Painting the walls in a stairwell is challenging because there is no level floor. The legs of an extension ladder are farther apart than the width of a normal stair tread, so an extension ladder alone isn't workable for painting the high reaches of the stairwell. Stairs and landings don't provide a base for standard scaffolding supports, either. Painters address this problem through the use of a combination of ladders, scaffolding boards, clamps and ladder stabilizers.
Things You'll Need
- Extension ladder
- Step ladder
- 1 long board, 2-by-12 inches
- Ladder stabilizer
Place a ladder stabilizer on the top end of an extension ladder. Put both feet of the ladder on the tread of one of the lower steps of the stairway, with both feet against the step's riser. Lean the top of the ladder with the ladder stabilizer in place against the wall opposite the top of the stairs.
Place a stepladder at the top of the stairs. Make certain the feet are level and secure.
Put the 2-by-12-inch board on matching rungs of the two ladders to make a level support to walk on as a scaffold. The scaffold board must be long enough to span the distance between the ladders, with some overlap at each ladder.
Secure the scaffold board to the stepladder at the top of the stairs with a C-clamp.
Tips & Warnings
- If the span is long and the scaffold board gives when weight is put on it, place a brace at the mid-point of the board. To make a brace, measure the distance from a stair tread to the underside of the scaffold board. Cut a 2-by-4-inch stud the length of the measurement taken. Stand the cut 2-by-4 on the stair from which the measurement was taken and wedge it under the scaffold board.
- Test your ladders for slippage to avoid a mishap.
- Tate Baynor; Construction Worker; Washington, NC
- Danny Lipford: Stairwell Painting Tip
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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