Do sectional ladders really flex this much all the time?

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Are you using 6 sections? I’ve never used sectionals but they are on my list of things to buy after seeing them demoed at the Iowa event. If I remember right this is one of the issues when you start stacking over 4 pieces. Still not that bad when you consider how high you were (if they were 6 - 6ft pieces it should be 31ft to the top).

They sure do. Scary isn’t it? Find out what the stress limitation are. For me, anything over 28ft, I’m using an ext. ladder. Safety first.

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Back in the day before the lawyers sued the pants off the metallic ladder company a standard set of sectional ladders was five and one half pieces. That’s 29 feet. For decades window cleaners have been going well over 29 feet with sectional ladders. They are totally safe to climb but they will flex a bit. The flexing may be too scary for some folk. In my opinion the danger is in setting them up and taking them down, not climbing up and down.

If a person is not strong, has no common sense for proper ladder placements, or lacks a good sense of balance when moving a tall ladder I wouldn’t recommend going over 21 feet or so. The fun starts after 21 feet. I think that above that hight is when the accidents start to happen and the lawyers come in and blame the ladder company instead of the window cleaner who couldn’t set up or take down their window cleaners ladder without causing an accident. JMO

There is a definite learning curve when using sectionals for the first time. That’s why I think extension ladders are much easier for an inexperienced worker to use. If you have a larger company, extension ladders are probably the best way to go because a sectional ladder can be risky if the wrong, untrained, employee is trying to use one up high. However, I think the effort to learn how to use sectionals is well worth the effort. It’s kinda like taking the time to learn how to fan a squeeggee like a professional window cleaner.

I’m trying to see the advatages of them, for those windows there I would of just used a ext with stand off directly between/below both of those.

Tony maybe you can explain since you saw them in action before.

I’ve been using sectional ladders for over 15 years and I honestly do not know how you guys work EFFIECIENTLY without them. Under 30 feet it’s the only way to go in my opinion. There are many threads on the internet discussing this topic. It’s kind of like a soap war but not as good. Extension vs. Sectional

I think they’re so effiecient to use that they literally pay for themselves. And you can buy them right here at WCR.


Sectional ladder companies recommend don’t go over 21 feet, four pieces. They are totally safe to climb but they will flex a bit. The flexing at first is scary, you feel there gonna break lol

Mike Defiel is so rite on this, In my opinion the danger is in setting them up and taking them down, not climbing up and down…

If you or your workers are not strong, have no common sense for proper ladder placement, or lack balance for ladder movement I wouldn’t recommend going over 21 feet or so. The fun starts after 21 feet. That’s when the accidents happen and the lawyers come in and blame the ladder company instead of the window cleaner who didn’t know how to set up a window cleaners ladder.

An extension ladder is almost idiot proof. A sectional ladder takes a bit of common sense to use safely. JMO[/QUOTE]

I totally agree. I see there advantage being when I have some interior work on foyer windows or in a living room with high windows and a ton of furniture to get around. They are very light and once I get past the learning curve for stacking them it seems like a no brainer.

That’s right Tony, it’s a no brainer! Time is money and they save time. :cool:

I wonder who likes sectionals more? Me or you, Mike? I know who likes the Pivit tool more. Haha.

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I’d probably like the Pivit tool if I gave it a chance but I didn’t want to go through the learning curve. ha ha

It’s a great piece of equipment Mike. You should give it a try.

I have a set of the no-longer-sold Alaco sectionals. I like them, but rarely use them. I wish they were more practical than they are because I just think they’re cool. Homeowners are always impressed because most have never seen them. I prefer the wider base of the Alaco to the Metallic but the sections seem to stick making them harder to set up and break down. I also added a leg leveler to just one leg so I can switch it around depending on which side is downhill. This is nice. But for most scenarios, an extension ladder is more practical. It’s awkward carrying 4-5 pieces of ladder around a yard. It’s usually quicker and easier to use a 16" extension for interior ladder work too. Plus, the rungs are round on sectionals, making my feet hurt after awhile. And I prefer to clean windows that are right in front of me, so I have stand offs on all my extension ladders.

But there are some situations where only a sectional will do. I have one customer who has a two-story 12x6 atrium in the middle of his house . . . not enough room to pole it or to get an extension ladder in there. I don’t know how else I’d do it.

here’s my two cents:
I find my Gorilla multi-ladder much more versatile and usable than the sectional I used my first year of business. I can set that ladder up in some pretty tight spaces, and it isn’t limited to 2-3 foot increments of height adjustment. I don’t have huge biceps, either- so the sectional could be a real bear for me to setup vertically like in that video ;-).
I think that anyone looking to buy a new ladder should try out both types- the sectional, and the multi- in various situations, to see what will work best for them.

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Having had a chance to set up the sectionals I have to say it’s more about balance than muscle. The Werner (LG knockoff) I use requires much more muscle to set up in indoor settings. It requires a certain amount of room to unfold and there have been more and more occasions where I need to unfold it outside and them have my wife hold open the door so I can take the ladder inside. A sectional would have been a better fit in those cases. I think as window cleaners we need to use a variety of ladders and sectionals are definitely a must buy on my list now.

Hey Rob,
So you don’t like your sectionals? My guess is you do not know how to use them the way professional window cleaners have been using them for decades. If you watched a professional using them properly you’d probably say something like “Oh I get it now.” Your comments make absolutely no sense to me. Something is wrong. Did someone with years of experience show you how to use them or are you just winging it on your own?

No, I know how to use them. I mentioned a few criticisms. Which ones do you disagree with?

Hey Rob,
You can’t use sectionals that are sticking together. They are basically IMPOSSIBLE to use efficiently if they are sticking. I used a metal file to file off some steel and loosen them up a bit so they would come apart easily the way they were originally designed to do. You simply can not move fast with sticky ladders, Rob.

Yea, I agree with that. They’ve got some oxidation on them from being dormant. They weren’t always like that. Just my set. They’re dormant because they aren’t as useful as extensions for the other reasons I mentioned. I don’t criticize sectionals as a whole for the faults of my set.

Most of the guys I know wear boots when they work with sectionals because the rungs are round.