When needing to work on a job that is high above the ground such as a tall wall, windows, siding, rain gutters, or ceilings, it is easiest and best to stand on scaffolding. You could complete the work from an extension ladder, but that would be time consuming and actually very difficult. It is not safe to work on an extension ladder unless you have at least one hand holding onto the ladder at all times. This, of course, makes it difficult to do the work when only one hand is available. In addition, having to repeatedly climb up and down the extension ladder to move it is tiring and tedious as well. Altogether making a simple job, exhausting!
You could buy scaffolding, or even rent scaffolding, but what if the project is a quick one? Going to buy and/or pickup scaffolding delays the start of the project. Waiting for rented scaffolding to be delivered will also delay the start of the work. For quick and immediate scaffolding, you could use two extension ladders and a board or plank. If you don’t have a second extension ladder, you could possibly borrow one from a neighbor or friend. Here’s how you do it:
Adjust Two Extension Ladders
Adjust each extension ladder into an A-frame configuration.
Depending on the length of your board, place the extension ladders 8 to 12 feet apart with the rungs facing each other.
Test the Scaffolding Board
It is important to test the scaffolding at a low level before using it at a high level. Serious injury could occur if the board breaks at the high level. Start by placing the board on the lowest rung of each extension ladder. Then slowly and carefully, walk across the scaffold board from one end to the other. The board should bow just a little. If it bows a great deal or makes some cracking sounds, you’ll need a thicker board.
Setup Scaffold at Proper Height
Determine the height of the scaffolding you need. Then place the board through the appropriate rung on each extension ladder. Try to keep the board as level as possible. And make sure the board extends beyond each A-frame configuration for added safety.
Use a third extension ladder adjusted into a third A-frame configuration and put it in the middle of the board expanse for added support and safety.
Another option is to use two extension ladders with ladder jacks. See our article How to Setup and Use Ladder Jack Scaffold for more information.
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Sunset Ladder and Scaffold rents and sells the safest and highest quality ladders, scaffolding and related products available since 1929. We rent and sell ALL types of ladders and scaffolding that the industry offers including our own American-made Sunset Ladder Co and EZ Lift brands.