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Now that the summer is fast approaching, it’s time to start up the myriad home improvement projects that will keep our homes looking tip-top throughout the next year. Typically, at least for me, this means a lot of projects that include painting and exterior touch ups. Fortunately, my projects aren’t typically very large-scale, but every five years or so, I like to fully paint my house’s exterior, and since I live in a two story home, that means that I’ll have to get up high for this type exterior work.
So, how do I go about doing this? Well, many people that decide to take on these types of projects go to their local Home Depot and purchase some scaffolding that can be used for this type of work. Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of this type; if you go cheap, you’ll spend around $100 for some of the multipurpose stuff, but that’s always felt a little rickety to me. On the other hand, you can go more for more premium scaffolding, but that’ll set you back more than $400 in some cases.
So, what can you do to scaffold your house without the store-bought varieties? Well, you can make your own scaffolding! I love doing this because I can enlist my kids into my home improvement efforts. They tend to love to do the some of the light handy work and the work gives them something to do when school’s out.
I know what you’re thinking: “But, what about their safety? The last thing I want is to put together some DIY scaffolding and falling through a plant and hurting myself or my kids.” This is a very understandable concern; it’s important to never skimp on materials. If you’re going the DIY route, then your wood should be strong, you should endeavor to have some type of means of securing your scaffold, and you should do your best to include some rails for protection.
For the most part, I do most of the up top work, though my oldest son comes up and helps me paint from time to time. There’s a lot of safe activities that your younger ones can do, they can mix paint, hand up tools, or even paint the lower sections of the house that are not covered by the scaffolding.
DIY Scaffolding Solutions
With that said, let’s take a look at some great homemade ideas for making some scaffolding that you can use to do your home’s exterior painting jobs. Each of these is designed to save you a bit of money, but some may require more complex materials, so the effort may require a bit of commitment.
In any situation, there are some things that you should remember before you get started:
• Always work on dry, level ground.
• For the wood components, always ensure that there is no sign of rot.
• With any type of scaffolding, you’ll be working at a height, so if you have problems with vertigo or you just don’t like heights, consider getting the work professionally done.
Bunk Bed Scaffold
For this type of scaffold, I suggest using a wooden or metal beam-style bunk bed, though other types of bunk beds can be used if they are sturdy. The best thing about a bunk bed is that it’s designed to be at least five feet high, which is a good starting point for a scaffold. Additionally, these beds are also usually designed with built-in ladders and in many situations, have some sort of railing to work with.
What You’ll Need:
• A large bunk bed
• Some nails (if you’re using a wooden bed)
• A plank that is thick enough to support your weight (I recommend one that thicker than 3/4th of an inch)
What You’ll Need to Do
For a wooden bunk bed:
With wooden bunk beds, you can nail on more railing and directly attach the planking to the top of the bed. Remember to always check the quality of the wood before you consider using it as a scaffold. In any situation, many of these types of bunk beds have a platform for the mattress to rest on. This platform isn’t great for supporting the weight of a grown adult, so definitely supplement it with a plank.
If you’re very handy, you can even cut a trapdoor in the plank so that you can run an extension ladder up and through the base of the top bunk.
For a metal bunk bed:
For a bunk bed of this type, you can sometimes extend the height by adding a bit of metal piping to the legs (if they fit). In any situation, securing the platform plank to this type may take a bit of work. Sometimes, metal bunk beds have holes for bolts and you can use these to lock the plank into place. In any situation, you can also cut the same trapdoor into the wooden plank to allow yourself to run an extension ladder to higher points on the home’s exterior.
Painting a two story house doesn’t have to be a massive chore, especially when you have a bunk bed or two around the house. I find that this type of light home improvement is a perfect way to get the kids doing something active outside and it also keeps them off of their phones and off of the internet as well.
If you’re looking to just have a quick and easy second story painting job, there are rentable options for scaffolding, but I have personally found it very rewarding to convert an old bunk bed that I had in the garage into a workable scaffold. I hope that these methods of making a DIY scaffold for painting taller houses has helped you with your painting projects, I’d love to hear about your DIY scaffold experiences in the comment section below this post.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Scaffold Store, the favorite and trusted scaffold supplier of the largest contractors.