If you’re a professional contractor, you’ve undoubtedly heard about drywall stilts before. They seem handy, but are they the right tool for you?
Drywall stilts might look daunting, but they’re an invaluable tool for contractors that regularly work at tall heights. They allow you to easily reach ceilings and other lofty spaces. And despite their intimidating appearance, stilts are shockingly easy to use.
Want to learn more about drywall stilts and how they can benefit your business? Here's what you need to know about drywall stilts, including why you need them and how to use them. By the time you reach the end of this article, you'll have all the information you need to use stilts safely and competently.
What Are Drywall Stilts?
Like the performance stilts used in circuses and parades, drywall stilts are designed to make the user taller. But performance stilts and drywall stilts aren’t the same thing. The main differences between the two are their intended use and features.
Drywall stilts are built for stability. If you were to try both performance stilts and drywall stilts, you'd find it much easier to balance and walk around with the latter. Drywall stilts are usually made from durable aluminum, magnesium, or another kind of metal; you'll never see them made from wood like traditional stilts. They have a larger foot on the bottom compared to other kinds of stilts, which is what makes them so stable. They also feature springs, which allow the user to bend at the ankle, and holes with a locking bolt that you can use to adjust the height of the foot platform.
When To Use Drywall Stilts
Despite the name, you can use drywall stilts for more than just drywalling. These versatile tools are used for everything from construction to electrical work to painting. But in terms of drywall installation, stilts are used when a contractor needs to reach the ceiling or another tall and hard-to-reach place.
That said, you should exercise caution when you're using drywall stilts. Stilts are a great option when you're working in a clean, decently sized space with a small crew. However, they aren't safe to use in crowded and untidy spaces or other areas where tripping and falling poses a serious risk. In these kinds of workspaces, a secure and sturdy ladder or a moving platform are the safest choices.
How To Attach and Walk With Your Drywall Stilts
Now that you know why you need drywall stilts, you probably want to know how to use them. These stilts might look intimidating, but they're not as hard to use as you'd think. Here's a brief step-by-step guide on how to attach and use your drywall stilts.
Before you attach your stilts, inspect them for signs of wear-and-tear and for broken, missing, or worn-down straps. If the stilts are damaged in any way, don't use them. You'll need to fix or replace them to avoid injury.
If your drywall stilts are in good condition, you can proceed with attaching them. If you aren't used to attaching stilts, put them on while sitting down. If possible, you'll want to choose a sitting surface that lets you bend your knee at a 90-degree angle, so the stilts sit vertically.
Drywall stilts attach over your work boots and work pants. Start by placing your heel in the heel cup and tightening the straps. Once your foot is secure, attach the leg straps with the knee brace sitting directly below the knee.
Before you stand, check the straps and make sure they're tied tightly. Once you're confident that the fit of your stilts is secure, you can stand. You might have trouble standing on your own. If this is the case, ask someone to pull you up.
You'll also want someone to keep an eye on you as you practice moving around. Some people are natural stilt walking masters, but others will need time and practice to get the hang of it. Fortunately, walking with stilts isn't too different from walking normally. You just need to move a bit slower, bend your knees more, and lift your legs higher than you usually would. Ideally, you should practice walking in stilts at home or in a safe space before using them on an active job site.
The Benefits of Using Drywall Stilts
While you don't necessarily need drywall stilts to hang drywall, they make completing jobs much faster and much easier. Here are a few reasons contractors should invest in drywall stilts and use them on the job.
Stilts are great time-savers. With stilts, you won't have to constantly climb up and down a ladder or move a platform around when you're working on a ceiling or another tall area. If you need to reach up high, all you need to do is use the holes and locking bolt to adjust your stilts to the desired height.
Drywall stilts come in various sizes. The most popular sizes are 18-30", 24-40", and 48-64". A size of 18-30" means the stilts add a minimum of 18" to a maximum of 30" of extra height. You can easily adjust them to the exact height you need. While 18-30" stilts are great for jobs where you’re working with 8–9-foot ceilings, 24-40" stilts work best when dealing with 10-foot ceilings. You can use stilts that are 48-64" or larger to reach extremely tall areas that would normally be impossible or tiresome to get to.
Stilts won't just save you time, but they can also save you money. Since you'll spend less time on each job using stilts, you can save on labor costs for your team. You can also use the time you save to take on additional jobs and further increase your profits.
Moving platforms and ladders take up a lot of space and can clutter your workspace. On the other hand, stilts are compact, so they won't get in the way even if you aren't using them. The compactness of stilts makes them especially valuable when you're working in small areas and need to keep the work site clear.
If you're looking for durable, easy-to-use, and high-quality drywall stilts for sale, you're in the right place. Timothy's Toolbox is the place to shop if you need professional-grade tools for your next drywall job. We have great products at great prices. Whether you're shopping for yourself or for your whole crew, come and see what we have to offer!