Painting your house can be challenging not just because of the surface area but also the height. If you’re painting outside your home, it’s even harder as you’d have to deal with elements. So how would you do that without scaffolding? Here are a few ways:

  1. Set up a ladder
  2. Use an extension pole
  3. Rent lifting equipment
  4. Hire professionals

Not everyone would have scaffolding on hand or would want to rent the equipment. Thus, I will present three alternatives to scaffolding when painting outside your house. Keep reading to see if one of them is best for you.

1. Set Up a Ladder

The first alternative to scaffolding is setting up a ladder. This course of action is the most popular choice because of its convenience: you (or at least someone you know) are more likely to have a ladder on hand than scaffolding.


  • Convenient: You are likely to own a ladder already. If you don’t have one, it is highly possible that your neighbor, friend, or relative has one, and you can borrow from them.
  • Affordable: If you don’t own one or can’t borrow one, it wouldn’t break your bank to buy one.
  • Customizable: You can also choose the maximum height if you purchase. For instance, this Amazon’s Choice Little Giant Ladders With Wheels come in 13 ft, 17 ft, 22 ft, and 26 ft options.


  • Time-consuming: It can be a hassle to paint your house using a ladder because you’d have to move it around to cover specific areas. Your painting reach is limited, and you’d spend a lot of time painting, which would be exhausting.
  • Risk: There is always a danger of falling off or losing balance while climbing or on top of the ladder. This risk is significantly greater the higher you are or the windier the weather.
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Tips for Painting the Outside of a House With a Ladder

  • Use aluminum ladders. This kind of ladder is lightweight. This makes it easier to move around and would make adjustments quicker.
  • Use wood or fiberglass ladders around electrical wires or poles. Wood and fiberglass are non-conductive, unlike aluminum. Thus, if the electric cables or poles are live, you are less likely to get harmed or electrocuted compared to an aluminum or metal ladder.
  • Maximize height. Make sure that your ladder is tall enough, if not taller. If your ladder is too short, you would have to stretch more to reach certain places, which would not only be exhausting but would also be dangerous.
  • Use the ladder platform as a storage area. You can set your materials down on the platform to avoid climbing up and down to get them. However, be careful to avoid knocking them off.
  • Pick a good schedule to paint. Painting outside while it’s raining or windy can be extra challenging and frustrating, especially on a ladder. It may even be riskier. Thus, set the task for brighter, sunnier days.
  • Secure your ladder. You can use various tools and devices to secure your ladder and make painting easier. These include eye bolts for anchoring the ladder, ladder stabilizers or planks to prevent rotation, a harness to clip yourself, and ladder shoes to stop sliding.  
  • Avoid setting your ladder on soft dirt. Your ladder could sink into the soil and become unstable as you go up.

2. Use an Extension Pole

Imagine having a long or extendable arm. That’s the concept of an extension pole, also known as a telescoping pole.

As the name suggests, an extension pole can be adjusted to reach far-off areas so you can paint the outside of your house. It may be made of fiberglass or metal.


  • Risk-free: Unlike a ladder, scaffolding, or lifting equipment, there’s no chance of falling when using an extension pole. You are working from the ground and extending the pole instead of being suspended in the air.
  • Affordable: Extension poles are much more affordable than ladders or scaffolding. There are many extension pole options on and local DIY stores.
  • Multi-purpose: After painting your house, you won’t have to worry about your pole catching cobwebs as you can even use it to get rid of said cobwebs. These poles are multipurpose and can be used later for cleaning and other purposes.
  • Customizable: Like ladders, you have many options for maximum height when buying an extension pole. The longest or tallest one I’ve seen on Amazon is this DOCAZOO DocaPole Multi-Purpose Extension Pole, designed for painting, cleaning, changing light bulbs, and more.


  • Neck pain: Since you’re using an extension pole from the ground, you’d have to be looking up for most of your work. This can be pretty straining and exhausting for your neck and body.
  • Inaccurate: Height does not mean accuracy. You might be able to reach high corners with extension poles, but it would be harder to control the pole and paint all that way up.
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Tips for Painting the Outside of a House With an Extension Pole

  • Fiberglass extension poles are safer. While metal poles are much cheaper, fiberglass is the safest to work with, especially around exposed wires. There’s less chance of conduction and getting electrocuted.
  • Combine two poles for greater height. You can connect two poles to stretch them even farther if your extension pole’s size is insufficient.

3. Rent Lifting Equipment

Sometimes houses or buildings are too high for a scaffolding, ladder, or extension pole. However, there are also instances when people just don’t feel secure in any of those three.

In this case, you may decide to rent lifting equipment you can use for a painting job.

Lifting Equipment You Can Use to Paint the Outside of a House

  • Cherry picker: Also known as mobile elevating work platforms. It has a bucket or platform at the end of a telescopic, adjustable arm. This uses a hydraulic lifting system.  
  • Scissors lift: Like a cherry picker, the scissors lift is an aerial work platform.However, it is non-telescopic, making it harder to adjust or move around as it can only go up and down in one direction.
  • Personnel lift: This is a lightweight lifting equipment option compared to the other two, as it can even be loaded onto a pickup truck. They can go up to 36 ft.


  • Safer: Lifting equipment is safer, especially on greater heights, compared to ladders, extension poles, or even scaffolding. It may even help you reach areas that would be challenging for the other options.
  • Efficiency: It’s easier to adjust lifting equipment so you can paint different regions. These make them more efficient.
  • Less exhausting: There’s less to no need to strain your back or neck to paint using lifting equipment, unlike with extension poles or ladders. 
  • Customizable: There are also many subtypes of lifting equipment, so you could pick one that best suits your needs. For instance, depending on your preference, you can choose from hydraulic, diesel, or electric-powered scissors lifts.   


  • Expensive: It is much more costly to rent lifting equipment by the day than renting scaffolding or getting a ladder or extension pole.
  • Needs specialist or expert knowledge: You need to know how to use lifting equipment or at least have an expert to hand. It would be hazardous to operate one without appropriate knowledge.

Tips for Painting the Outside of a House With an Extension Pole

  • Pick the right lifting equipment. Each lifting equipment offers its pros and cons. Research them properly before getting one to make a better decision. They also have subtypes, so you need to know those to make the best choice.
  • Some lifting equipment is for short use only. Cherry pickers are not suitable for extended use. You need to consider this knowledge before getting one. If your painting job lasts for a while, you can consider a scissors lift, scaffolding, or other equipment.
  • Scissors lifts have no telescopic ability. Unlike cherry pickers, they can only move in the vertical direction, up or down. Thus, if you need more flexibility, you can use a personnel lift or cherry picker.

4. Hire Professionals

It is best to hire professionals if you don’t have the confidence or skills to do your exterior painting job using a ladder, extension pole, lifting equipment, or scaffolding.

Professionals’ work would be more efficient and of higher quality. It would be safer for you and your home as well. Moreover, it is less hassle, as they would already have the necessary equipment for painting tall buildings. This would remove the need for you to purchase or rent equipment.

However, research painting companies or professionals before hiring one. Check feedback to ensure that you are hiring individuals you can trust to deliver great work.

Final Thoughts

A well-painted house exterior is pleasing to the eyes and even, in some cases, helps regulate temperature. Thus, it is a task that should be taken seriously and given effort.

If you want to DIY house painting without scaffolding, it is possible using a ladder, extension pole, or lifting equipment. But if you just don’t feel secure climbing heights, it is best to turn to professionals for the best and safer job.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Paint

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