trick to painting up high?

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Mark B.

Re: trick to painting up high?

Post by Mark B. »

Some tips from the fire training academy, which I am just finishing up -

1. Make sure the end of your ladder extends to at least chest height when you are standing on the rungs you'll be working from. That way you'll always have the beams (side rails) and some rungs to hold on to in front of you, while you work above or beside them.

2. Position the ladder so that the butt end (bottom feet) is spaced from the wall 1/4 the extended length of the ladder when you use it. For example, if you extend a 24 foot extension ladder so that the rail length, end-to-end, is 16 feet, place the butt end 4 feet from the wall. if you extend the ladder to 24 feet, place the butt end 6 feet from the wall.

3. Make sure the butt is resting on a hard surface, or a surface it is designed for - the claw feet will prevent the butt from sliding out on soil, but the ground must be able to support the load on each rail, otherwise you could fall sideways.

4. When you've positioned the ladder, "set" it by grabbing a rung about chest high (while standing on the ground), and shaking the ladder vigorously. This will rattle all four feet a little, and they will settle into a position where all four are supporting the ladder - the butt on the ground and the ends against the building.

5. Use a leg lock, or buy or rent a ladder belt, to secure yourself to the ladder when you've reached your working height (I prefer the belt - a leg lock for me is very difficult because I have long legs). Either one will guarantee that you won't fall off the ladder. If you slip you may wrench a knee slightly, but even that's not likely. And a wrenched knee is certainly preferable to a dented cranium.

The 1/4 distance can be easily estimated by standing on the bottom rung and enxtending your arms straight out and resting you hands on the rung that is closest to armpit level. If your back and arms are straight and comfortable (relatively speaking), and you're not leaning into or out from the ladder, its positioned properly. Once you've climbed more than about two rungs, you will be unable to push so hard against the building that you and the ladder will fall over backwards. You CANNOT overbalance enough to fall back.

Don't worry too much about the bouncing - ladders are designed to flex that way (that way they don't just outright break). If it seems to get severe as you ascend / descend, move a little faster or slower. Likely you're moving at about the resonant frequency of the ladder. Change your speed a little and the ladder will bounce far less.

I always hated ladders, but after the ladder training at the fire academy, I can go up and down them without fearing for my life. But I certainly respect them!

Sorry to be so verbose (as usual), but maybe this will help a little.

Mark B.

brunton@net-gate.com

Nancy

Re: trick to painting up high?

Post by Nancy »

Thanks for your generous response, Mark. Science is a beautiful thing. Congratulations on finishing your training! Be careful...and good luck.

Nancy

Nplattebor@aol.com

Ray Barker

Re: trick to painting up high?

Post by Ray Barker »

Nancy, Yes you may borrow my sixty footer,if within reasonable travel distance. I don't think I'll be getting to use it this summer, with all the rain we are getting here in New England. Here it is Memorial Day week-end already and the ground is so wet that I wont even be able to plant the garden unless I put the seeds and plants into "MUD". Good luck on your ladder climbing and I'm sure the finished job will look great.

Ray

rsbarker@mediaone.net

James B

Re: trick to painting up high?

Post by James B »

2 years ago I was at the top of my dad's 24' extension ladder, with a paint brush taped to the end of a hockey stick to get the peak painted on my house. Obviously I did not enjoy this, and I too have some good cautious instincts. Here's what I did to make me feel more comfortable: I first firmly plant the ladder as best as I could. Then I climbed up to put C-clamps on the eaves either side of the ladder so I knew it would not slide away on me. The paint can I had tied to a long rope which I raised up to use, then lowered before climbing down. I also had pants with big pockets on the legs so that I didn't have to carry any scrapers etc in my hands on the way up or down.

After I was done the scraping, then the priming, then the two colours of top coats, I told myself to hire someone next time. These old houses are what I affectionately call "painter's nightmares".

jamesb@jamesway.com

sue

Re: trick to painting up high?

Post by sue »

What if you opened the window, placed the paint and brush on a chair or low table right inside the window, then went up the ladder with two hands and use the opened window to help balance and grab the brush and use the paint when you get up there? It is the trim and not the sash you are painting, right?

I buy empty paint buckets at a paint store (with handles)

ssbungalow@aol.com

Nancy

Re: trick to painting up high?

Post by Nancy »

Great suggestions - the open window gives me a sense of security - something to hang onto if the ladder falls out from under me and I go crashing to my death or coma - but most importantly, when I'm climbing, the open window gives me a destination --- I'm not climbing this scary ladder to paint, I'm going home, I'm going home, I'm going home...and then I'm up there.

Thank you!

Haven't done the attic yet.

Nancy

Nplattebor@aol.com

Lou

Re: trick to painting up high?

Post by Lou »

Well no one else has mentioned this, but NO NO NO do not climb with something in your hand.

When, using a ladder, always keep both hands on the ladder when climbing and decending. Take that plastic bucket tie some rope to the handle, and the other end to your belt.

Now climb the ladder and pull it up.

Oh and while you're at it, tie off your ladder.

Not just comfort, safety. Yes that is what I do.

delvelb@nu.com

John Sprung

Re: trick to painting up high?

Post by John Sprung »

Check out http://www.ladders.com. That's Wing Enterprises, which makes the Little Giant ladder that I have. Mine's the biggest they make, 26 feet. I'm still a very major ladder chicken, but it helps to have a really well designed ladder. Especially helpful is their work platform, which gives you about a square foot of solid surface to stand on at your working height. This is much more comfortable than standing on a rung, so you don't get as tired, and being tired up there is dangerous.

-- J.S.

John_Sprung@Paramount.com

Nancy

Re: trick to painting up high?

Post by Nancy »

You know, you make a really good point. I need more stuff.

Seriously --- I'm just learning the importance of using the right tools for the job. Even what paintbrush makes a difference. That's one thing I hate about being a beginner - after I've spent hours rigging something up (and days and nights thinking about it - and then that embarrassing, unwarranted aha!) to do x, somebody happens along and says, hey, why don't you use a y - and sure enough, I go to the store and there's a y that does x without even thinking about it.

I definitely need a bigger and better ladder. I've got to go up and take the rotted wooden gutter down. But I can hardly get the one I've got up against the house without breaking a window. Is it engineered to be light and sturdy by any chance?

Nancy

Nplattebor@aol.com

John Sprung

Re: trick to painting up high?

Post by John Sprung »

Yes, Nancy, it's light and sturdy. In its folded and telescoped storage position, I can lift the 26 foot ladder easily, and I'm a 52 year old pencil pusher. In the fully extended position, it takes more cunning than strength to move it. It's wider at the ends than in the middle to give it added stability, and you can get a leg leveling attachment to get it absolutely vertical. There's also a wall standoff attachment to straddle your windows. It does have that bouncy thing in the middle, but ladders have to be that way. If they weren't, they'd either break or punch holes in the wall.

I got mine on a trade show special at CES this January, $592 for the ladder with two work platforms, a leg leveler and wall standoff. Tell them I sent you, and ask for Doug. He might remember me, because he has one of those great salesman memories, and never forgets anybody. Ask what they have in trade show specials, I doubt that they ever sell anything for the list price.

-- J.S.



John_Sprung@Paramount.com

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