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When 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 client will save tons of time and energy by not constantly climbing up and down to reposition your ladder.
Guard rails 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.
Frame scaffolds (sometimes referred to as “pipe-scaffold”) are perfect for exterior work and are available at most full-service rental centers. Also check the websites under “Scaffold, New York” for businesses that specialize in scaffolding rental and sales. You’ll usually get lower rates and expert advice from these specialists.
Most rental centers will deliver and pick up rented scaffold for an additional fee. Otherwise you’ll need a pickup truck or trailer.
Even though the basic setup procedure is the same, scaffold hardware varies slightly from one manufacturer to another.
The key to a safe scaffolding is a solid foundation. If the base plates or casters rest on dirt, grass, asphalt or other soft material, put them on top of lengths of 2x10 lumber to prevent them from sinking.
Adjusting screws make leveling the scaffolding easy and safe. Never stack bricks, concrete blocks or scraps of wood under the frame to level it. If your ground slopes more than about a foot over an 8-ft. distance, rent leg extensions. Extreme slopes may require the addition of a short scaffold section under one end of the scaffolding.
Ask Your Rental Agent For Help
Don’t be tempted to save money by using your own ordinary wood planks for the work surface—they aren’t strong enough. Rent special scaffold planks to cover the frames from side to side. Then install the guardrail posts and rails. Rails aren’t required on the side of the scaffolding that faces the building as long as the scaffolding is within 14 in. of the building. Our scaffolding didn’t require them, but if you’re working where people might walk below the scaffold structure, wire on 2x4 toe boards to prevent tools and materials from falling and injuring someone. Rest the 2x4 boards upright around the perimeter of the scaffold planks, screw or nail the corners together and attach them to the base of the guardrail posts with No. 10 wire.
Once the scaffolding is assembled and in place, double-check that it’s level and resting securely on all four base plates or casters. If it rocks, readjust one of the screws to stabilize the scaffolding. Use the built-in ladders to climb the scaffolding. Don’t climb on the cross braces. Recruit a helper to hand materials and tools up to the platform. If you can’t reach, use a rope and bucket to pull tools to the top.
Casters allow you to move the scaffolding easily without taking it apart, but take a few extra precautions:
- Install a special horizontal brace diagonally between the two outside frames to keep them square
- Ask your supplier about this. Never roll the scaffolding with tools, materials or passengers on the planks
- Lock the casters before climbing the scaffolding. Avoid overhead wires when moving the scaffolding
- You could be electrocuted if you bump power lines. Don’t roll the scaffolding on steep slopes or near ditches or holes
How to rent scaffolding?
Determine whether or not you will need fixed, mobile or hanging scaffolding. Fixed scaffolding is either independent, meaning it does not need support from the building, or putlog, which uses the building to secure the working platform. Mobile scaffolding is an independent and freestanding structure mounted on wheels, to allow for easy moving. Hanging scaffolding has a suspended platform that can be raised and lowered and is most often used for washing windows.
Estimate a budget for scaffolding rental, but make sure that you put safety before economy. Many companies that rent scaffolding have websites with estimator tools that allow you to input project plans in order to determine pricing. Even if you choose to rent locally, these estimator tools can help you choose the correct style for the job.
Compare prices on scaffolding rentals. Though researching scaffolding rentals online is helpful in determining a budget, it is usually best to rent locally to avoid expensive shipping costs. A comprehensive search of your local telephone directory will offer a world of rental services. Large rental services can offer expert advice, replacement parts, easy delivery and you can inspect the scaffolding before renting.
Rent special scaffold planks, even though you may be tempted to save money, by using your own. Scaffold planks are specially built for scaffolding and offer the safest fit.
Add toeboards to your rental order, if people will be walking underneath your scaffolding. Toeboards can help prevent tools from falling off the platform, protecting the safety of pedestrians and workers below.
How to install scaffolding
Place the inside sills or pads on the ground next to the face of the building; use pads in the case of uneven ground. Set inside uprights at each end of the building and toenail them to the sill. Use a carpenter's level and plumb the uprights. Next, tie the uprights to the building using wood cleats.
Nail a one-by-six ribbon board to the uprights at three and one half inches below the plank height. Layout and nail intermediate uprights in place along face of wall. Uprights should not be spread out more than 10 feet.
Lay the outside sill or pads on the ground. Set up two outside uprights and nail in place. Level and nail ledger boards connecting the inside and outside uprights; all ledger boards will be resting on top of the ribbon boards. The ledgers should be at the height of where the walking planks will be placed. Place ribbon board below outside ledger and nail.
Place outside uprights opposite of the inside uprights and nail them into place. Next, connect each outside upright with the inside upright using ledger boards. Use a level to make sure ledgers are level before nailing.
Place walking planks for a platform on top of ledgers; the planks should run over the ledgers at least 12 inches on both sides. Nail second-level ribbons and ledgers in place at height of next work area. Next, nail diagonal braces to outside uprights to provide lateral support. Place the next work level planks on the ledgers.
Nail the guardrail into place; the guardrail should be installed around 42 inches height-wise. The mid-rail will be placed around 28 inches. In some cases, there may be a need for a toe board; this type of board protects people from falling objects that get kicked off of the scaffolding