Use Sturdy Scaffolding
Working alone on ladders can be inefficient and dangerous, especially because you’ll be tempted to overextend your reach and carry too many tools, paint cans, shingles or lumber when no one is on hand to pass you things. Nothing speeds up high, solo work like the spacious elevated work platform scaffolding provides. You’ll be able to keep materials and tools at arm’s length and safely reach a wide area without constantly moving ladders.
The scaffolding doesn’t have to be anything fancy. When you have a job less than 10 ft. from the ground, set a couple of solid, crack-free, 2x12 boards (avoid large knots) over a pair of sturdy sawhorses for a platform you can move around on. Just make sure your setup is on even ground to keep the horses from collapsing, and avoid “walking the plank” by remembering that there are no safety rails. Keep plank ends close to sawhorses or they’ll flip up when you step on the ends, like they do in slapstick movies (only it won’t be nearly as funny in real life).
For higher jobs, like painting second-floor eaves or replacing windows or siding, go to the rental store and examine your scaffolding options. You can rent long, lightweight aluminum planks with various styles of jacks to support them and the same platform “section style” scaffolding you see the pros use on big construction sites. Tell the scaffolding supplier about the job you’re planning to do and how high you’ll be working to get help choosing the best scaffold. Most scaffolding can be carried in a pickup, but rental stores will deliver too. You’ll forgive the cost when you see how your productivity increases.