A ladder is one of the most commonly used tools when it comes to any kind of home maintenance and repair. The ones most used in the home are stepladders, although there are many different types of ladders. Most ladders share several parts in common. Each of the different parts of a stepladder has a specific name.

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Different parts of a ladder have specific names.

Steps

The part of the ladder most familiar to people are the steps. A common stepladder has five steps. Some large ladders may have as many as 20 to 30 steps. On a stepladder, the steps closer to the bottom of the ladder are the widest. The steps at the top of the ladder are the narrowest. Most steps have treads to ensure traction.

Rails

The rails on a stepladder are the vertical pieces to which the steps are attached. A stepladder has four rails. There are front left and right rails, as well as rear left and right rails. The front rails are usually more substantial than the rear rails to support the most weight.

Spreaders

The spreaders are the metal bars that feature hinges which connect the front and rear rails. These are hinged in the middle, allowing the ladder to open and close. The hinges are lockable, which provides stability when the ladder is in use.

Shelf

Usually located near the top of the ladder, the shelf provides a small workspace for the individual working with the ladder. This shelf may hold a paint can or various tools. The shelf locks into place to maximize stability.

Extension Locks

Extension ladders have similar parts to stepladders, including rungs and rails. Additionally, extension ladders have a set of extension locks that securely hold the two sets of ladders together. When the extension is raised, each rung lock is folded back, allowing the free movement of the rails. Once the desired height is reached, the locks are folded back over the lower rung and secured into place.