How to Build a Ladder to Get Up on My Roof

A ladder is an essential tool for any homeowner because it gives the much needed height to reach the upper levels of your home and roof.
Weather-treat a wooden ladder with wood stain.Weather-treat a wooden ladder with wood stain.
Whether you want to get on the roof to repair the shingles or clean out the gutters, you need a stable ladder that will not fall over or fall apart under your weight. You can build a ladder at home from simple wood and screws more cheaply than purchasing one at a store.

Step 1

Set two 12-foot-long, 2-by-4-inch hardwood boards next to each other length-wise on your workspace floor. These boards make up the outside rails of your ladder.

Step 2

Draw a line across the rails width-wise 8 inches in from one end. Then, draw another line every 15 inches. The last line will be 8 inches from the end of the rails.

Step 3

Connect the rails with nine 19-by-2-by-3-inch hardwood boards. These boards are the treads of your ladder. Place one tread on each set of lines. Use a cordless drill to drive two 2 1/2-inch deck screws through the rail into both ends of each tread. The screws should be 1 inch apart.

Step 4

Check that each tread is perfectly square, or at a 90-degree angle from the rails.

Step 5

Screw an L-bracket centered beneath both sides of each tread, securing the treads to the rails. Use 1/2-inch wood screws and the cordless drill to attach the L-bracket.

Step 6

Fit 4-inch-long, rubber ladder feet over the bottom of the rails to prevent the ladder from slipping.

Things You Will Need

  • 2 hardwood boards, 12-foot-long, 2-by-4-inch
  • 9 hardwood boards, 19-by-3-by-2-inch
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Wood glue
  • 18 1/2-inch deck screws
  • Square
  • 18 L-brackets
  • Cordless drill
  • 1-inch wood screws
  • 4-inch long, rubber ladder feet


  • Add a colorful no-slip strip to the front of each tread to personalize your ladder.
  • A one-story house is typically 8 feet tall. A 12-foot ladder is more than sufficient to reach the roof from the ground.


  • Do not stand on the top rung of any ladder without securing the ladder to the building with straps or hooks.

About the Author

Amanda Fetherlin is a writer, mother and former teacher with extensive experience in home remodeling, daycare education and domestic activities. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from St. Louis University.