6 scaffold questions to ask yourself before buying or renting scaffolding

6 Scaffolding Questions to Ask Yourself

Scaffold towers are used for many different applications such as painting, remodeling, window and facade cleaning, drywall installation, building maintenance, theatrical and entertainment, schools, hospitals, and the list goes on. Depending on your project or job, your scaffolding need will likely need some customization to help make the job or project go easier.

Before buying scaffold or renting scaffold, there are some questions that you should ask yourself. The answers to these questions will help you target the specific type of scaffolding you need.

1. How much working surface do I need?

Scaffold comes in two different widths; “Single Span or Narrow Span” scaffold is 29 inches wide. This scaffold width is best used when the area you need to work in is limited. The other width is called “Double Span or Wide Span” and is 4 ½ feet wide.

2. Will the scaffold I’m working on have to straddle anything?

If the answer is “yes”, you should choose a scaffold base section that has high a clearance to it.

3. Could I benefit from having stairway access inside my scaffold?

Stairway scaffold allows a user to climb to the next higher platform from the inside of the tower.
If the answer is “yes”, you should add or choose a stairway scaffold.

4. How high do I need to reach?

The general rule of thumb is the maximum platform height is equal to 4x (times) the smaller base section’s dimension of the scaffold or installed outrigger in most states except California, Oregon, Ohio, Montana, and Maine which require 3x and Washington which requires 3 1/2x.

For example: If you have a 4-1/2 foot by 6 foot base section, you would use 4-1/2 foot dimension as it is smaller than the 6 foot side. And if you work in California, you would use the 3x multiplier. So here is the calculation: 4-1/2 feet x 3 equals 13-1/2 feet.

NOTE: Please check your state and local codes for your particular specifications. Outriggers will be required for added height. Or just call our scaffold experts at Sunset Ladder & Scaffold (800) 660-1311, and we will help you determine your needs.

5. When do I need guard rails and toe boards?

The use of fall-protection equipment is always recommended. Safety codes require guard rails and toe boards on all open sides when the platform height is 10 feet or greater. However, guard rails and toes boards may be required at lower heights depending on the application and jurisdiction.

NOTE: Check ANSI, OSHA, state and local codes for specific requirements. Or just call our scaffold experts at Sunset Ladder & Scaffold (800) 660-1311, and we will help you determine your needs.

6. How heavy a load do I need to support?

If 25 lbs. per square foot or 500 lbs. maximum per deck and scaffold, choose any scaffold.

If 25 lbs. per square foot or 500 lbs. maximum per deck and 1000 lbs. maximum per scaffold, choose a Wide Span Scaffold.

If 50 lbs. per square foot, or 1300 lbs. maximum per scaffold, choose a stairway scaffold.


Sunset Ladder & Scaffold is the premier scaffolding company for Southern California. We started the family-owned business in 1929 by renting and selling products to virtually every major Motion Picture studio in Hollywood, Rope Block and Tackle equipment for Window Washers that was hand-made on site and rented out for work on all medium high rise buildings throughout Southern California, and since the 1930’s Sunset Ladder & Scaffold provides specialized scaffolding and planks to just about every float builder for the world renowned Rose Parade. We’ve been around a long time and have been the experts that our competitors try to keep up with.

About Sunset Ladder & Scaffold
Sunset Ladder & Scaffold sells all the safest and highest quality scaffolding, ladders, and related products available since 1929. Give us a call to discuss what scaffolding you need and all the scaffolding options available to you. Our scaffolding experts can make it easy for you!

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