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Man cutting hedge

Let’s set the scene. The sun’s out, you’re in the back garden soaking up the rays, ice cool drink in hand. You lift your sunglasses off your face and squint in the sunlight at the back of your house. You notice that some of the paint is peeling off, the gutter is clogged with leaves and moss and the surrounding hedge is looking like a mad scientist’s hairstyle. It all looks a bit of a mess.

Summer is the perfect time to sort these external problems out. While it may not be quite as relaxing as lounging around in a deckchair with a book, it’ll make you feel a lot more productive once it’s done. Plus, depending on the weather, you might still be able to get that tan you’re after.

Here are five DIY jobs you should think about doing this summer.

1.       Clean the windows

The summer may be known for water-fights and swimming pools but there’s another water use to think about: cleaning your windows. Most window cleaners only get rid of the surface level of dirt and dust, so summer is the perfect time to give them a thorough clean. Just think of how good you’ll feel when you see that lovely evening sun glistening off them, not a watermark in sight.

Nevertheless, always make sure to use the correct equipment when cleaning your windows. Especially when working at height, you should have a stable ladder that you can trust. Check out our range here.

2.       Clear the gutters

Talking of working at height, before you clean your windows it could be a good idea to clear your gutters. If you haven’t emptied them for a while, the falling autumnal leaves could cause them to clog, making them redundant in the winter.

While rain is probably the last thing you want to think about during the summer, getting the task completed now before the winter comes will make you feel a lot more relieved when the rainy season starts. The last thing you want to find is that your gutter is blocked when it’s raining, meaning you have to get soaked while sorting it out.

3.       Repaint the outside of your home

Seeing your house in the bright sunshine can make it obvious how in need of an update it is. As the outside of the home is the first thing you see, it sets the first impression, so you want to make sure it looks good.

Whether you are carrying out a full paint job on the whole of the property, or just touching up a few key areas in need of some attention, the summer is the perfect time to do it. However, make sure you use the correct equipment when doing so. Use an extending roller brush for painting from the ground and, again, use a stable and trusty ladder when carrying out the finishing touches.

4.       Get gardening

When the sun comes out, the natural beauty of our gardens starts to show. Flowers bloom, trees blossom – it’s the perfect time to get those shears out of the shed and get pruning.

Whether you have trees or hedges, summer is a great time to do a bit of light trimming, keeping everything in check. With proper garden maintenance, you’ll be able to create your very own outside oasis to sit back and relax in, surrounded by colours and fresh summer smells.

5.       Clear the loft/attic

Ok, so this one isn’t outside but it’s still a good idea to get done in the summer. It might not give you the tan you’re looking but clearing your loft or attic space will make you feel a lot better and much more productive. Plus, it’ll give you extra space to store bulky summer items, such as deckchairs and sports equipment.

Make sure to use a trusty loft ladder if you don’t have one already. The last thing you want to do is have a nasty fall, and spend the rest of your summer in a hospital room. For some top tips on how to avoid this possibility, making sure you stay safe when clearing the loft, please click here.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

We’re coming into that time of year where the sun is finally coming out and summer is on its way. Hopefully as well, if it’s anything like last year, we should be in for a real treat. I’m talking beaches, BBQs and beer galore.

Summer isn’t only a time for BBQs and beers on the beach though. For many people, it’s also the perfect time to grab the shears and get into the garden, pruning and trimming away. It’s similarly a great time for being able to pick your very own home-grown fruit and vegetables.

New heights

However, since plants and trees often grow taller than people, in order to reach those higher fruits or branches, you’ll need more than just shears or your hands to help: you’ll need a trusty ladder as well.

Now, since gardens are often made of uneven ground like soil, grass or turf, it’s vital that the ladder you choose is able to stably support you while you chop or pick away. Otherwise, you could be in for a nasty accident.

Many people often overlook the importance of this ladder choice though, assuming it’ll be fine to use any old ladder since it’s only be being used for a short period of time. Don’t make this mistake. Never put your own safety into question, and never underestimate just how important a garden ladder can be.

A foolish fall

It’s important that you take the time to place your ladder properly. Uneven garden surfaces can be annoying and make it difficult for you to place your ladder securely and safely. It’s easy to feel frustrated by this, simply giving into temptation and climbing up regardless of safety.

While you might get away with it once or twice, rushing your ladder placement is really not a good idea. An unstable ladder can lead to nasty falls and accidents that could leave you in the hospital for most of the summer. No beers or BBQs for you.

Even if you’re only working a metre or short distance up the ladder, don’t take the risk. Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive actually show that some of the most devastating injuries occur from shorter falls. Therefore, just because you’re using a ladder that isn’t too tall, it doesn’t make it any less important to make sure it’s fully stable before you use it.

Taking a step towards safety…

Overcoming the issue of an uneven garden surface is surprisingly simple. If you spend a lot of time in the garden, or are particularly worried about working at height when pruning or fruit picking, you should think about investing in a specialist ladder, such as a telescopic, fruit picking or garden ladder.

These ladders have been specially designed to account for soft, uneven surfaces such as lawns, turf and soil. They allow you to adjust the leg before you start work, letting you find the optimum point for ladder stability. Once you’re set up, you can rest assured that the ladder will hold in place while you work away.

Ensuring correct garden ladder safety is vital. Not only will it keep you safe, but it will also make those summer beers and BBQs taste even better.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Ladder to the loft

Spring and Summer time are great seasons for longer evenings and warmer weather, but for a lot of people, they are also a great time for clearing loft space.

But how can you optimise your time and make sure that you are clearing out your loft space effectively? The first step, of course, is to have a sturdy loft ladder that you can rely on when making the journeys up and down with boxes.

Once that is all sorted though, here are some great tips to think about before you get going:

Protection

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is not just for professionals. It is there to keep everybody safe, so before you ascend up and down that loft ladder, make sure you are well-protected.

The first piece of equipment you should think about is an FFP3 Grade dust mask. Unless you’re in the habit of hoovering your loft regularly, there will be a lot more dust up there than in the rest of your house. Make sure you guard against this and give yourself more room to breathe.

Another couple of safety items to consider using are a strong pair of gloves and, if there isn’t a loft light, a decent torch.

Watch out for animals

The number of animals which nest in loft and attic spaces is often under-estimated. Whether it be bats, birds or mice, many animals can live (and die) in your loft space, so make sure to keep an eye out for them. With any dead animals that you find, make sure you dispose of them properly and ideally use those protective gloves that we mentioned.

However, if you find any bats, wasps or bees nesting in your loft, it might be an idea to get a professional in to deal with them. This is especially the case with wasps and bees nests, due to their extremely territorial nature. Health and safety is already a big enough problem when clearing the loft without the added insects chasing after you!

Get someone to help

Climbing up and down loft ladders can be a risky thing to do, regardless of how sturdy you think they are. It’s easy to accidentally take the wrong step and injure yourself, so having somebody there is useful from a health and safety point of view.

Not only that, but it will halve the length of time its takes to clear the loft, and will make it easier to handle those difficult choices about what to keep or not.

Final thoughts

Having strong and reliable access equipment is vital to ensuring that you stay safe while clearing the loft. Have a look at the range of loft ladders that we offer, or contact us today if you need any further help or advice with organising your loft space.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Working at height

In today’s day and age of video tutorials and an abundance of expert advice available at the click of a button, it can be tempting to cut corners to save yourself time and money.

However, when it comes to roof repair you should really leave it up to the professionals. Why, you ask? Here are just a few reasons:

Safety

It goes without saying that repairing a roof will involve working at a significant height, so having the correct health and safety training is vital. Professional roofers receive training on which parts of the roof it is safe to stand on, and also know when and where to use the correct equipment.

Aesthetic

The roof is a key element of a house’s outer aesthetic, so it’s important to make sure it looks good. Professional roofers are specialists in their trade so you can rest assured that they will leave it looking in great condition. On the contrary, doing it yourself could leave the roof in a poor condition, featuring non-uniform tiles or rippling shingles. Is it really worth taking the risk?

Insurance

Professionals are insured to complete the repair work. You, on the other hand, are not. This means that if something were to happen while you were repairing the roof yourself, such as the roof collapsing, your home insurance would not cover the costs. It would therefore be your responsibility to fix and pay for the damage, which could lead to spending more money than it would have been in the first place.

Money

While you may think that doing it yourself will save you money, it actually might not. Professionals are able to identify small issues that could progress into more serious problems down the line, sorting them out there and then. Doing it yourself could miss these potential issues, leading to more money being spent on fixing the problems down the line.

Hiring a professional will also provide you with a warranty for the work carried out, so you will be covered if there are any issues later on.

As a professional roofer, you will know better than anyone the importance of a strong and reliable roof ladder. Precipitous offer a range of ladders and scaffolding towers to suit your needs – whether that be as a roofer, window cleaner or any other trade. Take a look at the full range on offer here.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Stepladder safety and inspection tips

28 March 2019 12:46:06 GMT

stepladderIn our last blog, we looked at what to check for when deciding if a ladder is safe to use. This included things like the condition of the ladder, the task at hand and where the ladder is positioned. When thinking about stepladders, many of the same issues need to be taken into account. Of course, some things will be different when it comes to checking and using a stepladder. Take a look at our advice below where we will look at some of the similarities and differences to consider when utilising a stepladder for the task at hand.

Always check your stepladder

Just like with normal ladders, it is crucial that you check that your stepladder is in good condition before you use it. Use the same common-sense checks that you would do when looking at a ladder. Is your stepladder damaged? Are any of the steps missing or unstable? Is there anything on the stepladder that could present a hazard or cause you to fall?

If the answer to any of these is yes, you should think about getting a new stepladder. The height you’re working at might be much lower than on a standard ladder, but you are still at risk of a fall if the stepladder is not in good condition. Even a short fall can be incredibly dangerous to you and your health.

Think about the task at hand

Stepladders are great for smaller tasks or working indoors, but you still need to be careful. Remember to maintain three points of contact. This means keeping two feet and one hand on the stepladder for safety and balance. If you need to use both hands, keep it brief and make sure your body is supported by the ladder.

Ideally, you will want to keep a hand on the ladder at all times, but there are tasks where this may not be feasible. You should also only carry light material and tools so you can keep a hand on the stepladder. If you have a lot of tools that you need to use, or you’re not feeling confident working on a stepladder, don’t worry! You can always ask someone to watch and to help swap tools so your hands aren’t too full to hold onto the ladder. In fact, it is recommended to have someone keeping an eye on you when working at height in case you do fall.

Another important thing to remember is not to overreach. If you need to reach somewhere further, either move the stepladder or consider using a bigger ladder for the job. Overreaching can easily cause you to fall and hurt yourself. You should also make sure the stepladder is stable and not placed on uneven or slippery surfaces, or resting against a wall.

Replacing your stepladder

If you think your stepladder isn’t up for the task or looks like it could be damaged, it could be time to buy a new one. Here at Precipitous, we have been selling and supplying stepladders to customers across the UK. We have many years of experience, so if you need help picking the perfect stepladder, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Checking your ladder before you use it

14 March 2019 12:35:59 GMT

close up of ladder

If you’re planning on working at height, its important to make sure your ladder is safe to use. If you don’t have to do much work around your home that needs a ladder or step-ladder, it could be that you haven’t used or inspected your ladder for quite a while. Even if you do carry out regular jobs at height, you should still make sure to check your ladder is in a good condition before you climb it. Even a short fall can be incredibly dangerous and cause you serious harm.

Is your ladder in good condition?

It is essential that you make sure your ladder is safe and acceptable to use before you carry out any tasks. Start by checking the feet and stiles of your ladder. If the stiles are bent or damaged, the ladder could be at risk of collapsing during use. When inspecting the feet, check to see if anything is stuck such as mud or other debris. If you move the ladder somewhere else to use again during the day, you should have another look at the feet. Feet and treads should also be securely fixed in place and in contact with the ground.

The rungs are also important to check. If these are bent, worn or damaged in anyway, the ladder could fail and put you at serious risk of a fall. Similarly, if the rungs are loose or even missing, you should not use the ladder. If your ladder uses a locking mechanism, then this will also need to be checked. If they are bent or the fixings are worn, this could also cause the laptop to collapse.

If you spot any of these problems with your ladder, it is best not to use it. If you’re planning on using a ladder for something at home but find a fault with it, its best to buy yourself a new one rather than risking your health.

Don’t forget to check your equipment

Before you get on a ladder, you should also make sure you have the right clothing and equipment for the job. Even if your ladder is safe to use and securely in place, you could still be putting yourself at risk if you don’t use proper equipment. Are you wearing the right shoes? Is your clothing practical and suitable for working at height? Do you have the righter ladder for the job?

Of course, checking your ladder for any faults before you use it is crucial for working at height. You should also think about whether you have the right ladder for the job. A stepladder will be fine for smaller indoor jobs like changing a lightbulb or taking down decorations. Obviously, outdoor work such as window cleaning and clearing gutters will need something bigger. You may need a telescopic ladder or for even larger scale jobs, you may want to think about using a scaffold tower.

Do you need a replacement?

If you’ve checked your ladder and found something wrong with it, its probably time to think about getting a new one. Modern ladders are also typically well-made and tend to be more durable than older ladders, making them a great long-term investment. Still, even with a newer ladder it is important to check it before you use one so that you don’t get hurt. At Precipitous, we have been supplying ladders for many years and are happy to provide advice and assistance if you are looking for a ladder.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

The material of a scaffold tower might never have been something that you have put much thought into before. But if you are coming to either buy or hire a new tower, you might be surprised to learn that the material can make a huge difference to the functionality of your tower.

The vast majority of scaffold towers used in the UK are made from aluminium. Steel is also common, and there is also a growing number of fibreglass models available. The type of tower that you need could depend on the job that you are carrying out. So, let’s take a look at the different materials available to help you understand which one might be right for you.

Aluminium towers

This is one of the most commonly-used materials for scaffold towers. It is extremely popular due to the fact that it is strong, reliable and durable. Given that aluminium is also a very light metal it is very easy to transport it. If you are interested in buying or hiring a standard scaffold tower for normal DIY or professional use, aluminium is likely the best material for you.

Steel towers

It is very common to find steel used as a material for scaffolding, however, it is much rarer in scaffold towers as it is heavier and less user-friendly than other commonly-used materials. Steel is, of course, extremely strong and durable, however steel scaffold towers do not comply with respected industry standards. As such, steel scaffold towers are only suitable for DIY use.

Fibreglass towers

It is a relatively recent innovation that fibreglass is used in scaffold towers, but it is rapidly becoming very popular. The major benefit of fibreglass scaffold towers is that they are safe to use around electrical sources. It could be dangerous to be on a steel or aluminium tower around a live electrical current. Unlike these materials, fibreglass does not conduct electricity.

If you are interested in learning more about the range of scaffold towers available, talk to the experts at Precipitous. We have years of experience in providing high quality scaffold towers to tradespeople, businesses and homeowners across the UK.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

With 2019 now in full swing, many us start to look at our homes and notice the things that are in need of a change or a refresh. So, this is the right time to work on DIY tasks around the house. Of course in the winter it can be difficult to find the motivation to work outside, but there are still plenty of things that you can do around your property before the spring rolls around.

Check your tools and equipment thoroughly

Even the best quality tools and equipment will degrade with time and exposure to bad weather conditions. This obviously means that the winter is the worst time of year for your tools. With safety critical pieces of equipment like ladders, it is essential that they are in excellent condition when you use them. This means that now is the right time to do a thorough examination of all of your equipment and tools to establish that everything is in good working order.

If any of your DIY tools need replacing, it is better to know about it now, rather than on the day that you want to use them, and find that you can’t.

Give your garden a good tidy

It is undoubtedly the case that the garden can get fairly neglected over the winter. Not only is it a time of harsh weather and withering plants, but you are also far less likely to get outside to do general tasks, and as such it can lead to a build-up of fallen leaves and unkempt shrubbery.

So, before the spring it is well worth having a good clean up in the garden. Take the time to sweep up debris and prune trees and bushes. It’s worth pointing out here that trees could have been damaged by the bad weather, so now is the time to cut off broken branches.

Create some storage space

Now that we have had the New Year, it’s the perfect time to re-think your home especially with regard to storage space. The Christmas period can lead to lots of new things having to find a new place to live in your home – this can lead to the garage or the garden shed becoming a dumping ground.

Now is the right time to have a thorough clear out to create storage space, and ensure that you are using space effectively. The spring is a key time for carrying out work on the house, so it can be a great idea to have all your tools and equipment organised and in one place. Freeing up the space to do this is a great start.

Do some interior painting

Doing work on the exterior of the property is a no-no. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get interior work done. It’s worth taking the time to paint interior walls and surfaces before the spring when you will inevitably want to work on the outside of the property.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Safety advice for working at height

22 January 2019 16:25:10 GMT

Working at height

If you’re planning a project or carrying out a task at work that requires working at height, its important to take the proper safety precautions to minimise any potential risks. Whether you’re using a step ladder to help screw in a new lightbulb, or working on a ladder while you check on your roof, it is always crucial to make sure you do so safely. If you don’t, you could be at risk of serious injury resulting from a fall. Take a look at our safety advice below to think about when working at height.

Is there a safer way to do the job?

Before you start working on a project, take a moment to think about whether you actually need to work at height to get the job done. It could be that there is a much easier solution that requires less potential risk. One example is cleaning windows - It could be possible to clean the windows from inside the building. Of course, this won’t always be the case and some jobs will certainly need a ladder, step ladder or possibly a scaffold tower in order to be possible.

Wear suitable clothing

This might sound like common sense, but many accidents when working on ladders and scaffold towers are caused by improper clothing and a lack of care. Wear the correct clothing, and make sure you choose sensible shoes. No matter what you’re working on, take the time to put on some appropriate footwear with proper grip. Even if its just a quick job and you’re not working too high up, accidents can still happen – and even a short fall poses a serious risk.

Don’t work alone – ask for help

No matter what you’re working on, if you’re going to be working at height its important to have someone there to keep an eye on you, or at least check on you every now and again. If you do unfortunately suffer a fall, they can get help and call an ambulance should it be needed. Always remember that working at height comes with a number of risks.

Use the right equipment for the job

If you’re going to work at height, its important to make sure you’re using the right equipment for the job at hand. If you don’t need to be too high up to do what you need, then a step ladder will probably do just fine. If you need to be higher, think about using a ladder or possibly a scaffold tower to get the job done. Its also important to make sure your equipment is properly maintained and up to scratch. Take the time to do a thorough inspection before you use any ladder or scaffold tower.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Man taking down Christmas decorations from roof

Now that Christmas is over and the New Year has begun, it’s time to start thinking of putting those Christmas decorations away if you haven’t already. Depending on how you decorated your home for the festive season, you might need a bit of assistance getting to those harder to reach decorations. If you’ve put up Christmas lights outside your house, or have things hanging higher up inside your home, you will likely need to use a ladder or step ladder to get to them. Take a look at our advice below, including tips to stay safe when taking down your decorations.

Use a step ladder for inside your home

If you’ve got Christmas decorations hanging up inside, then the chances are that they won’t be up too high. However, a step ladder can give you a much needed boost. You might be tempted to use something else to stand on when taking down those harder to reach decorations inside, but using a step ladder is much safer than improvising with something else.

Using a good quality step ladder can easily get you that extra few feet off the ground and offer you the support you need to work safely. Of course, you should always be careful when working at height, even if you are only using a step ladder to take down your decorations. While you might not be too far off the ground, you are still at risk of falling and a shorter fall can still be damaging to the body. Make sure you are dressed appropriately, such as not using footwear that can easily slide off like slippers. If you’ve got someone helping you pack away the Christmas decorations, they can also keep an eye on you while you are up on the step ladder.

Check your loft ladder

Lofts are great places to store things throughout the year, and if you’ve got one, you probably use it to keep your Christmas decorations stored away. However, you might not use the loft ladder frequently, so it is important to inspect it beforehand. If it isn’t up to standard, then it’s time to buy a new one so that you don’t put yourself at risk. Remember, if you need to take bigger boxes up to the loft then its better to have someone pass them up to you if possible. This way, you can keep proper contact with the ladder while you work.

Use a ladder for outside work

If you’ve hung up lights outside your home, then you’ll need a suitably sized ladder for the job. Roof ladders, as the name implies, are perfect for working roof areas where Christmas lights are usually put up. If you need something more adjustable, then an extension ladder might be better for you. No matter what ladder you end up using, its important to make sure it is safe to use. Just like your loft ladder or step ladder, you need to make sure it is in good condition before use. Another important safety tip is to make sure that you do not set up your ladder on unstable ground, and that it is set up on a solid foundation.

If you need a new ladder, or you’re not sure which ladder would be the perfect one for the job, we can help. We have many years’ experience in the scaffold and ladder industry, and are also one of the UK’s market leaders in rigging and working at height. Contact us today to find out more.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

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