Why Are FRP Ladders Better Than Wood And Aluminum?

A: FRP as compared to wood, won’t rust or corrode like the fasteners that hold that wood together. FRP would not do that, because we use 3/16” stainless steel hardware to connect the components. In regards to comparing to aluminum—FRP is non-conductive. So, it’s an excellent choice to keep your workers safe by using FRP ladders.

In most industrial workplaces, ladders are quite commonplace. They’re used to access machinery, high shelving, and other items out of arm’s reach. However, given the nature of a ladder, there is also some risk of injury involved.

This is especially true when certain safety hazards aren’t accounted for and steps aren’t taken to mitigate the risk of injury. You will find many types of ladders in the industrial workplace, with each serving a specific purpose.

FRP Industrial Ladders In The Workplace

In most developed countries, industrial ladders must be engineered to comply with strict, universal safety standards. Here in the United States, the standards are set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which puts industrial ladders into three categories based on their duty rating, and maximum weight capacity.

Type 1 ladders are intended for heavy-duty usage and must be able to hold up to 250lbs.

Type 1A bumps the weight capacity up to 300lbs.

Finally, Type 1AA is made for the toughest applications and holds up to 375lbs.

These standards apply to all industrial ladders no matter if they’re an extension, step, or mobile ladders. It also doesn’t matter what industry they’re used in. They still must follow the same standards, whether used in a warehouse, on a dock, or a commercial farm.

Ladders used in the industrial workplace also come in different variations with each having to adhere to design-specific standards as well.

Extension Ladders

Single-section extension ladders, also called straight ladders can be no higher than 30ft. However, double section variations can have a maximum height of up to 48ft. When you move up to a three-section ladder, the height is limited to 60ft.

The rungs are also standardized and must be at least 12” in width, and on two and three-section models they must have overlap stops. Stepladders that can fold out to convert to an extension ladder are called articulating ladders.

They usually are adjustable to act as stairway ladders similar to what is found in residential stepladders. The main difference is that industrial ladders must have a higher weight capacity rating than residential.


Industrial stepladders must not be higher than 20 feet and the treads at least 11.5 in wide. While they may be longer than residential and commercial models, the tread width requirement is no different. Industrial stepladders, especially 1AA-rated models, often employ extra reinforcement for treads, reinforced spreaders, and non-conductive handrails. Some even have individually adjustable legs when used on stairs or uneven terrain.

Other Types

There are other variations of industrial ladders such as mobile ladders used in warehouses which can also have casters that lock. Some varieties can be folded for storing, and some even have casters that are spring-loaded to render the ladder stationary when someone is on it. Certain varieties of these can be folded for easy storage, and some have spring-loaded casters so the ladder automatically becomes stationary when it is supporting a weight. There’s a ladder for just about every type of application and they all must follow ANSI standards.

Which Industries Use FRP Industrial Ladders?

Many different industries need ladders in their workplace such as—hospitals, schools, aeronautics, and more. However, in many high-risk applications, metal and wood ladders pose additional hazards. In these environments, hazards that are a big risk are corrosion, slip and fall, electric hazards, and more.

You will find that FRP industrial ladders correct each one of these problems due to the nature of their design. You can’t begin to understand the design of FRP ladders until you understand the material itself.

What Is FRP & Why Is It So Useful?

FRP is a material that is a composite as it’s comprised of plastic resin and thin strands of glass called “fiberglass.”  These materials on their own are not nearly as useful as they are when mixed. When they are mixed, you get what is known as Fiber-reinforced plastic—abbreviated “FRP.”

Glass fibers alone are brittle but structured and plastic resins alone are not durable enough for industrial use. When the two are mixed—the glass fibers reinforce the plastic resin which acts as a binding agent and base. These resins can be made from different types of plastics and each adds its characteristics to the final product. Some characteristics include fire resistance and anti-corrosion among others. At DEFI our FRP is manufactured in a 3-tier layered process, these layers, called laminates are comprised of:

  • Structural Layer: The base that gives FRP its signature strength and structural integrity as well as a base of temperature resistance.
  • The Chemical Barrier Layer (CBL): This layer gives FRP the chemical resistance that gives it durability against corrosives that steel can’t match.
  • Topcoat (Surface Veil): Depending on the usage of the product being created the topcoat will differ. This layer gives it characteristics to endure specific environmental conditions according to the usage. It also adds a reinforcing layer of temperature resistance.

The biggest selling point of FRP is its strength, durability, and ability to perform in any condition it’s exposed to.  When you realize just how adaptable FRP is because of its construction, it makes sense why it’s superior.

Why FRP Over Wood Or Aluminum?

When you’re choosing a building material for any ladders, no matter the type— there are factors to consider. Your engineers must make ladder material selections that not only benefit your budget but your safety and efficiency as well.

However, FRP industrial ladders check all the boxes that you could want in a reliable industrial ladder:

  • Stronger Than Aluminum But Still Lightweight
  • Non-Conductive
  • Corrosion Resistant
  • Easy To Install
  • Durable For Decades

How does it all come together to benefit both you and your end-user? Well, the truth is it makes a huge impact on all aspects of your business.

With a better safety record, you get better productivity since you don’t have a high rate of injured workers.

FRP ladders are more efficient. They make moving them from one work area to another very simple as they are lightweight.

They can also adapt to any environment that is typically harsh on wood and metal, such as:

  • Marine
  • Petroleum
  • Chemical plants
  • Waterparks

No Maintenance

Not only are FRP ladders high in durability and strength compared to aluminum and wood ladders, but they have another huge advantage.

None of the components can rot or corrode when in contact with even the harshest acids and chemicals.

This means FRP is practically maintenance-free, with no painting needed, no brushing rust off, and no replacing corroded sections. That translates into a much lower cost of ownership.

Upgrade Your Ladders With DEFI Fiberglass

Accidents derived from failed industrial ladders costs companies millions every year. You can mitigate those risks with our FRP industrial ladders from DEFI.

With decades of experience across a wide range of industries—we can build ladders better, stronger, and build them faster.

Contact us today!