DIY Exterior Painting – How to Use your Ladder Safely

DIY Exterior Painting – How to Use your Ladder Safely

23rd May 2018

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been publishing some advice for avid DIY-ers who decide to tackle the job of painting the exterior of their homes.  We began with some general safety advice, followed by some tips on making sure that the ladder chosen is safe to use for the job.  Today we’re going to have a look at some of the issues to take into account when it comes to using a ladder in a safe manner.

When using a ladder to access the upper parts of the building for painting, it’s vital that the ladder is securely placed on stable ground.  Placing the feet of a ladder on gravel or soil can lead to the ladder slipping and result in an accident.  We can’t stress enough how important it is to ensure that the ladder is on a solid surface.  While it may be tempting to ignore this advice, especially in areas where it’s difficult to find a solid surface, it’s a recipe for disaster!  Just take a look at the photo of this ladder with one of its feet on a step and the other in mid-air – this really is an accident waiting to happen.

Ascent (Not) Safety Ladders

If you cannot access all the parts of the house that you need to paint safely using a ladder, then it would be best to consider using a work platform instead.

Chances are that painting the outside of the house will take more than one day so you’ll need to make sure that all of your tools and equipment are stored in a safe and tidy manner in between painting sessions.  Make sure that everything is kept out of areas where people normally walk as it’s so easy to forget that there is extra stuff in the garden and trip over it or walk into it as you go outside to do gardening jobs or peg washing out.

If using a leaning ladder, it should be tied securely at the top to prevent it from slipping during use.  You should also remember that when using a ladder, you need to keep three points of contact with the ladder at all times.  Don’t be tempted to over-reach when painting, especially when using a roller with a long handle.  In fact, it’s probably best not to use such a long handle when you’re on a ladder because it will always tempt you to over-reach.  Use a roller with a shorter handle instead and just accept that you’ll need to be moving the ladder along frequently to access new areas to paint.

If painting the outside of your property you’ll need to be moving the ladder fairly regularly.  Don’t’ forget that each time the ladder is moved to a different location, you need to be vigilant and check every time that the ladder is set up safely before climbing it.

When the job is finished, all tools and equipment should be cleaned before being stored.  This is especially important for ladders and other access equipment used during painting work.  Paint will splash onto the equipment and these splashes should be cleaned off, preferably whilst they are still wet and can be wiped with a damp rag.  When a ladder gets covered in paint splashes, it can make it very difficult to inspect the ladder in the future to determine whether or not it is still fit for use.