How can I reuse or recycle an old ladder?

Ladders are frequently decommissioned when they become a safety risk – the wood gets a bit rotten or metal bent or rusty – but they can still be used for other things — just not whole-human-weight things.

At my mum and dad’s house the other day, I spotted half an old wooden ladder had been reused as a cat ramp – the cats are getting old and they can’t jump up to the kitchen window sill any more so use the ladder to get up there and through the window (which they use instead of a cat flap). I’ve also heard about ladders being used as the basis of ramps for chicken coops.

Inside the house, old ladders can be used as fun bookshelfs – step-ladders with deeper rungs have more shelf space but rickety old wooden ones look more fun.

What else can be done with old ladders?

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9 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle an old ladder?”


  1. Jayne says:

    I have a great bamboo towel ladder, which I had to buy because I couldn’t find an old ladder to upcycle!
    You’d need to rub it down well and then varnish to stop the towels getting marked, but it would be a fab addition to any bathroom

  2. Melanie says:

    If it’s too tatty to use inside, an old ladder would make a good trellis for climbing plants outside (just make sure it is decommissioned or secured in such a way that a burglar couldn’t use it to get into your house!)

  3. Lynsey says:

    I was going to suggest towel rail too and I have seen some people using them as bookshelves – obs secured to the wall but not too far from it! It was in an interiors mag I think.

  4. WE’ve used a couple of old wooden ladders in the garden. Lay them on the ground and use them to create individual bays for growing different herbs in.

  5. Melinda says:

    They could be cut to size and hung from the ceiling with S-hooks as a pot rack. I’ve seen photos of a stepladder with shelves placed across the rungs to be a set of shelves.

  6. I would use it:
    - As a climber for plants
    - Or as an improvised display unit for magazines and LP record sleeves
    - Or as a cat tower / play structure. Lower rungs and vertical bars can be covered with sissal rope so they can use it as a scratching post. Use metal brackets to fix the ladder to the wall.
    - If it is sturdy enough — donate it to a child building a treehouse or tree fort.

  7. IT Disposal says:

    I’d paint it and use it like a run of photo frames. So by inserting different images between the rungs.

  8. jeff says:

    You could use old ladders as supports for plants and small trees

  9. septic tank says:

    Chop up and use for fire wood.



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