A ladder rung is a step of a ladder. When most people think of the word ladder, a very specific image comes to mind, most likely of a standard ladder, known as a fixed ladder. This type consists of two long pieces of wood, metal or plastic on each side that are connected by a series of rungs, which can be of the same or different material. There are, however, many different styles of ladders, some of which are designed for more specific purposes, and others which are multi-purpose. The rungs of these ladders can also be unique in several different ways, mostly depending on the function and construction of the ladder.
A fixed ladder can be made of wood or lightweight metal, with each individual rung consisting of the same material. The rungs are spaced an equal distance from one another, and they are typically anywhere from 10 inches (25.4 cm) to 12 inches (30.5 cm) apart, but can be more or less. Ladders with 12-inch-spaced rungs are not usually built in lengths that are divisible by 12, however, so the distance from the top and bottom rungs to the ends of the ladder will usually be different from one another, and will be shorter than the spaces between each rung.
The shape of a ladder rung will vary from ladder to ladder. A cylinder is a common rung shape that is found on many ladders, both metal and wood. Because of its roundness, however, it may be difficult to stand in one place without proper shoes, so the function of rungs with circular, or ovular, cross sections is mainly for climbing up and down. Metal circular rungs are often covered with a gritty, sandpaper-like finish for a better grip while standing on them.
Step ladders, or folding ladders, are more popular for use when someone wants to stand in one place. These are designed with hinges at the top and two or sometimes even three folding sides. A ladder rung on at least one side of a step ladder is usually designed with a flat top that is several inches (cm) in length for better support for a person standing on any rung. These rungs are flat so that it is just as easy for someone to do his or her necessary work while standing at any point on the ladder, and the rungs can be finished with slip-proof material to help prevent accidents.
A ladder rung doesn’t even need to be rigid. This is true in the case of rope ladders, which are designed to be lightweight, portable, and easily stored. Because of their construction, these ladders are often kept near windows in case of an emergency. Their flimsiness, however, does not make them very handy in a lot of situations where rigid ladders are typically used, since taking a step down a rung on a rope ladder can require quite a bit of dexterity.