Refinishing a wood extension ladder.

Messages
9,124
Location
Illinois
I have my Dad's old 24' wood extension ladder, using it to hang Christmas lights on my house. He was an electrician for 30+ years, and I'm sure that this ladder helped him make thousands of dollars along the way. But it needs help. The ladder is as solid as can be, but the finish is 98% gone. You can see on the insides of the uprights, where it was either varnished or lacquered at one point... probably when it was new. What do I do? To me, this is a great opportunity, as very little of the old finish exists. Just start varnishing it with an outdoor grade varnish? Polyurethane? Spar urethane? Should I thin the first coat to get it to really soak in?
 
Messages
35,818
Location
NY
Sand it down real well to remove the old finish and clean it. Unless you're looking to make the ladder look pretty I would skip the varnish. I'd use something like Thompson's Water Seal on the side rails and put nothing on the steps.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
46,293
Location
New Jersey
My first thought is to sand the whole thing a bit, then apply spar urethane to the whole ladder, maybe 2-3 coats, and then take some 100-ish grit sandpaper and rough up the rungs a bit. Id then test them with a wet boot, and if it seems slippery Id rough it more or put another coat on the rungs with some sand thrown on for grip.
 
Messages
35,818
Location
NY
Originally Posted By: OVERKILL
One could also spar the entire ladder and then apply some thin "grip pads" on the tops of the rungs.
If I were to coat the rungs that is exactly what I would do.
 
Top