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We received many questions from customers asking if they should buy a fibreglass or an aluminium ladder. We also have heard many people said they want to purchase a fibreglass ladder because of the assumption that fibreglass ladders are stronger and more durable than aluminium ladders.
In this article, we will explain the facts about fibreglass and aluminium ladders which will be useful for you when choosing which ladder to buy.
Fibreglass ladders are manufactured for people whose works are dealing with electricity such as electricians. Fibreglass is non-conductive to electricity so the use of fibreglass ladders can reduce the risk of getting electrocuted.
There is also a false assumption that a fibreglass ladder is lighter than an aluminium ladder. In fact, fibreglass ladders are mostly heavier than aluminium ladders. The heavier weight does not mean that fibreglass ladders are stronger and more stable. The stability of a ladder is determined by its construction such as the design of the cross braces and the foot print from stile to stile at the bottom of the ladder. A heavy ladder will actually disadvantage you when you need to carry it around especially if you have to bring your toolbox and ladder up and down the stairs.
If you are comparing ladders made from the same material, heavy ladders mean they are made from softer alloys, hence manufacturers have to use more materials to make their ladders as strong as the ones manufactured using harder alloys. In addition, the Australian Standards also require ladders to pass the tests. Therefore, ladders made from softer alloys must use more materials to meet the requirements in the Standards.
Fibreglass ladders need to be maintained regularly. The extreme UV radiation in Australia will cause the fibreglass to lose its surface’s outer layer rapidly and expose the fibre inside. You can see the visual changes when it happens such as the colour fades, the glossiness disappears and the surface becomes rough when you rub it. Your hand can also feel itchy after you touch it. Coating the fibreglass with acrylic lacquer regularly will replace the fibreglass surface’s outer layer, hence it will prolong its lifetime.
Fibreglass ladders are easier to crack compared to aluminium ladders and a tiny small crack can propagates along the fibreglass due to the frequent twisting and pressure.
Fibreglass ladders are more expensive than aluminium. Therefore, the only reason why you need to buy a fibreglass ladder is if there is an electrical hazard. If you are not working around electricity, the best choice is to buy an aluminium ladder.
If you still have questions about this topic, please contact us. We are happy to answer your questions.