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Maryland
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in the planning/permit phase of re-siding our house. House is balloon framed with wood clapboards nailed directly to the studs. The clapboards are rotting, so we'll be removing them in sections and applying OSB sheathing and tyvek.

The highest point of the gables is approximately 32 feet. I'm exploring my options for scaling the side of the house and so far, pump jacks seem to offer the best combination of safety, cost and ease of use. (Personally I would feel more comfortable on scaffolding, but the cost is ridiculous.) Having never used pump jacks, I'm a bit confused by the system. It appears as though aluminum poles are preferred to wooden ones; however, I can only find aluminum poles in 24' lengths. (Werner) These won't cut the mustard as I need to be able to reach the peak of the gables. Can someone with experience chime in and offer some insight? Can the poles be joined together to achieve more height?
 

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Maryland
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

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KemoSabe
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Thanks for the info! The aluminum system looks fantastic, but very pricey. Looks like I might have to go with steel pump jacks and wooden poles. Should be sufficient for the couple of weeks spent re-siding the house.
I've worked off of both. There is no way I'd go up on wood poles and steel jacks again. I'm not saying they aren't safe, but I am saying they aren't as nice as aluminum. Then again, I still have 9 aluminum poles at my disposal.

If you don't go with aluminum poles, at least get aluminum walk planks to use.:thumbsup:
 

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I've made 28 foot pump-jack poles by ripping 2 x 4's out of 28 foot
Douglas Fir, 2 X 8's.
Very strong - very little "flex" - very heavy.
Be careful after you have them set up - on soil + rain - the bottom
can sink.
We put pieces of 2 X 10 or 2 X 12 under the base.
Good luck!
Also, as "loneframer" states - aluminum planks!
You should be able to rent them.

rossfingal
 

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Have you priced "renting" scaffolding? Rent what you need to get up to the second floor, then stack to get up into the gable.
With pump jacks, you'll need a ladder to get yourself up on the roof to nail the brackets on with a couple buddies helping to push the pole up to you.
How steep is the roof?

30ft. up is no place to play if you've never used them before. Get the widest plank you can fit. Probably could use a buddy up there to help hoist a 4X8 sheet of OSB up unless you're the He Man type.:)
 

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Maryland
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The only place locally that rents scaffolding wants $260 a DAY for what equates to a 5 wide x 7 long x 30 high tower. I can buy the same size tower for around $1400. So basically, if I use the scaffolding for more than 5 days (which I will be) it makes the most sense to buy. I know that the scaffolding is a lot more labor intensive than the pump jacks, but the more I think about it, the more comfortable I think I'll be at 30 feet on scaffolding. And to me, that security is worth the extra labor/cost. Thanks for all of the feedback!
 

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KemoSabe
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It's only my opinion, but it sounds like you're going to need more than a single tower of scaffolding. How long is the house? How many floors?

I've hung literally thousands of sheets of sheathing off of pump jacks. Scaffolding is going to be a PITA.

Two poles will run you about 1200 bucks, another 800 or so for a couple walk planks.

When you are done, they will easily sell for 1400, so you pay 600 to use them as long as you need to. That's cheap rent if it takes you all Summer.
 

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Oh, depending on where you live, I'll rent you 3 of mine for the Summer.:laughing:
 

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Scaffolding being a PITA is almost an understatement.
There will be almost as much work involved dealing it than the work itself.

If you can’t swing the aluminum pole system you’d be better off with wood poles than staging. You can use wood poles up to 30’ in length, keep in mind though that you have to brace to the wall every 10’. The aluminum system you only brace to the wall every 25’.

With either system be sure to get the workbench holder with the jacks. You can use an extension ladder for the bench.
 

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KemoSabe
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Scaffolding being a PITA is almost an understatement.
There will be almost as much work involved dealing it than the work itself.

If you can’t swing the aluminum pole system you’d be better off with wood poles than staging. You can use wood poles up to 30’ in length, keep in mind though that you have to brace to the wall every 10’. The aluminum system you only brace to the wall every 25’.

If you go with the wood pole system be sure to get the workbench holder with the jacks. You can use an extension ladder for the bench.
Excellent advice.:thumbsup:
 

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Maryland
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
How safe are the aluminum pump jack systems? I have zero experience, but would obviously use the guard rails and workbench. For some reason, I think I'd feel comfortable pumping up, but not cranking down.

House faces are 25', 25', 70' and 70'. So I would need 3+ poles per side.
 

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KemoSabe
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How safe are the aluminum pump jack systems? I have zero experience, but would obviously use the guard rails and workbench. For some reason, I think I'd feel comfortable pumping up, but not cranking down.

House faces are 25', 25', 70' and 70'. So I would need 3+ poles per side.
I'd set up the 70' sides with 4 poles and 3 24' pics. The pumps are very safe. I've worked on them on and off for the last 14 years. They need to be set up properly, but aside from that, carelessness of the user is the only real danger. Pay attention to where you are and you are golden.

I recommend using planks with interlocking handles that the safety chain can be ran through so the planks don't overlap each other. Not all planks are built this way. Never do it with planks having plastic handles.
 
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The system itself is safe, the user on the other hand is a different story.

I would never want anyone on the plank with me if they weren’t comfortable being up there.

The poles “do” move around, there "is" swaying. When your holding that sheet against the wall the plank will push back some. The further away the jack is from the ground and the brace the more it moves. No big deal for me, it’s second nature but for some the movement is absolutely terrifying.

Which guy are you?

30’ is a long way up there and having 2 people (I assume you’ll have help) with no experience on the plank could be dangerous. Dropping a sheet of plywood (or anything else) from that high is unacceptable.

Not everything is DIY.

I’ll give you one tip on cranking down. Make sure the pump pedal is all the way in the up position before kicking out the release pedal to go down. If you don’t when you kick out the one the other will come flying back up at you (ouch), and the jack will drop a few inches instantly (it's pretty loud too). :eek:

You’ll probably only do that once though.
 

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What ron mentioned above is spot on. I've had helpers that once pumped up to second floor height, wouldn't move past the pole or constantly "held on" to the building.
Unless you and your helper are sure with heights, I'd rent a couple poles and planks for one day. You never mentioned how high the roof line is. Someone has to get on the roof to nail the pole brackets on.
Pump up as high as you can, and see how comfortable ya'll feel walking across the walk board. If your knees start knocking, you've wasted your money renting for a week or so.
If the roof is steep, you'll ave to pump the middle pole up higher then the outside one, moving the plank diagonal to get into the gable.
 

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Maryland
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The highest point of the gable end is 32 feet. I'll get used to the height, its the equipment that I have to get comfortable with. I just imagine the poles being extremely flimsy or the jack/plank suddenly disengaging and dropping. I'm sure my confidence level will increase once I can actually lay hands on the materials.

As far as connecting the brace/support to the roof... is this something that actually involves walking on the roof? Or can this generally be done from an extension ladder propped against the house?
 

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KemoSabe
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They can be fastened using an extension ladder in most cases. You'll want a ladder set up for easy access to and from the plank anyway.

You'll experience the most sway halfway up, between the ground and the bracket. When you get all the way up, there is very little movement in the poles.

It's important that you get into something solid with the lags supplied with the brackets for optimum safety. Make sure the safety chains go through the planks to prevent them from dropping off the supports when pumping up.

I originally bought 3 set-ups to do a cedar siding job on a house that I framed. I liked them so much, I started sheathing all my framing jobs off of them, then papering and installing windows while they were set up.

I ended up with 12 poles and jacks when it was all said and done.

Since the housing market tanked, they are collecting dust. At least they don't eat much.:laughing:
 

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A 24’ pole off a ladder is no problem, a 30’ pole ( as you need) gets a little more dicey. It really takes 3 people to set 30’+ poles safely.

You got to realize a 30’ pole is extremely top heavy. You want one guy on the roof with a rope tied to the top brace of the pole so he can pull it up. You also have a guy pushing it up. This guy is also steering and guiding the pole so it ends up where it needs to be. The third guy has his foot at the base so it won’t kick out.

If any one person fails their task it can get ugly fast.:yes:
 
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