DIY Disaster Waiting to happen
When you are working at height for prolonged periods you need to use scaffolding. It is not safe or sensible to balance on a ladder to replace windows, fix guttering or replace roof tiles. It is certainly not a good idea to balance scaffold boards (sometimes called scaffold planks) on a ladder like this guy.
These DIY’ers have decided to avoid the cost of scaffold tower hire or the cost of having professional scaffolding erected, but the cost to their safety cannot be measured. They may get away with this makeshift scaffolding, but if they continue to work in a way that cuts corners like this, then eventually their luck will run out.
When Do I need to use Scaffolding?
You can work from a ladder to carry out any building or DIY jobs that are short term jobs, that is they are tasks that can be completed in minutes rather than hours. You can also use ladders where the task is a low risk one, in other words where you will not be balancing heavy objects or leaning out away from the ladder, and where the ladder is not extending over fragile surfaces, and can be properly secured. You can also use a ladder where a risk assessment has shown that is is the safest way of carrying out a job because scaffolding or or other equipment cannot be used for some reason.
Contrary to popular belief there is not a maximum height for working from a ladder, but if the ladder rises more than nine meters you should incorporate rest platforms. The HSE, Health Safety Executive has lots of information on safety for builders and anyone working on building projects. In case you were wondering that does include DIYers and Home Improvers, because lets face it, the jobs you are doing are just as potentially dangerous as the ones the professionals are doing.
If you are working from a ladder, you should always make sure your ladder is secure, preferably by tying it, or by using a stability device, or wedging your ladder against a wall, see more in our ladder safety project. If you think you might need to use a scaffold tower, have a look at our relevant scaffolding project too.
We have been reviewing tools and equipment in our workshop and film studio again. This time we thought we would ask you to think about a lightweight platform to work from when working at height. While you may need a ladder for some jobs for others you will find yourself balancing on a chair or stool because it is ‘easier’ than getting out the step ladder.
If you recognise this scenario you would probably make good use of this working platform. It is aluminium, with folding legs, so it is easy to store and move around. It has a wide base which allows you to get a good stable stance if you are drilling or scraping etc. It can also be used as a workbench or sawhorse – but keep it clear of clutter when you are using it to stand on.
See this and other similar reviews on our You Tube channel.
Periods of sustained rain are not great news for any of us, but you will easily be able to spot any leaks in your gutters and downpipes.
Water running down external walls and pooling on the ground below the leak will cause damage to decor and may cause water to seep into walls. So it is important to prevent the causes as soon as possible.
Use a camera to pinpoint the problems
It is not advisable to try to repair or replace leaking gutters while it is actually raining but if you take photos of where the are leaks or areas that overflow while it is raining, it will be easier to remember where the problems are once the weather dries up.
Before you assume that gutters need replacing you should check to ensure whether the gutters are simply blocked with leaves or other debris washed off the roof, rather than items that need repair or replacement such as faulty joints, or split or damaged sections of gutter.
If you simply need to empty gutters of leaves and debris you may find our video tutorial on an extending ladder useful. These new videos showcase tools that we have reviewed for our customers. You can also find a quick roundup of the review, a link to other customers’ reviews, and you can click through to buy the product if you are tempted.
When replacing gutters is the best option
From time to time you will need to replace gutters, as they will eventually perish due to exposure to the elements. Plastic gutters will deteriorate more quickly whereas aluminium gutters usually come with guarantees for their lifetime. Speak to your supplier about how long you can expect their rainwater goods to last. You can then balance the cost of each product against the length of time before it might need replacing again.
See our project on replacing plastic gutters, otherwise you might consider aluminium gutters.
DIYDoctor’s Mike Edwards has been busy trying out a host of Home Improvement products, from Ladders to drills, screws to shoes and everything in between.
There are hundreds of tool reviews coming over the next few months
These are being loaded onto the website now and we hope they prove an invaluable resource to all our visitors.
Each page has a video showing the item being used and discussing its merits and any downsides. There is also an overview and rating from the Doc, a list of the features, a note of what you get for your money ‘what’s in the box’ and a link to read more reviews from customers who have already bought the product.
If you like what you see you can simply click on the buy button to have it delivered direct to you.
Find all our videos by clicking on the Video Tool Review button to the left hand side of our home page.
Find tool reviews under the 'Video Tool Reviews' button on the site
Click here to visit the main page and have a look around the reviews http://www.diydoctor.org.uk/product-reviews/, don’t forget to keep coming back as we will be uploading more videos in the coming weeks.
We would also love to get feedback from you, so let us know what you think, and if you have any suggestions about other products to feature, or details you would like to see included, then please leave your comments on this page.
A new addition to the projects on diydoctor is ‘how to wallpaper a stairwell’ - a tricky job, and not one many people feel confident tackling, so we have created a project to help.
Most people’s main concern is the height and angle you can be working at when you are papering (or painting for that matter) the stairs, so it is vital that you have a safe area to work. We suggest you construct a platform - you can either use a special ladder for using on stairs or construct your own platform using boards – just make sure sure it is safe and secure.
We already have projects to help with choosing wallpaper and using the right wallpaper adhesive, but this page gives you advice and tips on pasting, hanging and trimming your paper so you get a professional finish.
You can also refer to our hanging wallpaper and wallpapering a ceiling projects. Good luck with your wallpapering!