Safe Scaffolding for painting above an attached garage.

Picture of Safe Scaffolding for painting above an attached garage.
The pictured setup is over 20 years old. In my previous job as an R&D engineer for a government research lab the geek quotient was way up there. When you did a job at home and came up with an idea you would take pictures and bring them in to show others. 
I live near the coast and salt spray makes your shingles take a beating, therefore I stain one side of my house each year. So every 4 years I have to paint over my attached garage. It extends about 10ft above the garage and I came up with this: Plywood with vertical and horizontal cleats, indoor carpet on the bottom and ladder stabilizers attached to a 16ft extension ladder.

The plywood distributes the weight and the carpet protects and grips onto the garage roof. This unit has never shifted ever, I have a matching one for the other side but don't seem to need it. I originality had a 4x4 flat scaffold that easily assembled in place stradling the roof peak, I haven't used it in years but I have loaned it out.

2x8 1/2 inch plywood sheet

8ft of cheap indoor outdoor carpet (HD sells them in 3ft runner width)

Outdoor carpet glue

2, 1x3 x 8ft stapping

2x4 x 4ft

1 1/4 sheet rock wood screws (all the rest)

2 in sheet rock screws (just a few) 

Liquid nails glue (1 tube)

16ft ladder

Set of ladder levelers (try to get the ones with the square bottom they lock in better).

No they are not cheap, but long ago I determined my life was worth more than a shingle and a brick, both of my ladders have these my house is a walkout in the back and they were needed for the slope on the sides the swivel ball feet are necessary for safety. 
Here is one from Amazon

I won't go into their installation they are all different just follow the directions.


Circular Saw

Drill (driver bit)

Caulk gun (for Liquid Nails)

Build / use  at your own risk, I make no guarantees. 

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greend882 years ago
A much safer way for someone to do this would be to wrap the support board over the top of the roof to be 100% sure it wouldn't slide off. I know the carpet has worked for you but who's to say it will work for everyone. You could put a hinge so it folds flat and once you get it on the roof you just swing half over the other side of the roof.
Sounds like you are onto a product idea. Make it a 'rope ladder' with solid bars. At each end there would be a hook thing that goes onto the overhang. One end would have a cinch mechanism to adjust to different size roofs. Rolls up and stores small. Light weight and fits in a box at the hardware store.
old_alex (author)  greend882 years ago
The second one I have was for just that, the 2x4 had a rope around it that looped over the peak and around the second. Tied in a taught line knot so that it could be adjusted when moved. Originally there was a 4ft x 4ft flat scaffold at the peak where it tied off to this too had the carpeting. it was a dual x frame with cross members at the ends and middle. It has vertical supports and was crowned with a 4x4 platform. It was an engineering marvel but overboard for the work I do. Though I loaned it out to a neighbor doing chimney work. For that it was ideal (I may use on mine when I need to re-point it. The flat area was a good work area but was only useful for large jobs like replacing the octagon window in the picture. It was more work than it was worth. I then whet to just the two sides and eventually down to one.

The second is a mirror image, given the slope of your roof the use of the second may be warranted with a line between. Another idea I did not use was a T support that could be screwed to the scaffold at the appropriate length. That was also never needed given my slope.
I fell 20 feet from an extension ladder onto a concrete ledge. Although I broke my back (sacrum), I was VERY lucky that it was not worse. In my case, the ladder was set up on a slope and the top was against the ledge of a second story deck with nothing below it. The bottom feet of the ladder slipped out and I fell down. Moral of the story, make absolutely certain that the bottom of the ladder cannot move, no matter what. Kudos for the safety warning on this Instrucatble. Safe and happy climbing....
rimar20002 years ago
Clever idea.