DIY Ladder Rack Plans

by Denise Brown

If you do any kind of home improvement work for yourself or your friends, at some point you're going to need to transport ladders or other long objects. By building a ladder rack for your truck, you can be sure you are transporting your ladders and other long objects safely and securely.

Pick a Type

Determine whether you want a model that carries the weight of the ladder over the cab and bed of the truck or one that suspends the ladders from either side of the truck. Visit businesses that offer truck racks for sale or study models available in magazines or from online vendors. Look at permanent models and compare them to fold-down or removable truck rack models. Decide if you want your ladder rack made out of metal or wood. Assess whether you have the skills necessary to complete the task using your preferred materials. Remember, a metal ladder rack may require welding.

Measure the Truck

Measure the inside length, width, and depth of your truck bed. You also need the measurement from the bed of the truck to the top of the cab. Also take the measurement of the bed width at the front, over the wheel wells and at the rear. If you plan to use holes already drilled into the side of your truck bed, measure the distance between each one of them. Draw your rack plans using the measurements. Take into account the weight of your ladder(s) and what it takes to carry them so they are balanced. From the drawing you can determine what supplies you need. Not only do you need the metal or wood for the rack itself, but your rack plans should also include the ladder hangers and brace pieces as well as fasteners and connectors needed to hold the rack together. Remember to also include the necessary pieces to anchor the rack in your truck.

Build the Ladder Rack

Measure the pieces of metal or wood for your ladder rack. Cut the pieces you need. Drill the holes necessary to assemble the truck rack. Lay the ladder rack pieces out so they are easy to assemble in the order you need them. As you build the base of your ladder rack, make sure the corners are square. Add the upright pieces as well as their brace pieces. Build the upper rack if you are building an over-the-bed ladder rack. Brace it appropriately. If your truck rack plans call for it to set in the side walls of the pickup, add the connection pieces. Add the ladder hangers to the uprights. Remove any rough edges from the ladder rack. Paint the truck rack if you wish to finish it. Install the truck rack in your truck bed. Attach it permanently to the truck bed or use the temporary fasteners, such as C-clamps, if you plan to remove the rack.

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