INDIANAPOLIS – Most homeowners try to use a ladder when climbing up to paint, clean or do projects around the house.  But every year, thousands of Americans are injured when using a ladder incorrectly or when the ladder isn’t sufficient for the job.  Instead, scaffolding is an option that many homeowners need for projects but have never used.

Scott’s scaffolding situation

Recently I did a Home Zone about tinting your windows, but reaching the top windows at 18 feet high with a ladder was not a safe option.  It was just too unstable, and the ladder got in the way. 

I did a quick internet search and found several places around central Indiana where you can rent scaffolding for a day or a week, or whatever you need.

“It’s pretty typical.  Usually by the time a potential customer contacts me, they have tried to climb a ladder and get up there.  Then they realize just what a small working area they have and how high they are up in the air,” said Gordon Haywood, owner of Indy Scaffolding Rental.

It’s not a good feeling doing work up high when things are unstable.  You can find a variety of companies that rent, so search and find the one that works best for you in your area.  In the case of Indy Scaffolding Rental, for one to three levels, he charges $60 to $80 a day if you pick it up, set it up and return it.  But only one in four of his customers set it up themselves.  It’s closer to $250 a day if Haywood does it all for you, which is probably a good idea for first timers to make sure it’s done safely. It’s also much easier if they set it up for you.

“Some people are comfortable putting them together, others don’t really want to have anything to do with that.  Our company motto is we’ll get you up there, so we like to rent, deliver, build and all you have to do is climb up and do your job and climb down.  And then we will haul the equipment away so it makes it easy for the homeowner,” said Haywood. 

Setting up the scaffolding

I also chose the delivery and set up but also helped to learn how to do it.  That way if I planned to rent again, I could do it myself. 

Scott “helping”

It’s fairly easy. Just connect the sides with a cross beam, and secure it with the tension pins and the safety pins.  Haywood can do the scaffolding set up himself but for homeowners and even an experienced user, it’s easier to set up with two people.  Haywood said all scaffolding that have more than one level come with outriggers for stability.

“It makes it feel less tippy.  You’d have to do a lot of work even without the outriggers to pull it over, but it certainly makes it more comfortable for everyone,” said Haywood. 

Adding the platform

After the sides are connected, it’s time for the first platform where you stand.  Then build up the sides to level two to get the height you will need to stand on, if you are going up past one platform and most customers are. 

There are safety pins that go in very easily and stay there.  They are safety devices with the equipment and it’s really important that you it.  If you are considering assembling it yourself, Haywood helps out with that when you come to pick up the scaffolding.

“I have a video that I typically show people and I walk them through it as they pick it up to show them how to do it.  It’s really pretty simple.  Again, it’s just a comfort level,” said Haywood.

Railing time

Once you get the top level on, it’s time for the railing.   There are two ways to get up and down the scaffolding.

“If you’re not comfortable climbing up on the outside of the unit, and a lot of people aren’t, you can climb right down the middle of the unit and get up and down through the trap doors,” said Haywood.

Before you even get your scaffolding, measure your work area.  It helps them know what to bring, although the units are adjustable.

“It’s important to know either how high you have to reach from the unit or how high you have to stand to do your work,” said Haywood.

Scaffolding companies have equipment that’s adjustable for stairs and uneven surfaces.  The bigger scaffolding is generally used for reaching higher places outside and even inside. 

After the scaffolding was up, I brought up the window tint to the new safer and more stable work area. I got the project done in minutes without fear of falling.