Aluminium tower advice please

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

Stan

stupid boy!
Joined
1 Mar 2021
Messages
297
Reaction score
628
Location
Sussex
I am looking for some advice on buying/using an aluminium tower for some home repairs.

The front gable wall of my house is the weather wall, the one exposed to all the storms. It needs repointing and I have been quoted £130 per square metre + scaffolding costs. Ouch!

Four years ago I repointed the back and side of the house, so that aspect of the work is no problem to me, it is just the working at height. Working height will need to be approx 7m ( 97 courses of bricks ). Ground in front of wall is earth.

I considered a ladder. But no matter what gadgets you buy/make to stabilise or secure the ladder, it does not get around the basic problem. This is working with only one hand, and being able to work on only a small area at a time before having to move yourself and/or the ladder.

So I am now considering buying an aluminium tower and doing it myself. Following questions come to mind.

What should I look for when buying one?

Second hand or new? Any pitfalls with second hand?

Can the tower be stored outside (dismantled)?

The bottom stage will need some kind of levelling to allow for the slightly uneven ground. It looks like levelling feet have to be bought separately. Any advice on this?

Will 2'x2' squares of thick ply under each foot be good enough to prevent a sink-in.

There is a solid-looking old aerial bracket in the wall high up. Could this be used as a tie-in to reduce tower wobble?

Anything else I should think of?

Thanks in advance for your help.
 
What should I look for when buying one?

Second hand or new? Any pitfalls with second hand?

Can the tower be stored outside (dismantled)?

The bottom stage will need some kind of levelling to allow for the slightly uneven ground. It looks like levelling feet have to be bought separately. Any advice on this?

Will 2'x2' squares of thick ply under each foot be good enough to prevent a sink-in.

There is a solid-looking old aerial bracket in the wall high up.

How much do you want to spend? Do you want to keep it 'forever' or sell it on once all the outstanding repairs are complete?

There are many towers on the market at a wide range of prices. I have never liked the look of the 'domestic' standard ones both in terms of overall construction and manufacturer (spares) backup.

My own preference would be to buy a second hand one from a hire company. Youngman Boss is a very popular one. The parts are interchangeable, and widely available. Below is just the first company I found:

https://www.jeescaffoldtowers.co.uk/boss-used-aluminum-scaffold-towers.html

This means you can add to it if required. In particular, an extra platform is a bonus. If you are going up high, you can leave it in place as an intermediate platform to stand on when you are erecting or dismantling rather than having to lift it up to form part of the permanent working-level platform.

The tower will not suffer if left outside. The platform boards are better protected against the weather. Lubricate all the clips at the end of the braces if you do this. Lubricate the wheels and brakes very well. Being aluminium, the tower is best not left where the scrap metal people might collect it.

It would be unusual if a second hand industrial one did not come with four wheels (height-adjustable) and diagonal stabiliser legs included.

The plywood will stop it sinking, but you might need to reinforce it to stop the small contact area of the wheel punching through the plywood. What I am saying is that the four square feet of area is good, but the load from the wheel needs distributing over that full area, not being applied to 3 square inches in its centre.

I do not think I would trust my life to 'solid looking'. I would be installing my own anchors that I knew were good. With some thought, the anchors can be installed in the mortar joints and pointed up on the way down so as to be invisible. As above, the tower should come with stabilising legs (I think you need them above 3:1 height to base ratio) but bolted and tied to the wall always gives more confidence.

If there is one rule for using a tower, it is do not climb up the outside. Always climb on the inside of the tower. Make sure you put the platform trapdoor at the end with the internal ladder.
 
Yes to the aluminium towers. They are so much easier to use and hold their value. I'd buy new, or if not, check every clip.
If stored outside for a long time you'd need to make sure the few steel bits (various clips etc) were well oiled and the whole off the ground on a pallet and covered with a tarp.
They can be tied in to wall fixtures, or through an open window to a timber across the opening inside.
 
A steel or galvanized steel scaffold tower will be much cheaper new or second hand. Unless you are regularly moving it or wheeling it about indoors then aluminum doesn't really have any advantages , mortar and aluminum don't get on well. Depending on how uneven the ground is you can just pack up the legs with concrete blocks or make timber leg extensions with blocks screwed on under the cross piece. Plenty of screws and metal strapping will hold it solid. If you want braces 2x4 and strapping will do the job. It's best to put eye bolts in the wall and tie into those,then you won't need braces.
 
I regularly use my dads steel scaffold tower. It's not particularly heavy, nothing like full scaffold poles. Whilst Aluminium might be nice, if a steel tower was to come up for sale it would be worth a look (unless you have a reason why weight may be an issue). Whilst I hate to even mention the site, facebook marketplace does seem to be the place a lot of people sell these days, but don't buy without actually seeing it/picking it up. A quick search shows a fair amount of ads that look dodge to me, but I have seen a lot of genuine ones that are just being sold on after a job.

If whatever you buy doesn't come with them you can buy adjustable legs to level everything and also a couple of outriggers is always good to be absolutely sure it can't tip over.


Also always worth securing the ladder as well. I use a ratchet strap near the bottom between the tower and the ladder so it can't possibly slip out
 
I'd get a new one, they often prove to be invaluable once you realise the amount DIY which needs doing once you're up there and the amount you can save by doing it yourself.
 
I've got an aluminium tower I've had for about 20 years. I got it secondhand for about £500 and it's similar quality to Boss. Paid for itself many times over but maybe because I renovate all my properties. I bought a few extra bits to bring it up to the latest standard. It feels safe to work off, much safer than a steel tower I had before. I have large outriggers that help with stability once you get over about 5m

+1 to tying it in. It feels a lot safer. Storage can be an issue and luckily I can keep it undercover. The staging in particular needs longer term protection.
 
I bought one of these https://www.laddersandscaffoldtowers.co.uk/acatalog/Quick-Erect-Trade-Scaffold-Towers.html

I have the 7.2 m safe working height one together with stabilisers as I need a long reach for one side of our house.

It's not cheap but, so far, it has been utterly brilliant. It feels safe, rock solid and easy and quick to put up and take down. For reasonable heights it's a one person job to put it up. Easier with two people at higher heights but still possible with one.

It gets plenty of use on our old property. I even used it to internally decorate a bedroom with a vaulted ceiling!
 
I have had one for years and it certainly has paid for itself over the time I have had it. Plus I dislike working off a ladder.
Mine is from Loyal and is one of the smaller one man versions so is only 600 wide. You may need the wider version for that height.
I recommend getting the height adjustable wheels and the angled outriggers which make it feel much more solid.

Ollie
 
How much do you want to spend? Do you want to keep it 'forever' or sell it on once all the outstanding repairs are complete?

There are many towers on the market at a wide range of prices. I have never liked the look of the 'domestic' standard ones both in terms of overall construction and manufacturer (spares) backup.

My own preference would be to buy a second hand one from a hire company. Youngman Boss is a very popular one. The parts are interchangeable, and widely available. Below is just the first company I found:

https://www.jeescaffoldtowers.co.uk/boss-used-aluminum-scaffold-towers.html

This means you can add to it if required. In particular, an extra platform is a bonus. If you are going up high, you can leave it in place as an intermediate platform to stand on when you are erecting or dismantling rather than having to lift it up to form part of the permanent working-level platform.

The tower will not suffer if left outside. The platform boards are better protected against the weather. Lubricate all the clips at the end of the braces if you do this. Lubricate the wheels and brakes very well. Being aluminium, the tower is best not left where the scrap metal people might collect it.

It would be unusual if a second hand industrial one did not come with four wheels (height-adjustable) and diagonal stabiliser legs included.

The plywood will stop it sinking, but you might need to reinforce it to stop the small contact area of the wheel punching through the plywood. What I am saying is that the four square feet of area is good, but the load from the wheel needs distributing over that full area, not being applied to 3 square inches in its centre.

I do not think I would trust my life to 'solid looking'. I would be installing my own anchors that I knew were good. With some thought, the anchors can be installed in the mortar joints and pointed up on the way down so as to be invisible. As above, the tower should come with stabilising legs (I think you need them above 3:1 height to base ratio) but bolted and tied to the wall always gives more confidence.

If there is one rule for using a tower, it is do not climb up the outside. Always climb on the inside of the tower. Make sure you put the platform trapdoor at the end with the internal ladder.
Hi,
I think you just about covered most things. Stabilisers should be fitted above 1 working section of height. Only other thing is to start is to use a handrail straight on its side temporarily to keep the ends upright so it’s self supporting. If you fit them correctly the whole thing will swivel and collapse. Putting a straight on its side and connecting to the uprights at both ends self supports until you have diagonals in. Then remove the straight and use it the correct way up.
Regards,
Dave
 
I have a Youngam boss 7.2M tower and find it amazing to work off, the platform is 2.4M x 1.2M with internal ladder and trap doors, the internal ladder is fine for assembling the tower, but is very difficult to climb as its vertical, may not seem like a big deal, but working by yourself and having to supply tools and equipment to yourself can be a pain, at the 7.2M height the outrigger legs are essential, once assembled tie bolts are not needed, I just punch off the wall with the top toe boards. once properly assembled there are eight contact points so sinking into the ground is less of a worry.


DSC01747.jpg
 
Last edited:
We have a couple of sets of the youngman ones for work. Not used every day but they pay for themselves so quickly over hiring. We work as a team and can chuck one up in a few minutes - when we did our PASMA course a few years ago, we had ours built and packed away before the other guys on the course had got halfway up theirs :ROFLMAO: If you're patient you'll find a set on facebook for a reasonable amount - and get it back once you're done with it! 20mm ply is ample for using as a spreader under the wheels. Make sure you use the outriggers correctly and there's absolutely no need to drill eye bolts to secure it. Dave's comment about using a handrail on the vertical leg is the secret sauce for getting one started on your own.
 

Latest posts

Back
Top