The next time you have to work up high, consider renting scaffolding rather than struggling with ladders. Scaffolding provides a large, stable work platform where you can stack materials and set up your tools. With scaffolding, you can easily reach all areas of the repair to do a better job in half the time. And you’ll save tons of time and energy by not constantly climbing up and down to reposition your ladder.
Ladders come in a variety of heights, widths, and configurations. They are made from wood, fiberglass, or metal.
Guardrails attached to the top of the scaffold frames allow you to concentrate on the task at hand without worrying about falling. We’ll show you how to set up your rented scaffolding so it’s safe and secure and then show you a few of the home-repair jobs where scaffolding really shines.
The frame scaffolds we’re using (sometimes referred to as “pipe scaffold”) are perfect for exterior work and are available at most full-service rental centers. Also check the Yellow Pages under “Scaffolds, Rental” for businesses that specialize in scaffolding rental and sales. You’ll usually get lower rates and expert advice from these specialists.
The setup we show is ideal for most projects around the home. It consists of 5-ft. standard end frames and cross braces to make a 7-ft. long scaffold. In addition to base plates and a guardrail system, the main components of a scaffolding system are the frames and cross braces that you stack and combine end to end to make larger scaffolds. The most common frame size is 5 ft. wide and 5 ft. tall, but other sizes are available depending on your needs.
The distance between frames is determined by the length of the cross braces, 7- and 10-ft being the most common and economical. Rent adjusting screws and base plates for easy leveling on uneven ground. Rent casters if you plan to move the scaffolding. Top the frames with three 7-ft. planks and a guardrail system.
Measure to determine the ideal platform height for your job. Keep in mind that your working height is about 4 to 6 ft. above the scaffold planks. The rental salesperson will help you choose the correct size and style of scaffold for your task.
I’d recommend limiting the height to two sections. After that, stability becomes an issue and you have to take special precautions. Once the height exceeds three times the minimum width of the tower, you must tie the scaffolding to the building at specific intervals. A five ft. wide scaffolding needs to be tied in when it exceeds 15 ft. high. We won’t cover scaffold tie-ins in this article. Ask your scaffold-rental specialist for specifics on tie-ins, if necessary.
Ladders and scaffolds allow you to safely replace windows that otherwise would be difficult or impossible to reach.
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