How to Build DIY Scaffolding
DIY scaffolding raises your work to new heights. Indoors, scaffolding helps you paint a ceiling, install crown molding, or add recessed lights. On the exterior, DIY scaffolding can be used to paint siding, pressure wash, work on eaves and fascia, repair windows, or do other first-story work.
Before You Begin
This two-tier DIY scaffolding consists of two A-frame-shaped support legs that look like step ladders. Each support leg is hinged with a 4-inch bolt. The lower rungs are 22 inches high and the upper rungs are 45 inches high. A removable 12-foot long by 23-inch wide platform rests across the rungs. The support legs can be folded flat for easy storage.
Take special care to place the DIY scaffolding on firm, level ground. Place the standing platform only on the bottom rungs or on the next rungs up. Do not place the standing platform on the top rungs.
This DIY scaffolding is only for homeowners doing non-commercial work in their own homes. The scaffolding does not fit within OSHA guidelines for work within the construction industry, so it is not OSHA-approved.
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Electric miter saw or circular saw
- Electric drill
- Drill bit set
- Speed Square
- 1 one-by-four, 8 foot
- 1 one-by-two, 8 foot
- 8 two-by-fours, 8 foot
- 6 one-by-sixes, 8 foot
- 2 two-by-twelves, 12 foot
- 4 zinc plated hex bolts, 1/2-inch by 4-inch
- 16 washers, 1/2-inch
- 2-inch screws, package
- Steel chain, 16 trade size, 120 inches total
- 8 lag bolts, 3/8-inch by 1-inch
Begin by cutting the wood according to the chart below:
Lumber Cut Size Quantity Function Part # One-by-two, 8 foot 18 inches 4 Rung spacers A Two-by-four, 8 foot Do not cut N/A Vertical support legs B One-by-six, 8 foot 36 inches 12 Rungs C Two-by-twelve, 12 foot Do not cut N/A Standing platform D One-by-four, 8 foot 22 inches 4 Standing platform connectors E
Mark Hinge Location
Use the speed square to mark 1-3/4-inch from the end and 1-3/4-inch from the side of a two-by-four (B). Drill a 5/8-inch hole at the mark. Repeat for the three other two-by-fours (B).
Assemble Vertical Support Legs
Attach two of the two-by-fours (B) with a 1/2-inch by 4-inch bolt, using washers at each end and a nut. Leave the hinged vertical support loose for now. Repeat three more times with the other two-by-fours.
Add Bottom Rung to Support Leg
Lay two of the hinged vertical support legs next to each other, 36 inches apart. Start on the left side. Use one of the rung spacers (A) as a template to measure upward from the bottom (the opposite end from the bolts).
Repeat with another rung spacer on the right side. Add a rung (C) above each rung spacer. Starting with pilot holes, screw the rung into place with three 2-inch screws on the left side, screwing into the outermost two-by-four. Screw the other side of the rung into place on the right side, screwing into the outermost two-by-four.
Add Top Rung to Support Leg
With the bottom rung in place, again use the rung spacers (A) as templates to measure upward for the top rung. Screw the top rung into place, remembering to screw it into the outermost two-by-fours of the support leg.
Add Rungs to Other Side of Support Leg
Add rungs to the other side of the support leg as you did previously. With this side, though, the rungs must be screwed into the innermost two-by-fours. Reuse the rung spacers from the first support leg side.
Build Second Support Leg
Build a second support leg exactly as you did with the first support leg.
Add Supportive Chain to Legs
Set each support leg upright and opened up. Separate the legs by 36 inches. Use the hacksaw to cut the chain into four lengths, each length 30 inches. Use the 3/8-inch by 1-inch lag bolts and washers to attach the chains to the legs.
Build Standing Platform
The two two-by-twelves (D) will act as a platform to stand on. To prevent the boards from separating, using 2-inch screws connect the boards with the four connectors (E). Attach one connector at each end. Attach the remaining two connectors 4 feet in from each end.
Angle Feet (Optional)
If you anticipate using the DIY scaffolding indoors, cut the feet level so they rest flat on the floor. For outdoor work, though, the feet will have better grip if they are left uncut.
Place DIY Scaffolding
Place the support legs far apart enough so that the standing platform's span is no more than 8 feet. The side of the platform with the connectors is the bottom. Be sure to place the platform at the center of the rungs. Placing the platform off-center may tip the scaffolding to the side.
When to Call a Professional
For interior scaffolding with working heights above 45 inches, rent scaffolding from a rental yard or from a home center that offers rentals. Rolling interior scaffolding with working heights up to 6 feet can be rented for $200 to $250 per week.