Stilts are poles, posts or pillars used to allow a person or structure to stand at a height above the ground.
Working at tall heights provides a common challenge for contractors and DIY users alike. It can be tough to efficiently hang drywall, complete electrical work, or repair ventilation at ceiling heights without the proper equipment. This is why drywall stilts are a must-have for any serious drywall job. Stilts provide a wide range of benefits to improve efficiency and the final results of projects that require a higher reach. Here are the main reasons you should be using drywall stilts on your next job, along with some tips to make sure you do so safely.
Choosing the right stilts
There are several types of drywall stilts available, so choosing the set that is right for your needs is important. You want to choose a set of drywall stilts that is strongly constructed, and that has good solid feet with heavy treads. Lastly, you want the footrests, securing straps, and stilt height to be as adjustable as possible without sacrificing safety or comfort. Do not overlook the comfort aspect of the equation; if you are going to be spending several hours per day wearing the stilts, comfort will become very important.
Decide how high you need to reach
Remove the wing bolts from the extension tubes (on the lower half of the drywall stilts).
Adjust the height by extending or shortening the extension tubes, which should slide freely once both wing bolts are gone.
Make sure both drywall stilts are even
Check the height by raising the stilts upside-down over your head. Place your hand on the footrest. If the bottom of the stilts can reach the area you want to reach, then the height is set properly. If not, lower the stilts and place the screws in a different set of holes.
Tighten the bolts
Before using drywall stilts, make sure that all the bolts are securely fixed in order to avoid chances of your falling down and causing grievous injury to your knees.
Tread on the right surface
These stilts are built for use on hard and even surfaces. You cannot use them on surfaces that are uneven or don’t have proper support beneath.
Strap them right
You have to be very cautious while using these devices. Make sure that your feet are strapped firmly on the feet plates provided along with adjustable straps. First strap your legs and then your feet. Follow the same order while un-strapping the stilts too. Remain on a flat and even surface while strapping and un-strapping the stilts.
Walking with them
While walk with drywall stilts, make sure that you take small, deliberate steps in order to maintain the right balance. Taking large steps will result in damage to the stilts and hence needs to be avoided. Maintain an upright posture while walking. If you are unable to do so, then, you have to readjust the stilts.
Tips & Warnings
- If this is your first time on stilts, take some time to walk around and get comfortable before trying to do any work.
- Clear the room you will be working of anything that can trip you up, such as loose drop cloths, rugs, furniture and debris.
- It’s helpful to have a friend around in case you drop something.
- Many first-timers smack their head against door jambs because they are not used to their new height. Remember to duck as you pass through doorways.
- Occasionally check the condition of the stilts as you work. Sometimes the wing bolts fall out, causing you to trip and fall. Also, keep the ankle and foot straps tight in order to prevent ankle twists.
- Do not walk up or down stairs or attempt to step over obstacles. You will trip.
- Watch out for pipes or beams while you are working. It is easy to forget how tall you are now and smack your head
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