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Step out to hit the top; Home DIY.

YOU won't get far doing DIY, either inside or out, without a ladder - or two.

A decent stepladder is particularly essential and you'll find yourself using it constantly, whether you're painting, wallpapering, doing general maintenance or even just cleaning off a cobweb.

When buying a stepladder, opt for a lightweight aluminium one with a small platform and a handrail at the top, which enables you to hang on when working on the top rungs.

Even if you're only up it for a second, the stepladder should always be opened fully, so it locks in place, and shouldn'twobble when you're on it.

For many jobs, you'll find having two stepladders useful. You can then put a length of scaffold board, which you can buy or hire, between the two stepladders, giving you a makeshift platform.

This is more convenient than having just one ladder and constantly having to move it.

The important thing when using any ladder is that it's level and square and on a firm surface (use a board outside if the ground's soft).

Ladders used outside should also be anchored with a sandbag (or rope) at the bottom and secured with rope at the top.

If you're at all unhappy about working on the ladder, get someone to hold it as well.

Your local hire shop should stock a wide range of ladders and will be able to advise you about the best one for a particular job.

As with anything, if you're in any doubt about working safely on a ladder, get a professional in instead.

Top tip

WHEN buying a ladder, don't scrimp on quality because you'll be spending a lot of time up it and you need it to be safe and durable. Ladders aren't cheap and you don't want to be replacing them every couple of years, so go for a good make from a reputable r etailer.

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ON THE WAY UP... how to find the ladder for you.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Sep 7, 2007
Words:327
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