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Quick RV Tech Tip: The smart way one of our readers added a ladder to RV

We have posted a couple of questions here in the past (like this one) regarding why some RV manufacturers don’t offer a ladder on their rig. We’ve also gotten a couple of suggestions for an aftermarket version and extension.

I got this email from one of our readers and thought it would be good info to share.

Hi Dave,
I agree with you that most RV manufacturers don’t install or recommend installing exterior ladders or getting on top of an RV due to liability and structural reasons. I considered purchasing and using a telescoping ladder to gain access to the roof to clean off debris as well as seasonal cleaning but decided on something more permanent.

I decided to go with the Stromberg Carlson Exterior RV Ladder. Because I did not have access to any backing/framing details on the RV, I knew some form of reinforcement would be required. Using a stud finder and basic RV build assumptions, I figured the width of any ladder would not match up with the RV frame structure. Therefore, I attached 2″ aluminum flat bars on the roof and back wall where needed and tried to secure the ends to the framework. Just as you have recommended, I also selected this ladder because of the top U-shaped section and attached it to the roof aluminum bars and roof structure. I also attached the standoff assemblies to the aluminum bars and back siding.

I realized this may be unorthodox, but rather than use the included bottom J-shaped ladder section, I used 1/2″ threaded pipe inside the ladder sections, secured it to the square bumper, and bolted it inside. For waterproofing, I used silicone sealant on the rear attachments and Sika Multiseal Plus Tape and Dicor Self-Leveling Lap Sealant on the roof bars. I am 180 lbs. and the ladder feels very secure when ascending and descending. Photo shots included.

Dave C., Skyline/Evergreen Layton 285BH (Javelin Series)

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Snoopy
29 days ago

As I read the supporting of the ladder, I see its bottom secured to the rear bumper. I do believe that will cause a few problems down the road! That bumper is part of the frame & the body is attached to it with some kind of isolator to prevent noise & allow some movement. Its the movement that will cause the problem. Where the top & sides of ladder are secured to the body & the bottom is secured to the frame, something has to give & it could be where its secured to the motor home with screws & what ever else is there causing leaks & most likely structural damage somewhere!
Snoopy

Bill
29 days ago
Reply to  Snoopy

Agreed! Factory installed ladders are bad enough..