Patrick's Barn: That's definitely not OSHA approved - Fine Homebuilding
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Editor's Notepad

Editor's Notepad


Patrick's Barn: That's definitely not OSHA approved

comments (7) February 11th, 2013 in Blogs
patrick_mccombe Patrick McCombe, Associate editor

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 didnt 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.
I was very relieved at this point. The lofts flat ceiling was done, and nobody got hurt. I believe the barns most difficult sheet of drywall to hang is now behind me. 
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 youre going to live with winter, you might as well enjoy the snow.
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.Click To Enlarge

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.

Photo: Carol Collins

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.



posted in: Blogs, patrick's barn

Comments (7)

gbaune gbaune writes: Calculated risks are only a bad idea if they fail. Hindsight will usually correct your daily risk factors and then you can proceed accordingly.
Posted: 3:39 pm on February 22nd

patrick_mccombe patrick_mccombe writes: Yes, your desciption of a 2x4 platform is what I first had in mind, but it just seemed like overkill. Of course I'd feel differently if my method put me in the hospital. I appreciate your thoughts.
Posted: 2:22 pm on February 14th

bski bski writes: Yes, I would rent scaffolding to hang one sheet of drywall if the project called for it. I would not put myself or my employees at risk just to save a few dollars. In this case, seeing as how scaffolding would have been a little overkill, I would have built a platform out of 2x4s and plywood. You could easily have tacked together a temporary platform that covered the whole stairwell to work safely and comfortably for both hanging and finishing the ceiling in less than ten minutes. Construction is already a dangerous job. There is no sense in making it worse.
Posted: 1:45 pm on February 14th

patrick_mccombe patrick_mccombe writes: Thanks for the comment bski. I'm curious. You'd rent scaffold to hang one sheet of drywall? How does one set it up on a 39-inch wide staircase? Where does one tie off in such a situation?
Have you ever gone skiing or rock climbing? Aren't they more dangerous than sitting at home?
Posted: 9:33 am on February 14th

bski bski writes: Why would you ever do something so dangerous at work, and then proudly post a picture of it? Part of being a fine home builder is working safely!! Not wearing a harness while balancing on a 2x6 15 ft above the ground has no place in a building magazine. You guys post pictures and stories of $200,000 kitchen remodels, and in the same forum post a picture of someone who is too cheap to rent some scaffolding to do a job safely. There is definately room in the budgets of the projects you do to do everything safely and by the book. You can not put a price on safety, ever! You should be ashamed of this post. This is homeowner quality work, not professional grade.
Posted: 8:56 am on February 14th

patrick_mccombe patrick_mccombe writes: Your idea is probably better, Cussnu2. The second part definitely!

Posted: 8:46 pm on February 11th

cussnu2 cussnu2 writes: Not a bad solution but I think I just would have thrown a couple of more 2x10's across the two stem walls and laid down a piece of playwood. Then you call the wifey and tell her to hold the drywall with her head. Your way avoided a potential argument but mine would have been quicker and allowed for makeup se.................
Posted: 5:02 pm on February 11th

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