5 Best Ladders for Painting 2-Story House

what size ladder for painting 2 story house

Painting the exteriors of your 2 story house can be daunting—but hiring someone else to do it can be quite expensive. Still, that doesn’t mean painting your house becomes any easier just because you’re saving money—especially if you’re scared of heights.

But what if I told you that painting your house doesn’t have to be a chore? With the right equipment, you can get the job done quickly and efficiently. Sure, it will still be work, but you can actually have fun doing it when you cut out all the unnecessary steps.

The first step to doing that is getting the right equipment. And perhaps nothing is more important in this regard than getting the right painting ladder.

That’s right—the ladder you choose for repainting the exteriors and high walls can make or break your job. The good news is that finding the right size for your project isn’t any more difficult. In fact, I’ve put together all the information you’ll need to buy one. So, let’s get into all those details without any delay.

Best Ladders for Painting Jobs

From repairing roofs to cleaning gutters, housework often requires ladders. And if you’ve got the wrong one, you could find yourself on the wrong side of a dangerous fall.

Typically, for prepping and painting a two-story house, an aluminum extension ladder that ranges from 20 to 24 feet (over 7 meters) in length is needed. But you will also need an additional smaller one for jobs like painting trim or reaching tight spaces, usually around 6 to 8 feet in height. These smaller ladders offer maneuverability and flexibility in tackling areas where the larger extension ladder might be too cumbersome.

Don’t end up flat on your back just because you chose the wrong ladder for your job. With the below-mentioned great ladders, you can make your next project the best one yet.

1- Louisville Extension Ladder FE3216

Louisville Ladder FE3216 Foot Extension Ladder, 16...
  • NON-CONDUCTIVE: Crafted with fiberglass for non-conductive safety...
  • MAXLOCK RUNG LOCK: Engineered with your safety in mind, custom...
  • QUICKLATCH SYSTEM: Seamlessly offers a straightforward and intuitive...

*Last update on 2024-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Extension ladders are your average, stereotypical ladders that can be extended for a greater reach of a 2 story building, ensuring thorough coverage and a professional finish. With the right attention to detail, you can use one to safely paint your entire house exterior including walls and even hard-to-reach areas like eaves and gables.

If you do want to get an incredible extension ladder, the Louisville Ladder FE3216 is about as good as it comes. What really sets it apart from other extension ladders is its emphasis on safety. This ladder goes the extra mile by having swiveling safety shoes attached to the bottom which gives it a firmer grip on the ground, making it safer for you as you use it.

But that’s not all, its latch rungs are safe and secure—and don’t take long to latch. This helps you stay safe as you are working. Also, because the rails are made from fiberglass, you won’t have to worry about them conducting any electricity and knocking you off.

The main drawback to extension ladders is that they don’t have an A-frame. Also, because of their design, you may not always have the best angle to use them. This means they must be leaning against a wall or other surface in order to be useful. This can make it difficult to stand on them and get the job done.

Furthermore, Louisville Ladder FE3216 doesn’t have a very high maximum weight capacity. It can only support up to 300 pounds, so be careful not to exceed this limit when working. Despite this, it still proves to be more than strong enough for most people who are going to use it.

What I LikeWhat I Didn’t Like
• Durable
• Nonconductive rails
• Steel swivel safety shoe
• Lock with a quick latch system
• Comfortable D-shaped rungs
• Available in varying heights to choose
• Comparatively heavy
• Less weight capacity
• Shipping damage issues

2- Little Giant Multi-Position Ladder 15422-001

Little Giant Ladder Systems, Velocity with Wheels, M22,...
  • Multi-position ladder converts to A-frame, extension,...
  • Rock Lock adjusters quickly alter your ladder into different...
  • Tip & Glide wheels for easy transport from job to job

*Last update on 2024-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Articulating ladders are truly for the twenty-first century. Want a step ladder you can step on? Simply unfold your ladder and put it into an A-configuration. Need a little extra height? Extend it so that you can start reaching higher places.

So, whether you’re painting outside and need a little more reach or on the inside and want a more stable way to paint up the staircase, articulating ladders can fold out to suit your needs.

Keep in mind, however, that some articulating ladders are better than others. Little Giant is a famed ladder-making company that has one of the best-articulating ladders on the market. Their Multi-Use 15422-001 model proves to be one of the best on the market—reaching up to 19 feet.

What’s more, it allows you to get extremely close to the walls you’re working on because of its 90-degree design. This makes your job easier while giving you the added support you need to stay safe.

Even better, because you can adjust the height, it can be used as a staircase of sorts to bring you higher and higher up as you work. Because locking the ladder into place when you extend it is very easy and simple to do, you won’t have to worry about it collapsing under you. This gives you the peace of mind of knowing that you’re working safely—improving your accuracy and efficiency as you work.

Its main drawback is one that you’ll find with other articulating ladders. Because of its height and the number of different functions it can perform, it does carry a bit extra weight—twenty-one whole pounds of it. This can make them a bit difficult to use when going around the house, but when one considers the stability and vast number of other functions they can perform, this doesn’t seem to be unreasonable.

What I LikeWhat I Didn’t Like
• Wide-flared legs
• Easy on stairs as well
• Can be extended up to 19-foot
• Unmatched stability and durability
• Palm & hinge system-triple-locking hinge
• Heavy
• Difficult to use

3- Louisville Step Ladder L-3016-06

Louisville Ladder L-3016-06 Step Stepladder, 6-Feet
  • Full channel fiberglass, non-conductive full channel red fiberglass...
  • Wide back braces, vertically mounted U-shaped back braces spaced on...
  • Inside spreader braces, each step secured with semi-tubular steel...

*Last update on 2024-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What makes step ladders so special is that they don’t really have a stand-out feature. Instead, they prove to be great for a variety of different purposes. And while this means they don’t have any strong benefits in one certain area, it also means they don’t have significant drawbacks, either.

One of the greatest benefits of step ladders for painters is that they can be folded up for easier carrying and storage, making them a great choice for those who are looking to save space while also using a dependable ladder.

Even better, step ladders are fairly common and familiar to most, making them a safe and traditional option. Because of their A-frame with a platform on top, they provide a little room to work, which also increases its stability.

That being said, it’s important to remember that the platform found on a step ladder is nowhere near the size of those found on platform ladders. If you’re looking to maximize platform space, consider going with a platform ladder instead (mentioned just below).

The Louisville Ladder L-3016-06 model proves to be one of the most popular on the market. It boasts a strong, sturdy frame that never shakes or bends and with beautiful fiberglass rails that add to its strength and durability.

What’s more, its slip-resistant surface helps ensure that you don’t fall while working, and its pinch-resistant spreader helps keep your fingers out of harm. Just be mindful, however, that this package does come in at about twenty pounds—a weight we think is well worth it.

What I LikeWhat I Didn’t Like
• 6 Feet
• 300 lbs capacity
• Nonconductive rails
• Slip-resistant rubber feet
• Molded top with handyman slots
• Sturdy, safe, and heavy-duty construction
• Bit heavy

4- Flip-N-Lite Platform Ladder 15270-001

Little Giant Ladder Systems Flip N Lite 6 Foot 300...
  • Comfortable standing platform makes the Flip-N-Lite ideal for...
  • Extra-wide rungs prevent foot fatigue
  • Lightweight aluminum step ladder is easy to transport, set up and take...

*Last update on 2024-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Platform painting ladders come complete with an A-configuration with a large platform on top—giving you room to stand and put your tools. This makes them incredibly useful, stable, comfortable, and the safest options for all types of paint projects.

If you’re looking for a platform ladder, you can’t go wrong with the Flip-N-Lite 15270-001 model. It’s most commonly used when the painting project requires that one stands in the same spot for an extended length of time.

It’s easy to open and fold, allowing you to quickly set it up when it’s time to work—and to fold it up and save space when the job is done. And because you have enough room to maneuver and use your tools, it gives you the space you need to stay safe.

In addition, because of its ingenious construction, the entire ladder weighs less than fifteen pounds. That’s right—this strong, sturdy ladder can be easily carried around so that you can get the most out of your project.

The only drawback with this ladder is you can get only up to six feet of height. While it may not cover all aspects of painting a two-story house, it’s valuable for addressing specific intricate tasks where precision and access to moderate heights are crucial.

It gives you the reach you need to work on some of the most complicated tasks like painting window trim, touching up siding details, or addressing areas near the roofline that are within the six-foot range. For higher reaches, such as the upper sections of walls or peaks, a taller extension ladder would be necessary.

What I LikeWhat I Didn’t Like
• Lightweight
• Tall handrail
• Handy tool tray
• Easy to open, close, and store
• Huge, secure standing platform
• Heavy duty with ANSI duty rating
• Wobbly

5- Ohuhu 12.5 FT Telescopic Lightweight Ladder

Aluminum Telescoping Ladder, Ohuhu Upgraded 12.5 FT...
  • One Button Retraction: Convenience is key! That’s why we’ve...
  • America National Standards Type I Ladder: Ohuhu extension ladder has...
  • More Than 60% Overlapping: This collapsible ladder is crafted from...

*Last update on 2024-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Telescopic ladders are popular among professionals and DIY enthusiasts due to their versatility and convenience. These ladders can be extended or collapsed, much like a telescope.

They typically consist of multiple sections that slide within each other. When fully collapsed, they are compact and easy to transport or store. When extended, they provide the necessary height for various tasks such as painting, cleaning gutters, or accessing high shelves.

The biggest drawback is that their thin frame and design can often raise red flags in terms of safety. With these ladders, you’ll need to securely lock each rung into place in order to maintain any extension—this makes user ability a much greater factor in determining safety. One small mistake can make your painting project much more dangerous than before.

That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t safe options on the market. Ladder-making company Ohuhu, for instance, is known for its safe and effective telescopic ladders. Their Ohuhu 12.5 FT Telescopic Lightweight Ladder is one such example.

Made from aluminum, this incredible ladder extends as high as 12.5 feet, making it one of the most useful ladders on my list. It’s not only portable and lightweight but also carries a number of different safety features so that you can enjoy a safe climb and a resounding peace of mind.

What I LikeWhat I Didn’t Like
• Sturdy & light
• One button retraction
• Easy to open, close, and use
• Made of premium aluminum alloy
• Non-slip end caps and extra-wide steps
• Not very durable

Considerations When Buying a Painting Ladder?

The best ladders all share certain qualities—it’s just they specialize in different areas. Finding the right one for your project will therefore require considering these categories and seeing how they relate to your project.

For example, if it’s only painting or repairing the high exterior walls of your 2-story house, getting an extension ladder that can go very tall will suffice your needs.

But if you want better support and stability, like for plastering, tiling, or other construction work, you should consider investing in scaffolding specifically designed for exterior painting and construction.

When choosing an effective ladder for painting your house, you should essentially consider the following…

1- Stability

Picture it: it’s a clear day. The sun is shining, a breeze is blowing, and you’re painting your house.

Everything’s going perfectly until a strong gust comes in and knocks your ladder over. That’s a scenario that I hope you never have to experience. And I am sure you don’t want it to happen to you, either.

That’s why the stability of your ladder is so important – the more stable your ladder is, the more easily and safely you can navigate while painting. This gives you the flexibility to give your multi-story house the perfect coating—and the confidence that you won’t fall while doing the job.

2- Height

Next, you’ll need to ensure the ladder is high enough for your 2-3 story house paint project.

It seems obvious enough, but you’d be surprised that many people find out too late that their ladder isn’t quite up for the job. You can avoid this by having a specific measurement for your ladder upfront.

For a 2-story house, you will mostly need a straight ladder size of 24 feet or an extension ladder of 28 feet tall. This will ensure that no matter the brand you choose, you’ll be able to get the perfect fit for your house-painting project.

House-StoriesExtension ladder size
2-story house28 feet
3-story house36 feet
4-story house45 feet

When it comes to extension ladders, you will have to select a ladder that is 7 to 10 feet longer than the expected contact point of the surface you’ll use it on.

Moreover, the recommended standing level of an extension ladder is four steps below the top. So, my advice is to always test a ladder before purchasing it.

3- Weight and Material

To cut down on the hassle of painting your house, consider getting a sturdy ladder that doesn’t weigh a whole lot. Trust me—this will make it much easier as you take your ladder around the house to paint.

But the factor that affects the stability, strength, and weight capacity of your ladder is the material it’s made of. Obviously, the stronger the ladder, the more weight it can hold. For this reason, consider getting an aluminum ladder. Aluminum boasts high durability while being relatively low in weight.

However, keep in mind that the main downside of having an aluminum ladder is that aluminum is an electricity conductor. This means you can’t use such ladders in all types of spaces. It should never be installed on electrical projects or areas near electrical lines or voltage sources.

Fiberglass is therefore recommended, especially when painting near electrical units, as it can’t conduct electricity when dry. Besides, such ladders stand out due to their durability and ability to withstand much damage.

That said, there are plenty of fiberglass ladder manufacturers that include metal fasteners in their designs, which makes those ladders unsuitable for electrical projects or areas near voltage sources. So, if you plan to use the ladder for electrical purposes, make sure it’s made entirely of fiberglass and doesn’t include any metal parts.

4- Ladder Duty Rating

When it’s about deciding how much is the maximum weight a specific ladder can handle, it’s defined in terms of the duty rating or load capacity rating of a ladder.

Simply speaking, ladder duty rating is a measure of the maximum amount of weight that a specific ladder can handle without getting it down. This generally depends on the ladder type, the material it is made of, its size, and various other factors.

In general, the ladder duty ratings are categorized into five by the American Ladder Institute and American National Standards Institute (ANSI). These are:

TypeMaximum LoadUsage
IAA – Extra Heavy Duty375 lbs.High-impact industrial use
IA – Extra Heavy Duty300 lbs.High-impact industrial use
I – Heavy Duty250 lbs.Industrial applications
II – Medium Duty225 lbs.Commercial painter, handyman, etc.
III – Light Duty200 lbs.General household

When purchasing a painting ladder, it’s good to use the weight of the heaviest individual that will be using the ladder. Make sure you also count the weight of the construction or paint supplies that will need to be carried while using the ladder.

However, ensure you’re not letting the strength of the ladder conflict with its weight. Try to find the best combination of strength and weight to maximize productivity.

5- Portability and Price

Many homeowners and painters consider renting a ladder rather than buying one – even when it comes at a fraction of the cost of what they will pay as rent. This is because they do not have extra space for storing it after finishing the paint job.

With a compact design and easy-to-carry handle, today’s ladders are highly adjustable as well as convenient to store and transport. If you choose to pick carefully from these varieties, you can even store them under a bed, in a closet, or in the trunk of your car.

At last, you don’t want to go over budget when choosing a ladder for painting your house – the good news is that you shouldn’t have to. With several quality ladders on the market for a great price, you can have your pick.

What kind of ladder is best for painting over stairs?

To ensure safe use of a ladder on stairs, it’s crucial for the rear legs of the ladder to be at a shorter angle than the front legs. This setup provides stability and prevents the ladder from tipping over.

A step ladder is particularly well-suited for working on uneven surfaces like stairs, offering superior support, sturdiness, and security for painters. Additionally, in situations where a full ladder isn’t necessary, a step stool can be a safer alternative for painting your stairs and stairwell. It provides adequate height while minimizing the risk of accidents.

Remember that using a ladder for painting hall stairs and landing can be a bit of a tricky task. So, it’s important that you follow all the safety measures and tips before you use them. Some of them include the following:

  • Place the ladder firmly on the stair
  • Do not ever wear slippery shoes or sandals
  • Do not put the legs of a ladder at the step edge
  • Properly stabilize your ladder using the Stabilizer tool on a ladder

The stabilizer tool is a wide tubular accessory with non-skid rubber pads. It can be joined to the top of an extension ladder to boost stability. Also, it is an excellent addition for those working next to windows, eaves, or high walls.

best ladders for painters

Safety Recommendations When Using a Ladder for Painting

Now that we have discussed (nearly everything) about painters’ ladders, let’s not forget the precautions and safety tips when using them for interior or exterior house painting.

So, the following ladder safety recommendations should always be followed:

a). If you’re using an extension ladder, check the locking mechanism before climbing. A safe ladder should have no cracks, bends, or lose bolts and rivets.

Also, check the non-skid caps at the bottom of your ladder are functional and don’t have any damage that might impact their functionality.

b). Check the steps of the ladder you are using are clean. Oil, dirt, debris, etc., on the steps of the ladder, can reduce friction and can be a reason for unfortunate accidents. You better clean the ladder before you use it.

c). Follow the 3-point rule, stating that your body, hand, and foot should always be positioned on the ladder at all times.

d). Do not carry excess paint than needed when you are climbing the ladder. When up on a ladder and want to hold your paint bucket, use a “ladder hook for paint can” or a “holder hook hanger” that allows you to work freely.

e). Always use safety gear (such as a sturdy harness, non-slip footwear, and a hard hat) if you’re planning to use the ladder to work at 10 feet (or above) off the ground.

f). Follow the 4 to 1 rule which states that a ladder should be positioned at least one foot (or four rungs) away from a wall or object per every foot of the ladder it climbs. It’s recommended as an essential safety measure to eliminate the risk of slipping or even deadly accidents.

The main benefit of using the 4-to-1 rule is improved stability while climbing since the ladder’s base will be farther from the wall and allow for more balance. This also allows for better spacing between you and what you are working on, providing you more room to move around and complete the task efficiently.

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