How To Use Drywall Stilts Safely

Working on drywall stilts may seem bizarre but with a little practice they work wonders.

Working on drywall stilts

Drywall stilts are an effective solution for those who need to work at height and don't want to be constantly climbing up and down ladders.

Of course, you can't argue that this is the right solution for all occasions but, in different circumstances, it can definitely prove to be the most practical and convenient solution.

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It is well known that to work at height, indoors, there are not many alternatives, indeed, the alternatives are substantially reduced to two:

  1. ladder
  2. scaffolding

The ladder is practical because it can be moved easily and has a small footprint, but having to climb up, down, move it and climb back up again, you soon realize that all this is a huge waste of time as well as a great effort.

Before I became aware of work stilts, I was therefore a great advocate of the scaffold, a mobile scaffold that allows you to work safely and in a much more stable manner than a ladder.

The scaffold also allows you to work on a larger surface (for example, a portion of the ceiling) than a ladder. Its disadvantage is that it is more cumbersome. Compared to a ladder, however, the Scaffold allows you to decrease the frequency with which you have to climb up and down to move to a new position.

Drywall stilts are the third way, an option that is gaining more and more popularity in the construction, interior decoration, and drywall installation industries.

In America, this type of tool is already abundantly in use, in Europe and other continents, however, happen to see it used quite rarely.

Drywall stilts for construction are basically an extension, a prosthesis of our own legs and allow us to work at height in total safety, if we respect the rules for their proper use.

At the circus or in some country shows you will have seen men on stilts, well imagine yourself as long as them and imagine being able to work directly on the ceiling of your house standing on your legs.

The drywall stilts that you can find on the market are technological solutions that are only distant relatives of the old wooden stilts; they are cushioned extensions that allow you to have a good sensitivity in the movements and allow you to work while reducing efforts to a minimum.

The material with which the stilts are constructed is, generally, aluminum, which offers strength and at the same time lightness to these tools for electricians, masons and drywall workers.

But let's see what are the advantages and disadvantages of using work stilts.

Pros and cons of drywall stilts

PROS

  • ability to do the work without interruptions from going up and down stairs or scaffolding
  • good sensitivity in movements even if it is not exactly like walking on your own legs
  • cost comparable to that of a good scaffold but with greater freedom of movement
  • takes up no space compared to ladders and scaffolding

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CONS

  • need to work in a clean and unobstructed space
  • inability to pick up objects from the ground; a small scaffold is needed where all the tools that will be used in the work can be placed in advance
  • perhaps a slight increase in the possibility of falling, especially if you are not working in a clean space
  • impossibility to interrupt the work to do something else, if not taking off and putting back on the stilts

In short, it could be summarized that drywall stilts are for many but not for all.

It is important to understand that in order to use these tools, one must prepare the workplace with a certain meticulousness and above all, one must spend time acquiring skill in the movements.

Are drywall stilts easy to use?

Walking on drywall stilts is a bit like learning to ride a bike: it takes time to practice and gain mastery of the tool.

No matter how sophisticated these tools are, we will never have the freedom of movement that we can have by simply walking on our legs and it is therefore essential that all possible obstacles in the working environment are removed before wearing stilts.

If you think you can walk on stilts on a floor full of rubble or other tools, on wet and slippery floors, on surfaces with holes or depressions you are completely wrong: stilts are not suitable in environments like these.

Of course, even without stilts it is not that working in environments like those described above can be considered convenient and respectful of your safety and personal security, but the use of work stilts only accentuates the intrinsic danger.

The video below shows how stilts should be worn and how to prepare the work area before putting them on.

The categories that can benefit from the use of stilts are different: drywallers, electricians, decorators...in short, all those figures who must work at ceiling level and must be able to do so in a practical and safe manner.

Differences between  work stilts

The biggest difference lies in the construction structure and, above all, in whether the height of the stilts is fixed or adjustable. I think there is no need to explain that for those who make intensive use of the stilts having a pair adjustable in height is essential to be able to operate at different heights simply by adjusting the height of the brackets.

The prices of drywall stilts

A pair of quality stilts starts at a price of about 100 USD to go up, much depends on the technical characteristics.

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DIY Editor
Do-it-yourself enthusiast. I started with the renovation of my flat and then I changhed this passion into my job.