Chimney/Working at Height

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bapgobears

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Dear House Repair Experts,

I've been replacing weathered siding on my house and now what's left is high up on my chimney
It's about 25' to the top. I've been reading about scaffolding and lifts. I'd like to use a scissor lift like the GS-1930, but it weighs 3400 lbs and all I have near that chimney is unleveled dirt. I've also looked at some booms like the one Home Depot rents, a JLG T350. That boom might require me to take out a tree and I'd have to have some of it in the street I think. The scissor lift looks best to me, but not sure how to prepare the ground to safely use it? My thoughts were to just level it with a pick and shovel and add some gravel. Maybe throw a sheet of 3/4 plywood over it and make sure it doesn't budge. Does that sound like something you'd like to risk your life on? Maybe there is a more appropriate scissor lift for this job? A better way to prepare the ground? What's the right way to do this job? Call in a construction company? I've gotten pretty good at replacing the siding and the stuff on the chimney is relatively easy except for the height! I did do the one side over the roof, but the side facing the street and the short sides I think a lift would be best.

Thanks!
Brett
 

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Snoonyb

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I'd use a boom, however if you are planning to access from the street, check with the city because you may need a street access permit.
 

oldognewtrick

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Have you considered using scaffolding? There are places that rent it, many will even come and set it for you.
 

Snoonyb

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Something that is self propelled, because some that are "tow-behind" have outriggers that can be cumbersome.
 

billshack

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There are places that rent and install scaffolding. these guys are real pro .s and can handle many very difficult installation.
 

bapgobears

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Hi Guys!

I wanted to come back and thank all of you for your ideas and support on this project. I thought I would share how it turned out and my experience for people who may be considering a similar job.

I ended up renting an articulating boom (Genie Z34-22) from United Rentals. The boom cost $1000 to rent for the week + $300 for delivery and pickup + $89 for the safety harness + $90 in tax, almost $1500, but it was worth it! I got an encroachment permit from the city of Fremont for ~$300. The amount of paper work was a little daunting for someone who isn't a contractor and familiar with it, but I decided to go for it anyway. They requested a construction plan, traffic plan, a $2000 surety bond, and copies of my home owners and car insurance, while also having to sign my life away. I had no idea what a surety bond was but ended up getting one at SuretyBondsDirect.com for $200 (after first trying to get a CD, the other choice, that Wells Fargo didn't support anymore). I figured all this would be good for me since I didn't want to hurt anyone including myself! I also got a building permit for the siding repair for $150 which I think included the inspection. The inspector came out and said it all looked good and I haven't seen a charge. You can do everything using their Citizen Portal which was convenient but klunky. The City of Fremont staff and engineers were very helpful in obtaining the permits.

The work was about what I expected, but it took about a day to get comfortable with the boom. I was thrown a little off stride right from the get go as they dropped the boom off at 6:30 am while I was asleep. They said they were coming at 8:00 am and didn't mention a window of time. They also forgot to include the safety harness, and the boom had non-marking tires where we previously agreed to rubber tires. Not to get into too much of this detail, but I spent much of the first day doing the pre-inspection steps on the boom and the functional tests - since I was a novice. The point being, I didn't jump in and start trying to do the job. Communication with United Rental was shaky the whole way through. I think they should be more clear on what they expect the customer to do and what they do. Their expectations did not match the user's manual or even what was on the unit. I think a novice could get into a lot of trouble working with this sort of tool and United Rental. Anyway, they did deliver my safety harness later that morning and took the boom for a spin that afternoon. I have to say, for a first time user, it was a little uncomfortable working in the boom on day one, but day two through five were much better. The boom sways some, not much, but some and that can be a little unnerving for the novice. Also, understanding how to optimally maneuver the boom, with all it's controls - secondary boom, primary boom, jib boom, primary extension, rotating turn table, platform rotate & tilt takes some practice. It's not covered in the manual. I can see why people get training on this sort of thing. It took the first day to get comfortable. This boom is a slab boom and requires level and firm ground - something that not even the United Rental sales team correctly conveyed, but I knew better. I didn't want to swing it over the road or drive it at height (it does help to be able to creep it a few feet if your initial position is not perfect) and was limited somewhat by my big tree. Essentially, you need to have a command of both the geometry of your surroundings, and how to maneuver the boom to get the platform where you want efficiently and safely. You'll notice I took out the smaller redwood which turned out to be a really good idea. The extra sunshine will probably be good for the house too!

All that said about the boom, once mastered, it is an awesome tool! Day 2 I removed the siding on the short side and replaced it. Day 3 I removed all the siding on the chimney front - 26 pieces and 108 nails! I was also able to get 6 new pieces on from the ground that day. Day 4 I finished installing the new siding on the front and removed what was on the other short side. Day 5 I installed the new side. The front is perfectly level and looks good. I got a little hung up on that first board with its specialty cuts and wanted to make sure it was perfectly level so the rest would go easy. The time was well spent because the boom practically nailed the boards on for me. The platform width, ~4 ft, was perfect. Being able to rotate the platform for the sides was great. I do see why tool belts were invented though. I ended up putting a loop in a rope (alpine butterfly knot) and using that to keep the hammer close. I would also say, drilling just a tiny starter hole for each nail works great for that textured siding. You don't have the nail slipping around and you can get it exactly where you want it.

I would like to add, the hydraulic fluid went from the full line to the add line in one day which was a bit concerning. However, it did just stay at the add line for the next 4 days which is what their tech said it would do.

A word about the safety harness. I can't imagine how anyone falls out of that thing, but I loved the harness anyway. It took about 20 seconds to put on and the platform has 2 places to attach it. Mine was set up to allow a 6' fall and then start to decelerate you, stops you at 10'. Being able to acquire it directly from United Rental is the one thing I really appreciated. When I was 25' up and the boom was swaying a bit, I was more than happy to have the harness on - very comfortable and you hardly know it's there.

I put on TruWood lap siding purchased at Hulbert Lumber in Fremont for $1.25 a foot. Same texture and dimensions as what is on the house. It's a green product, all wood, and a little easier to work with than the Hardiplank with the silica dust - supposedly you need a pretty decent mask to be cutting that stuff.

I have some smaller repairs to do. The trim needs some help in some spots. Then I will go ahead and paint the whole house. I painted the boards before I installed them just because it's so easy and buys me a little more time before I get around to painting, looks a little better.

If anybody has any questions about this job, happy to help them out.

Thanks again for your help,

Brett
 

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