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Working On The Exterior Of Your House

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Working on the exterior of your home with a ladder requires care and concentration. Before you climb up, scan under your eaves for the telltale signs of wasps -- you usually can spot their paper nests hanging down or clinging to the backs of fascia boards. Keep an eye out for hidden bee and animal nests that could cause a sudden surprise.

The safest kind of scaffolding is the steel pipe system, which is available from most rental centers. It provides stable support and offers a wide, safe work platform made of aluminum planks locked into the scaffolding frame. Typically, these systems use adjustable base plates for uneven ground. Despite their size, they are relatively easy to assemble and disassemble.

Working with tall ladders can be tricky, so it's worth it to take the time to set up properly and keep things safe. First, place the ladder so the feet are away from the building at a distance that's about one-fourth the height of the ladder. Make sure the legs are on a level surface. If they're not, use wood shims to level them. If the ground slopes away from the house, you can prevent the ladder from slipping by putting a 2x4 across the base of the ladder and holding the 2x4 in place by driving stakes behind it. Use good stout stakes and set them at least 8 inches into the ground. To keep the top of the ladder from slipping, put nonslip ladder boots over the ends, or wrap a piece of cloth around them. That helps prevent damage to the siding, too.

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