A roof ladder hook allows you to affix your ladder temporarily to the roof and can reduce your likelihood of falling especially when working on extremely pitched roofs.
The good news is that you can always make a functional roof ladder hook at home if you’re a fan of DIY stuff and save money while at it -prices for a single roof ladder hook range around $25 to $100 online.
If that sounds like the real deal, here is how to make a roof ladder hook to pair with your ladder for more peace of mind when going up any steep roof.
How to Make a Roof Ladder Hook- Complete Tutorial
This tutorial will introduce you to the simplest approach to use to make roof ladder hooks that you’ll be using to secure your extending roof ladder.
The end product works as well as the roof ladder hooks you can purchase from your local store when climbing onto a roof for jobs such as re-shingling, cleaning clogged gutters, and more.
How to make a roof ladder hook- preliminaries
While it’s not a really tough thing to construct, you need to have all the essentials to make the task smoother.
Here is what you require for this project:
a) A piece of steel (should be sufficiently long)
We recommend steel over other metals because it’s much stronger. Of course, you want to build hooks that will be sturdy enough to support even a heavy-duty ladder.
b) Pieces of wood (2) or boards
Once joined (in our first step), the two will help us shape the hooks. Note that these need not be that long as we only require their help in establishing the right shaping angle.
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c) A blow torch
The powerful flame from this fuel-burning tool will be very handy when shaping and bending the steel a little bit later.
d) A pair of tongs (or metal clamps)
You’ll be using either of these accessories to hold the metal when shaping it at various points.
How to make roof ladder hook- step by step
Step 1: Join the 2 pieces of wood at a 45-degree angle
Pick up the wood pieces and put them together (the ends should be cut at 45 degrees). It is important to cut at very precise angles (use a miter saw for this) as it ensures maximum contact along the two cut faces on either piece of wood.
Apply wood glue to your newly made joint then drive in finish nails/brads/screws through to secure it.
We suggest that you use a woodworking clamp (if available) to hold the two wood blocks tightly together during the operation for a super strong wood joint.
If happy with the strength of the joined structure, proceed to step 2.
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Step 2: Set the wooden structure on a workbench in a V position
Next, grab your wood structure and place it on a working bench with the “V” facing upside down.
Also, make sure that the V points straight up while in this position.
Step 3: Shape the hooks
To be able to shape the hooks appropriately, first lay the piece of steel up along one side of your wood structure. Now you can grab your blow torch and start to heat the steel up.
Exercise caution here because blow torches can develop flame temperatures as high as 2610 °F(1430 °C) so it’s easy to suffer burns when heating the metal. That said, you want to heat the steel until it’s hot enough to bend.
Hold the metal with your tongs and start shaping it to form a hook shape as soon as you notice it’s adequately hot. Work on it – be sure to reheat it if necessary- up to the time you create a hook that is sized and shaped to fit perfectly around the width of your roof while leaving some wiggle room.
Step 4: Cooling
Let the steel – which is now hook-shaped on one end cool down properly before moving on.
Step 5: Construct the handles
Needless to say, the handles help the roof ladder hook grip on the roof more strongly further enhancing the stability of your ladder.
This step is pretty much flexible and you can use your creativity to invest in a unique design for the handles as long as they will add that extra layer of security.
In our case, we will take the easier route- there is no need to overcomplicate things having come this far.
Here is how to quickly build handles for your roof ladder hook:
a) Heat the hook
Light your blow torch again and heat the end/tip of the hook.
b) Form the handle
Proceed to twist the hot end to forge a handle that is in your desired shape.
c) Test and modify
Take a glance and reheat and rework the handle (if necessary) until you have achieved the formation you prefer.
Voila! You have just engineered your own roof ladder hook to minimize the risk of an embarrassing fall at home or worksite.
How to make roof ladder hook- useful tips
a) Be careful with the dimensions
If possible, measure the edge of the roof at the very beginning. This will give you a more accurate idea about the ideal dimensions for your roof ladder hook to ensure the most secure fit.
Tip: Most roof ladder hooks on sale online and offline are typically 6 to 8” long so you can start from there.
b) Add rubber grips
Consider adding protective rubber grips on the end of the hook. It’s not a difficult step and it helps guard your roof shingles against likely damage by the ‘naked’ hook end.
There’s no need to waste money on store-bought roof ladder hooks when you can easily make one yourself using readily-available household items.
Follow the 5 straightforward steps above to make a solid roof ladder hook that will prevent your ladder from slipping outwards or sideways and falling, landing you embarrassingly on the ground -or in the emergency room.
Keep in mind that you should always use fall protection in accordance with your local, state, and OSHA regulations so it’s important to familiarize yourself with them before you undertake the project.
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References and Citations:
eHow by Leafy Group: How to Hoist a Roof Ladder to the Roof- https://www.ehow.co.uk/how_7816322_hoist-roof-ladder-roof.html