You put a lot of thought into how to get the best use and lifespan out of your tools – to keep your extension ladder performing well for many years, you might want to know how to store an extension ladder in the garage. This is definitely something that is easier said than done – here’s why.
What You'll Learn Today
What is the Best Way to Store a Ladder That is Not in Use?
Extension ladders are valuable tools, regardless of whether you’re just a typical homeowner who needs to hang Christmas lights on his eaves once each year or a professional contractor who uses his ladder every single day.
Whether you’re hopping on a ladder to change a bulb or to do some painting, having an extension ladder that’s in tiptop shape is vital.
Leave your ladder out on the front lawn, and it’s going to become rusted, corroded, and damaged in no time. Plus, it will be a tripping hazard that gets in the way every time you attempt to move around it.
Because of this, knowing how to store your ladder when you aren’t using it is essential.
Priority number one is getting your ladder up and off the floor.
Most people store their ladders in garages or tool sheds. If you don’t have either of these options available to you, you can always stash it in an unused room, a basement, an attic, or some other out-of-the-way place.
That said, storing an extension ladder in the garage is by far the best option. Your latter will be out of the way but right there – and easy to find – when and if you need it.
How Do You Store a Ladder in a Garage?
There are a few different ways you can store your ladder in the garage. Here are some of the best.
Use Ladder Hooks
Ladder storage hooks are meant to be screwed into the walls or ceiling of your garage. They are quite simple, with many coming with all the hardware you need to get your ladder put up.
Depending on the shape of the hook and the size of your ladder, you can use either one hook or two that are placed a few inches apart. The ladder hooks tend to be L-shaped or close to it, often with extra cornerpieces meant to stabilize the ladder and keep it securely in place.
This is a great way to store your extension ladder if you want to keep it in its smallest state (and completely non-extended).
The beauty of using ladder hooks to store a ladder is that you don’t have to hang them level – you can hang your ladder on an angle, if you’d like.
Try Overhead Hooks
Though similar to regular ladder hooks, overhead ladder hooks offer the benefit of additional space savings in a small garage. These can make it a bit more challenging to reach your ladder, but if your garage is already filled to the brim with other gear (or your vehicles), then overhead hooks are a great idea.
These U-shaped hooks are meant to be mounted to the ceiling of the garage. If you’re tall enough to reach them – or can keep a step stool nearby – this is the way to go in terms of space-saving capabilities.
Using a pulley system is another option to help you store your ladder out of the way. Here’s how it works.
You’ll hook or tie your ladder to the pulley, which can be manual or automated. With an automated pulley, you’ll push a button, while with a manual one, you will pull on a rope to draw the ladder toward the ceiling. It goes up and out of the way until you need it again – it’s as simple as that!
Where Do You Hang an Extension Ladder in a Garage?
You can hang your ladder anywhere in the garage by using the ladder hooks we told you about before.
If you have plenty of space available, hanging your ladder on an unused wall is the most convenient option. That way, it will be easily accessible whenever you need it. That said, it also takes up a lot of prime real estate that could be used for other gear or tools.
If space is on the tight side, you may want to consider the overhead hanging options we told you about. You can also mount your ladder vertically behind the normal entrance door of your garage. You aren’t going to be able to use that “dead space” for much else anyway – hanging an extension ladder there is a smart choice.
Other DIY Extension Ladder Storage Ideas
There are a few other ladder storage ideas you can try.
One idea is to make a new overhead storage area in the garage. Install multiple boards that hang down, then encase them, making a separate storage area that is suspended from the ceiling.
This is a good option or garage owners with drop ceiling alternatives – drop ceilings generally can’t handle anything more than light tiles and lights.
Here is a quick video that includes free plans so you can build your own overhead storage area in the garage. It can be used for storing your extension ladder along with all other kinds of gear!
You’ll need to keep building codes in mind and it is a somewhat challenging project to tackle if you don’t have much home improvement experience.
However, it’s a good way to provide yourself with room to store rakes, pipes, and other tough-to-store equipment out of the way.
General Tips for Ladder Storage
There are a few other things to keep in mind when you store your ladder in the garage.
First, don’t attempt to hang your ladder from a wall or ceiling without first inspecting the existing infrastructure. Take a look at the wood on the roof of your garage, for instance- how sturdy are the beams?
If the beams are made of older wood that hasn’t been treated, there’s a likelihood that the weight of the ladder could cause the beam to splinter.
Always mount hooks from studs. This will provide additional support and is essential, especially for heavy ladders.
Don’t hang ladders from the ceiling if they’re overly heavy. Not only can this damage your ladder when it comes crashing to the ground, but it can damage whatever is underneath, too. You have to make sure the hooks and whatever the hooks are mounted to can support the weight of whatever you’re hanging.
Know exactly how heavy your ladder is before you try to hang it – don’t just estimate. The average extension ladder can weigh anywhere between 30 lbs to 126 lbs, with fiberglass ladders being much heavier than aluminum ones.
Finally, if you decide to hang your extension ladder from the ceiling, do yourself a favor and measure everything first. It would be awful to go through all the effort of hanging the ladder, only to find out that you bump your head on the ladder every time you walk beneath it!
And if the ladder will be hanging too high for you to reach? Just attach a 2×4 of the necessary length from the garage ceiling and then attach your hooks to those boards.
Easy peasy! Can you store something else in your garage? Mattress, for example? Yes, here’s how.