If you’re looking to buy a new aluminum ladder, you might be wondering how long they last and whether they’re worth the money in the long run.
Aluminum ladders are often touted as being more durable than their fiberglass counterparts, but that doesn’t mean they won’t need to be replaced if you don’t take care of them properly.
Follow these tips to extend the life of your aluminum ladder and get the most use out of it before it has to go in the recycling bin.
- How Long Do Aluminum Ladders Last?
- Is There an Expiration Date for My Aluminum Ladder?
- Is It Safe to Use a Damaged Aluminum Ladder?
- Aluminum Ladders Age Like Wine – Are You Caring for Yours Properly, so it Lasts Longer?
- Tips to Extend the Life of Your Aluminum Ladder
- Does Aluminum Ladder Weathering Affect Its Performance Over Time or Safety Rating?
- When Should You Replace My Aluminum Ladder with A New One?
- Should You Buy an Aluminum Ladder with Paint or Powder Coat Finish, Which Will Hold up Better Over Time?
How Long Do Aluminum Ladders Last?
The average life expectancy of aluminum ladders is roughly 20 years or more.
Like most products, certain kinds last longer than others; typically, it depends on your environment and how you use them.
If you use your ladder in a professional setting that requires daily use, then it will wear down much faster than an aluminum ladder used for small-time DIY home improvement projects around the house.
There are also factors such as sunlight, moisture, and temperature extremes that can have a major impact on aluminum ladder lifespan.
And while they might be among some of the longest-lasting aluminum ladders out there, they aren’t impervious to weather damage – things like rusting or dents are still possible in ideal conditions.
Ultimately, it all comes down to two main considerations when choosing which type of aluminum ladder to purchase – personal preference and durability over time.
Is There an Expiration Date for My Aluminum Ladder?
Most people think that aluminum ladders have an expiration date and should be replaced every year or two, but that’s just not true.
Aluminum ladders last for a very long time as long as they are maintained properly. The only reason you should replace your ladder is if it gets damaged, which means someone accidentally dropped it or ran over it with a truck (or something like that).
In most cases, aluminum ladders can be used safely for years to come.
Related: Aluminum or Fiberglass Ladder?
Is It Safe to Use a Damaged Aluminum Ladder?
Aluminum ladders are commonly used for home improvement and construction jobs, but if you use a damaged ladder, you risk serious injury.
A damaged aluminum ladder can be unsafe to use because it might not hold up under your weight or that of anyone else on it.
If you have doubts about how safe a damaged aluminum ladder is, don’t use it. Seek professional help instead.
Aluminum Ladders Age Like Wine – Are You Caring for Yours Properly, so it Lasts Longer?
New aluminum ladders are easy to recognize because they’re shiny and look brand new.
As time goes on, though, even a high-quality aluminum ladder will eventually develop a darker look. This is perfectly normal – these ladders age just like wine – but it’s important to know how to care for your ladder properly to prolong its life.
If you haven’t treated yours well, don’t worry; you can bring back that original shine. It will take some work – but it’s worth the effort if you want your aluminum ladder to last as long as possible. Read on to learn how!
Tips to Extend the Life of Your Aluminum Ladder
You can extend your aluminum ladder’s life by simply taking a few precautions.
Look for Cracks
Be sure to inspect your ladder before and after each use, making sure it is free of dents or cracks.
Don’t Leave an Aluminum Ladder Outside
Never leave an aluminum ladder outside – even if it’s in a garage or shed – for long periods as it will be exposed to humidity and may rust.
Aluminum ladders should never be stacked on top of one another either. When not in use they should be stored flat against a wall or other upright object.
You should also wash your aluminum ladder periodically with soapy water and avoid painting or treating it with lacquer; doing so will compromise its strength.
When transporting or storing aluminum ladders, make sure there is enough space around them (about 8 inches) so that no damage occurs while in transit.
Learn Before Using
It’s always a good idea to test-run any new aluminum ladder before using it – or at least get familiar with how exactly it operates to ensure that you can safely work with it.
Look for Markings
Finally, be sure to look for an aluminum ladder with markings that indicate how much weight it can hold; these figures may vary from model to model but typically range from 250 pounds to 500 pounds.
Does Aluminum Ladder Weathering Affect Its Performance Over Time or Safety Rating?
Aluminum ladders are among the most frequently used types of ladders today for good reasons.
These tools allow for more versatility than wooden ladders and can be much lighter in weight than fiberglass or other materials.
But, how long do aluminum ladders last? In some cases, an aluminum ladder can last a lifetime – but there are certain situations where weathering can affect its performance and safety rating over time.
For example, if an aluminum ladder is left out in heavy rain or snow without being stored in a shed or garage; or if it’s left outside during particularly harsh winters when temperatures drop below freezing; then you might find that your ladder doesn’t perform as well after several years of use as it did when you first purchased it.
There are also plenty of aluminum ladders on the market today that aren’t designed to withstand exposure to saltwater, so if you live near a sea coast where significant amounts of salt spray end up getting blown onto exposed ladders each year, then those aluminum ladders may not last nearly as long either.
We have professional aluminum technicians at our full-service locations across North America who offer regular maintenance services to help prolong their lifespan and keep them functioning safely while they’re in use on job sites each day.
When Should You Replace My Aluminum Ladder with A New One?
The answer to that question all depends on how much you use your ladder.
With proper care, aluminum ladders can last for 10 years or more. There are no specific guidelines, but keep in mind that aluminum ladders aren’t built to last forever, and they do wear out over time.
Metal fatigue is one of the main things, so inspect your ladder regularly to ensure it’s safe and in good condition to use.
Of course, there are other factors you should consider.
For example, if you live in an area with high salt-to-water ratios (which can lead to corrosion), aluminum ladders will eventually start to show signs of deterioration.
If that happens early enough, getting a new one might be beneficial. If not, then continue using your ladder with regular inspections until it fails.
Should You Buy an Aluminum Ladder with Paint or Powder Coat Finish, Which Will Hold up Better Over Time?
Aluminum ladders are great because they’re lightweight and easy to store when not in use.
However, these ladders can be scratched or damaged easily if you’re not careful. Since aluminum ladders don’t last forever, here are some things to consider before buying one.
Prefer Powder-coated One
Buy a ladder with a powder coat finish instead of a painted finish. Powder coat is much more durable than paint, which can scratch off over time.
That said, even powder-coated aluminum ladders aren’t going to last as long as steel ladders since aluminum isn’t nearly as tough as steel.
Look for Lifetime Warranty
Get something that comes with an unconditional lifetime guarantee.
This way, you know it will hold up or at least that the manufacturer believes it will hold up no matter what happens.
There are plenty of aluminum models out there with lifetime guarantees; just make sure you get one of those.
It may cost you a little bit more upfront, but it will save you money down the road.
If aluminum doesn’t work for your situation, consider looking into fiberglass ladders. They won’t weigh down your pocketbook (and break) quite so much!
Aluminum ladders have been used for many years and continue to be a valuable asset in residential and commercial settings.
While their lifespan may depend on how often they are used, owners can expect these ladders to last for up to five years of daily use.
Whether you own an aluminum step ladder or a fixed ladder, make sure you’re properly caring for it by storing it in a dry area, away from extreme temperatures.
Joseph is the owner of LadderGeek. He is a home remodeling enthusiast. He has created this blog to share some of his knowledge on Ladder and accessories.