My property-maintenance business sends me up plenty of ladders to work on gutters or to pressure-wash buildings. If you’ve ever attempted either of these tasks on a ladder, then you know how difficult it can be. In the case of pressure-washing, the work becomes dangerous because the back blast from the wand when you pull the trigger tends to make you lose your balance—not a good thing when you’re 20 ft. off the ground. Aftermarket standoffs help a little, but they’re too short because they were designed only to straddle a window for painting.
As shown in the drawing, I came up with an extended-standoff setup to distance me from the house and to make working conditions safer. Mine backs me away far enough that I can work on gutters without the ladder leaning against the gutters.
The standoff extensions shown here are simply 24-in. lengths of 2-in. PVC pipe. They slide over the arms of an aftermarket standoff that I affixed to my ladder. A single 1⁄4-in. machine bolt through each pipe extension and the standoff arms keeps the pipes from falling off when I move the ladder.
I made the fancy foam-rubber feet shown in the drawing because I wanted something permanent and because I want my work to look professional. However, a couple of old socks wrapped with duct tape would have sufficed. I made the feet out of three layers of foam from an antifatigue mat, glued together with Barge Cement. The foam feet work nicely, letting me shift the top of the ladder without leaving any marks.
Dan Broadbelt, Robesonia, PA
Edited and Illustrated by Charles Miller
From Fine Homebuilding #226