiberglass sticks, I'm willing to bet the same coating would make a fiberglass ladder happy as well.
#55922 - 09/10/05 06:49 AM Re: Fiberglass ladders on roof rack
hbiss Offline
Registered: 12/16/03
Posts: 886
Loc: Hawthorne, NY USA
Wasn't there a thread here a few weeks ago on this same subject?

In the name of safety I would rather replace the ladder but somebody actually provided this link to a Werner ladder .pdf that details maintenance and recoating procedures.

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