“ Brand: Powerfix / Type: Telescopic Ladder „
My first experience of climbing a ladder nearly gave my parents heart failure when I shinned several feet up after a man, who was painting the exterior walls of our house. I was four years old at the time and nearly reached the top before being noticed, so I have no real fear when it comes to climbing ladders; it is the stepping off at the top that can convert my legs to jelly.
On the odd occasion that I needed a ladder bigger than my battered old stepladder, my good friend and neighbour would lend me his, a thumping great 20-foot extending ladder, said to be lightweight. For burly builders, perhaps, but not for me and far too long for me to carry Bob-the-Builder style, thus endangering the shins of any person daring to come close enough to either end.
As usual, Lidls came to the rescue and along with other tools, they frequently stock periodically each year, was the Powerfix, Heavy duty Aluminium Telescopic ladder, not to be confused with the ladder with cylindrical sides that fold right down in the same manner as a telescope.
I cannot remember the exact price I paid for it but it was around £60 two years ago. Similarly designed ladders can also be found on Amazon. I saw that Lidls were selling them again only a few weeks ago in July 2012.
The Aluminium Telescopic Ladder.
When I saw this ladder in Lidls I lifted it to find if it was a weight I could manage and although not exactly lightweight, was certainly far more manageable than the long extending ladders.
Maximum height: 4.19m (13'9")
Minimum height when folded: 1.32m (4'4")
Depth when folded: 20cm (8-inches)
Width: 37cm (14.5-inches)
Rung length: 30.5cm (12-inches)
Gap between each rung: 28cm (11-inches)
Weight: 12kg (28 lb)
Span of feet: 71cm (2.5-feet)
The whole unit consists of four ladder sections, two wide and two narrow. Large, sturdy hinges, with strong locking mechanisms, join the top ends of each narrow section. Attached to each of the free ends of the outer, wider sections is a 71cm wide foot with rubber/silicone non-slip shoes.
The wider, outer sections slide along the narrow, inner sections; hence the name telescopic ladder, so called to differentiate between it and an extending ladder which is not hinged and where the narrow ladder section slides along the inside of the wider section.
On both sides of each wide ladder section, there is a large, strongly sprung mechanism, one end of which, is held by the spring to the rung, and the other end of which, slots into one of a series of 10p size holes in the smaller ladder sections. To extend the ladder, the mechanism is pulled out of the slots, and swung to the side whilst the outer section is adjusted up or down, and then released into the corresponding slot when the desired height has been achieved.
Each section of the ladder has four, square shaped, anti-skid rungs twelve-inches long and about an inch square. The gap between each rung tread is eleven-inches.
The first configuration, when the two opposite sides are pulled apart and automatically locked into position, is that of a stepladder 124cm high, the height can be increased to 210cm by extending the outer sections. If working on two levels, like stairwells, steps or slopes, one side of the ladder can be adapted in length so that the whole unit remains upright and stable.
In order to extend the ladder, there is a lever under each hinge, which when pushed upwards, releases the locking mechanism to enable both sides of the ladder to be straightened from the stepladder configuration.
The minimum height it will reach is 251cm and the maximum height when fully extended is 419cm.
Incidentally, Powerfix have another similarly designed ladder of the same dimensions but one, which has two sets of locking hinges rather than one set, as in this design, and no sliding components.
I found this ladder, albeit still a little heavy, very much easier and less dangerous to carry than ordinary extending ladders.
I found it extremely useful for allowing me to clamber up onto the roof of my shed, and because the rung tread was wide and the unusually wide feet gave it extra stability, I felt very safe indeed especially after employing the 'belt-and-braces' safety measure by securing it to the shed with a rope. Thus ensuring it would remain firmly in position should it be accidently knocked sideways. Though I think, it would take a hefty kick to make it to tip even when not secured with rope.
As for knees turning to jelly at the thought of getting off the top of the ladder, It didn't happen, because when extended, it stretched way above the roof giving me something to hold onto when getting on and off the top rung. Had there been nothing to grasp, my legs would have jellified, of that I have no doubt.
The clip-on tool box came in very handy when I used it in stepladder configuration, all the tools I wanted to use at that height were there ready, whereas without it I would have been up and down the steps more times than a monkey up a tree.
They are still being sold at Lidl, usually in stock from Spring time.