Scaffolding a stairwell for ceiling maintenance

stairwell scaffold base

scaffold trapdoor stairwell scaffoldingAnybody who has lived in a two storey house will know the difficulty of reaching the ceiling above a stairwell.  Whether to change a lightglobe, dust a fitting, or sweep away cobwebs, there is usually a long handled instrument involved.  Painting such an area is equally challenging, with the distances changing from the steps of the stairs, and the need to be able to evenly coat along exacting lines.

Many will have tried using a ladder with varying results.  For my own part, even setting up a ladder on a set of stairs seems fraught with danger, and to actually mount one requires a firm hand gripping the ladder at all times.  This makes any paint prep or actual painting quite tedious, with the inability to manage the multiple tasks of balancing, holding on, holding a paint tin, and carefully applying paint in an even manner to the required area.

scaffold ladder

stairwell scaffold midThe pictures here show the professional approach, with a 4 metre high single width scaffold filling the stairwell, and providing a sturdy working area that can be accessed along the entire length of the stairwell overhead. Those of you with a keen eye will have noticed that the end platform is 400mm higher than the other platforms.  This is to provide sufficient headroom on the mid level platform when you ascend the ladder to stand without contacting the underside of the top working platform.

Each of the ladders is positioned through a trapdoor on the platform, and extends above the middle handrail to provide stability and handholds for those who ascend. The trapdoors are designed to be closed once the worker has transitioned to the working level, reducing the void space around the ladder and therefore increasing safety.

Each level of the scaffold along its’ entire length is braced against the walls of the stairwell.  Care is taken to minimise the impact this may have on the finish on the walls, however the primary concern is the stability of the scaffold and the safety of those who will be working on it.  The scaffold is leveled through the use of the appropriate standards to meet the stairwell and minor adjustments are made with the screw-jacks.

stairwell scaffold base end

scaffold platform join

I have included a photo of the join between two of our platforms.  These aluminium and ply platforms are the same as those that can be purchased with our walk-through or mobile scaffolds.  The use of ply as a surface on the platform is deliberate, with the surface traction being more readily maintained on a ply surface, and the occasional need to add wooden planks to a scaffold erection being facilitated by a platform to which they can be nailed or screwed where necessary.


stairwell scaffold ladder