It’s often cheaper to handle home renovations yourself, but you can run into trouble in several areas. What happens if you need to repair or replace something at a height you can’t reach on your own? Instead of relying on an unsteady ladder, you can get the job done with a scissor lift, as long as you use it safely and professionally.
Read the Operating Manual—Twice
Unless you’re a professional who’s worked with a scissor lift before, it’s critical that you do your research to figure out what you’re doing. Your rental equipment should come with the instruction manual. If not, you can ask an associate at the rental company to find one for you. You can also speak with expert associates who have experience with operating the scissor lift. They might even give you a firsthand demonstration at the store to show you how to operate the machine and how to manage the controls.
Before you begin the renovation job, read through the manual again. It won’t hurt to search the internet to uncover additional tips, particularly from DIY renovators who, like you, chose to use the equipment on their own. You may find helpful tips from people who have been where you are.
Protect Your Hardwood
You might need to use the scissor lift indoors. That’s fine—it’s common practice. However, you have to protect the floors inside your home. A scissor lift is a hefty piece of machinery. Drive it over authentic hardwood floors, which are soft and vulnerable to damage from heavy objects, and you can ruin the wood.
Fortunately, you can prevent the destruction of your beautiful floors. All you have to do is place a protective covering over the floorboards before you attempt to drive the lift over them. Just make sure you use something that won’t break or splinter beneath the weight of the machine. Some people use plywood, but that only works if it’s thick. Stick to plywood that’s at least three-quarters inch thick, although boards that are one-inch thick are better.
Most home improvement enthusiasts opt for stronger protection. You don’t want to take chances with a machine that’s nearly 3,000 pounds. Scaffold staging offers a more durable buffer between the wood floors and the scissor lift. Whatever you choose, check how it works before you drive the lift over the floor in its entirety. Another option is to use the scissor lift before installing the final layer of flooring. The machine shouldn’t harm the base layer.
Get Some Backup
It helps to have several extra sets of eyes to help you navigate the space you’re renovating. You’re not likely used to being on such a large piece of equipment. It can throw off your depth perception, plus it’s difficult to see any obstructions in your way. Get a team of buddies—who also read through the operations manual—to help you work. Ask them to act as your eyes while you maneuver the lift to your destination. They can keep an eye out for blind spots, beams, or frames.
As with any heavy-duty piece of equipment, it pays to take care. If you’re not sure whether you know what you’re doing, then don’t do it. Wait and talk to an expert.