How to Repair an Extension Ladder Rope

Written by chris baylor
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How to Repair an Extension Ladder Rope
Repair a damaged pull rope to simply using a ladder. (firetruck ladder image by Tammy Mobley from

Most extension ladders are equipped with a rope that can be used to raise or lower the extension of the ladder while the user is standing on the ground. By pulling on the rope, the user can extend the ladder to the desired height before leaning the ladder against the building. If the rope is damaged, the ladder must be extended before lifting it into place, which is a much more physically demanding task.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Scissors
  • 5/16-inch nylon rope with loop
  • Cigarette lighter or matches

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  1. 1

    Lay the ladder on its side on a firm, level surface. Cut and remove the old rope, if necessary, using scissors. Inspect the pulley at the top of the base ladder. Check to see that the pulley is not cracked or broken, and that it moves freely.

  2. 2

    Place the loop end of the new rope between the first and second rungs from the bottom of the extension portion of the ladder. Put the end of the rope through the loop and pull out the slack until the loop end of the rope is tight around the bottom rang. Be sure that the rope is wrapped around the bottom rang only.

  3. 3

    Move to the top of the ladder. Insert the open end of the rope through the pulley, and pull the rope all the way through until it is tight against the face of the extension portion of the ladder.

  4. 4

    Walk the rope to the bottom of the ladder. Pull the rope so that it is tight against the base portion of the ladder.

  5. 5

    Tie the rope to the same rang onto which you affixed the loop in the first step, using a bowline knot. Cut off any extra rope past the knot and singe the rope with a lighter or matches to keep it from unravelling.

Tips and warnings

  • When tying the knot onto the bottom rang, leave enough slack in the rope to comfortably fit your fist between the rope and the bottom of the lowest rang of the base ladder. Tying the rope too tightly will impede raising and lowering the rope, and leaving too much slack will get in your way as you use the ladder.

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