If you'd like your new paint job to reach higher than the 6-foot (1.8-meter) mark, you're going to need a ladder.
There are several different types, but stepladders, extension ladders and straight ladders are the most useful for exterior painting. Stepladders range up to 20 feet (6 meters) in height and are nonadjustable. They have a hinged design that opens two self-supporting sides, one of which has flat steps for climbing. Most stepladders come with a horizontal platform near the top, which can accommodate a paint can or tools.
Straight ladders can reach up to 30 feet (9 meters) and should be propped at a 75-degree angle against a stable structure. If you're trying to paint the roof eaves, you'll want the ladder to extend 1 to 3 feet (30 to 90 centimeters) above the roof. Extension ladders are similar to straight ladders except they consist of two sections that can be extended, reaching up to 60 feet (18 meters) in height. (A three-section ladder can go up to 72 feet, or 21 meters.) A paint shelf can be purchased or made as an accessory [source: American Ladder Institute].