Exterior updates are great for increasing the curb appeal and the value of your home. Many people can undertake exterior renovations on their own, but they often do so without take the right safety precautions. If you're painting old siding, installing new gutters, getting new siding, or replacing second story windows, you need to make sure you stay safe on the job. Accidental falls result in over half a million deaths each year. When you make safety a priority, you lower your risk of becoming part of that statistic.
Here are some safety tips that can help you complete your DIY home renovation safely.
1. Rent or buy scaffolding for second story projects.
There's a reason why commercial building construction and professional residential workers use scaffolding. It's simply the safest method for working on second story (or taller) exterior projects. There are several benefits to using scaffolding:
- It's easy to take down and put up. Small scaffolding for a home project won't add too much time to your work.
- You have place to set your tools. If you're working on a ladder instead of a scaffold, where do you set your hammer, drill, paint brush, or roller? Unfortunately, even if you keep things in a tool belt, you risk changing your center of gravity or losing your grip on handholds. Scaffolding offers a wide surface for paint cans and tool storage, reducing the number of times you have to go up and down or balance while trying to hold something while standing on a ladder.
- More people can work on the project at once. With ample standing room, you can get family members to help with sanding, painting, or installation. If a window is heavy, for example, you can have another set of hands on the scaffold to help you lift it into place.
As you can see scaffolding is an essential material for safety. Consider purchasing scaffolding to use for future projects, or if you're not usually doing height work, rent some from a local tool company.
2. Secure ladders before beginning work.
Never just lead a ladder against a wall if you're climbing up to the roof to make some repairs. Ladders should always be firmly planted and secured on both top and bottom. This way, no one can knock a ladder out from under you, nor can the ladder fall back away from the house should you accidentally lose your balance. If you don't have the tools to secure a ladder, make sure someone always is there to hold the ladder when another person is going up or down.
3. Wear head and eye protection.
Falling items are a risk in exterior work. Those working on the ground when someone is working above should always have head protection just in case a paint can, tool, or construction material is kicked or knocked down from the ladder or scaffold. Falling objects can cause serious head injuries even from a short height. You might feel like it's overboard to wear a hard hat for a small home project, but your head is worth protecting.
4. Use a harness.
For roof work, ladder work, or anything that requires something other than a scaffold, you should wear a harness and anchor yourself as a back up in case you should fall from the roof. Harnesses are used by roofers to prevent bad falls. These can also be rented from a tool supply store.
Your at home work should never put your life at risk. If you follow these safety tips, your exterior will look more beautiful than ever, and you'll have no injuries to show for it.