Patrick’s Barn: That’s definitely not OSHA approved
One of the great things about working on your own projects is that you can decide for yourself what’s an appropriate amount of risk. I’ve been thinking about how to hang the drywall over my barn’s stair opening for weeks now. My first plan was to build a temporary floor to support my new drywall lift, but the 5-ft. by 12-ft. opening wasn’t very material friendly. It would also mean I’d be stuck up there until the job was done.
My second idea came during a period of insomnia when I decided I only needed a platform for one wheel. This method was finally distilled to a single plank spanning the opening. I took some measurements to ensure that the lift would be in the center of the nearly 12-ft. sheet. I put the plank in the right spot and disassembled the lift to make it easier to put it into position. I locked all the casters and lashed the legs to the half-wall and plank with Romex wire, and then I put the lift tower onto the wheeled base while standing on the safer side of the half-wall.
When my wife popped in to check on my progress, she looked at my rig and declared, “That’s definitely not OSHA approved.” I suspect she’s right, but I had near-total confidence in the rig after giving it a good shake. The only scary part was getting the sheet on the lift solo. I should have asked my wife for help, but I didn’t want to risk anyone’s safety but my own. Once the panel was on the lift, I took it up slowly and steadily. When it was touching the ceiling, it was very stable, and I breathed a sigh of relief. In retrospect, I should have hung this most-difficult sheet first, as it took a little too much fine-tuning to make it fit. It would have been much easier had it been the first sheet to go on the ceiling.
You can read more about my barn here.
This is the method I came up with for hanging the last sheet of drywall over the stair opening. I had two plans in mind: "fully framed temporary platform" and "down and dirty". As you can see, "down and dirty" won out. The Romex around the legs was meant to ensure that nothing would move.
I first measured the center of the panel so I could get the plank and the lift in the right spot on the first try. I didn't want the thing toppling over as I raised the sheet. Once the panel was tight to the ceiling, the rig was quite stable. I even leaned on it lightly when reaching for the far away screws.
Finishing drywall hanging early in the day gave me a little time to play in the snow with the family. My wife and son built the igloo while I worked in the barn. The day before, we made a cross-country ski loop around the property. If you're going to live with winter, you might as well enjoy the snow.
I was very relieved at this point. The loft's flat ceiling was done, and nobody got hurt. I believe the barn's most difficult sheet of drywall to hang is now behind me.