Austen Group Ltd T/A Alton Ladders
Austen Group Ltd T/A Alton Ladders
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    Find the answers to all your specialist ladder questions from our experts!

Frequently Asked Questions

Help and advice on how to use our specialist ladders and which ladders you should choose for your requirements. 


Window cleaners ladders with special rubber pads at the top of the ladder are the only ladders you should put up against a window. If you don’t have a window cleaners ladder, buy some Ladder Pads. However, you need to take care as your window may not take the combined weight of your ladder and you. Always, where possible, rest your ladder against something solid like a brick wall or, maybe, consider using a scaffold tower to give you greater freedom, without having to stretch or lean more than is safe to do so.

No, the Working at Height Regulations (WAHR) only apply to industrial and trade users. However, the regulations do provide good practice that DIYers can follow, e.g., using ladder stand-offs and LadderMats to make your ladder more secure.

There should always be a minimum 3-rung overlap between sections for safety reasons.

Class 2 was replaced by the European standard for trade ladders EN131.

No. The new professional standard EN131-2 does not allow for an extension ladder to be separated into single sections. This is for health and safety reasons to stop a ladder section being used without a stabiliser.

Guttering is not strong enough to support the weight of a ladder and the person using it. This applies to both plastic and metal guttering. If you fix a ladder Stand-Off to the top of the ladder, you can then rest the ladder against the house and clear of the gutter. Then, when you climb the ladder, there will no danger of breaking the guttering.

If you are planning on going onto your house roof, then fit a ladder stand-off to the top of your ladder and make sure that your ladder is at least 1m clear of the roof. Why 1m? Well think of it as a handrail that is essential for getting on and off the ladder. If you don’t have 1m clear at the top, you’ll have to crouch down to get back on the ladder which can be dangerous.

The safest way still is to get someone to “foot” the ladder. However, if this is not practical, there is a huge range of safety mats such as the LadderMat or Ladder Stopper available. These mats give excellent grip on a range of surfaces, both level and uneven. 

As a general rule of thumb you should move the ladder out 1m for every 4m up. This will give you the safest angle to work from.

Yes, but the most secure way is to use Ladder Rack Clamps. Ladder Rack Clamps are really easy to use and can be locked with a padlock for security against theft.

Combination ladders offer great value because they combine the functions of a step ladder and a ladder which means that you only need to buy one ladder. At Altonladders have a wide selection of combination ladders including the German engineered Skymaster range. We also have UK manufactured professional and trade Combination Ladders which are really strong and long lasting. Combination ladders work really well when you have to reach for a high point, but  where this is no wall to rest the ladder against. For example if you have a high ceiling with a light fitting that needs changing, a combination ladder will get you there whereas an ordinary extension ladder won’t as there is nothing to rest against.

Loft Ladders

All our timber loft ladders come complete with their own hatches.

All of our loft ladders come with either a pole or a hook to attach to the end of a pole.

You will need to measure the following: Floor to floor height; Size of your hatch opening (length x width); Vertical clearance height within the loft i.e. how much head room is there above the hatch?

As a general rule loft ladders do not need to comply with Building Regulations. However, you should always talk to your local Buildings Inspector for advice about any extensive work you are planning on doing on your home. Advice on Building Regulations seems to vary between local authorities throughout the UK. 

The short answer is no. However, all our loft ladders come with easy to follow fitting instructions, some of which are available from our download feature, which means you are able to study them before buying. Also, we are always on the end of the phone if you need any extra help or or advice. 

Step Ladders

Yes, the platform is always counted as a tread.

The handrail above the platform determines whether you can stand on the platform. With BS2037 Class 1 platform steps the handrail is sufficiently high enough for you to stand on the platform safely. But remember that you need to keep 3 points of contact to keep as safe as possible.

Electricians should always use glass fibre ladders and steps because fibreglass is an insulator and can withstand up to 25-35,000 volts. Electricians cannot use aluminium ladders in case a live wire hits the ladder, it could cause serious injury or even kill the person using it, whereas you would be insulated from getting a shock if you are on a ladder or step made from fibreglass.


The usual delivery time is three to five days from receipt of order. However, in our experience, many items arrive sooner. For urgent items,  overnight and timed delivery services are available on stocked items subject to an additional charge. 

Our carriers drivers are given our customers telephone numbers so they can call you to tell you they are coming or to confirm your address, but we’re unable to give you an exact time of delivery. Usually they deliver in the morning and pick-up returns in the afternoon.

Our carriers can deliver on a Saturday morning. Please contact us for the additional cost before you place your order..

For deliveries to mainland England, Wales & Southern Scotland delivery is included in the price you see online. For delivery to places outside these areas an additional charge will apply. Please contact us for details before placing your order.

If you leave a note asking them to, the carrier will usually leave the item as instructed.

The carrier will leave a card stating when they called and with a contact number. He will then take the item back to your local depot and await your call.


We always recommend that when you buy a ladder you should consider buying a ladder stand-off and an anti-slip laddermat. If you use both of these ladder accessories, you’ll find that your ladder is much more stable. 

A. The best and safest way to transport ladders on top of a car or van is to use ladder rack clamps.  Firstly, you won’t have to worry about roping your ladders or remembering how to tie a knot and then having the worry of your ladders falling off. Secondly, ladder rack clamps are much more secure. Thieves tend to avoid ladders that are clamped and locked to a car roof rack. It would take too long to try and steal them, whereas rope can be cut easily and a thief can run off with your ladders easily.

If you would like more details/information about the ladders, step ladders, loft ladders, or any other product we sell, send us an email at, or call our highly skilled sales staff on 0117 330 2277.

© Austen Group Ltd T/A Alton Ladders. All Rights Reserved

Registered company number: 13894109

Registered address: 5A-E Babdown Airfield, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, GL8 8YL, United Kingdom

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