Your safety should always be put first. Never put your life second to your house painting project. Are you physically fit enough to undertake such a project? Are your ladders the right lengths to safely reach all areas of your house? Review the following tips.
1. Ladder levelers will increase safety. Over 70% of all ladder accidents are caused by make shift props for ladders. Levelers bolt onto the legs of your ladder providing a very secure fit. Most professional painting companies use them. You can greatly reduce your risk of injury by simply stabilizing your ladder through the use of ladder levelers. Once you have them installed they will last for a long time. They will provide safety for all your outdoor painting projects. They are well worth the money.
One more thing you will want to consider. Ladder levelers will save you a lot of time. You will not be constantly trying to fit something under the leg of the ladder. This alone is well worth the investment.
2. Having the proper range of ladders reduces risk. Professional painting contractors usually have the following size ladders as standard equipment. The size ladders needed for your home will depend of course on how tall your house is, but coming from a professional painting perspective, I recommend a 6 foot step ladder, a 20 ft extension, a 28 ft extension, and a 36 ft extension ladder if your house is needs a ladder this size. This rage will allow you to comfortably reach all areas of your house that are accessible with ladders.
Extended ladders do not reach the advertised length due to the 3 or 4 foot lap so plan accordingly. For instance, a 28 foot rated ladder will only extend about 24 or 25 feet. Another thing to consider is you are going to lose a couple more feet when you kick the base of the ladder out from the side of your house to allow for proper navigation. Realistically, a 28 foot ladder will only give you about 20 to 22 feet access.
3. Be sure and use the right drop cloths. The weight of canvas drop cloths will not damage most shrubs, bushes, or hard surface areas; however they can crush smaller plants and totally destroy flowers. The best thing to use on small plants or flowers is old bed sheets. They are light weight and will allow the plants to breath. I do not recommend using plastic over plants or shrubs. The plastic can permanently damage your shrubs or flowers. The plastic will not allow your plants to breath and the temperature can reach damaging levels. It only takes an hour or two to ruin them. Plastic can cause the tops of your plants and shrubs to die. Extension ladders placed on plastic drop cloths can be dangerous due to slippage.
4. Make sure you stay properly hydrated. Drink plenty of cold Gatorade. I can not emphasize this enough. Painting outdoors in the sunlight will dehydrate you quickly, especially if you are not use to this type of work.
The onset of dehydration can catch you by surprise. You can suddenly become light headed and lose your balance and fall. Staying properly hydrated is very important for your health in another crucial way. Dehydration can cause a stroke. Always play it safe and use lots Gatorade.
5. Take periods of rest in the shade. Painting the exterior of your house is very time consuming and the tendency for most homeowners is to pack as much painting into one day as possible. This can be a huge mistake, especially if your body is not accustom to this kind of work. You can get yourself into trouble physically if you try and stretch your physical limitations on hot sunny days.
6. Do you have the physical endurance to handle a project this size? Climbing up and down a ladder all day can cause your legs to severely cramp if your muscles are not physically prepared for it. Your risk of falling from a ladder greatly increases if your legs become suddenly weak and shaky due to muscle fatigue.
It is important to evaluate your condition before putting yourself at risk. Play it smart and consult your doctor about any physical preconditions before attempting the exterior painting of your home. It's important to remember that painters working with a professional painting company are used to their work. You may not be used to it and that can cause you problems.
7. Check for wasp nests before attempting to paint. If you are standing on the end of an extension ladder, you do not want to be fighting wasp. It is dangerous to be fighting wasp with your hands when your hands should be gripped to the ladder. You can easily be distracted to the point of losing your balance and falling. You should remove all wasp nests before attempting to paint.
8. Always use a roof ladder where soffit joins rooflines. If your home has areas that need to be painted above a roof line then rent a roof ladder for a day. Do not take the chance of sliding of a roof and killing yourself. A roof ladder hooks over the peak of the roof and lays flat on the shingles allowing you to safely walk up the ladder to service the wall and soffit areas above the roof line. They are inexpensive to rent.
9. Never place your ladder on a slope that falls backwards and away from the house. It is extremely important to always notch the ground using a shovel and pick. Carve out a flat spot in the soil to give a level, firm footing for your ladder levelers. You have to lean your latter against the house, sloped enough to allow for you to properly navigate up. This slope combined with the land slopping backward and away from your ladder, can make an extremely dangerous situation. Notch the ground and reseed the area latter. It is always best to play it safe. This is a very important safety tip that professional painting companies teach their workers. Carefully planning your painting project can go a long way in preventing accidents.
Make sure you are properly equipped to maximize safety. Properly plan the time needed to paint your house and decide if you have enough time to safely complete the project. Do not rush it. If you really find you do not have the time or are physically unable to safely tackle the project, then hire a professional painting company. They can do the project in a fraction of the time it will take you.