How To Paint Outside Of House Without Scaffolding

How To Paint Outside Of Your House Without Scaffolding?

I get it. You want to paint the outside of your house. But after receiving the scaffolding quote, you’re contemplating whether to paint it or just let it blend in with nature and call it ‘camouflage chic’!

Don’t worry! Scaffolding is not the only option. You can use cheaper alternatives that allow you to paint the outside of your house without breaking the bank.

In this article, I’ll discuss the various alternatives and give you a step-by-step on how to paint your house without scaffolding. Also, I’ll delve into the challenges you’ll face when you paint without scaffolding.

Do You Need Scaffolding To Paint Outside Of Your House?

The good news is you don’t always need to use scaffolding when you paint the outside of your house.

However, whether you can paint the outside of your house without scaffolding depends on various factors.

Here’s what you need to consider before exterior painting without scaffolding:

Height of your house

You’ll only be able to paint the outside of your house if it’s a one or two-storey home. Otherwise, you’ll need scaffolding to paint outside.

That’s because alternatives, like ladders or towers, won’t allow you to paint the hard-to-reach parts of the outside of your house.

How quickly you need the job done

One of the main benefits of using scaffolding to paint the exterior of your house is the added convenience.

It will save you lots of time and energy when painting outside. For example, if you use scaffolding instead of ladders, you won’t have to keep going up and down your ladders like a yo-yo whenever you need more paint. As a result, if you need your external house painting project completed quickly, it’s best to use scaffolding.

Safety should always be your priority

Painting at height always comes with risks. It becomes a lot riskier when you are not using scaffolding. From the risk of falling to weather hazards, you need to make sure it’s safe for you to paint outside with scaffolding.

So, you should weigh-up whether the added risk is worth the money you will save by painting your house without scaffolding.

Here’s a checklist you can use to make sure it’s safe to paint outside your house without scaffolding:

  • The ground you’ll be working on is stable and not bumpy
  • You’re in tip-top condition – not tired, weak, or tipsy
  • Make sure you wear builder’s boots to give you extra grip and help to prevent slips. Save your flip-flops for your summer holiday.
  • Check the weather forecast and ensure it’s dry and warm when you paint outside.

You need to ensure that you can check off all of these before you begin exterior house painting without scaffolding.

Painter standing on a ladder while painting the outside of a house

What You Can Use To Paint Outside Of House Without Scaffolding?

I’m sure you are eager to know what alternatives there are to scaffolding for painting the outside of your house.

Ladders are an obvious option. You can find ladders that are suitable for painting your house. However, just because they are the most popular substitute for scaffolding, it doesn’t make them the best option.

Personally, I prefer using a scaffold tower because they are cost-effective, safe, and practical.

Let’s take a look at each of these options in a bit more detail and take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Ladders For Painting Outside Of House

You can use many different types of ladders for painting outside your house. Also, you can attach an extension pole to your rollers to help paint the hard-to-reach parts of your exterior.

So, what type of ladder do you need for painting outside?

For starters, you’ll need a high-quality ladder. Some experts recommend using an Aluminium ladder for painting outside. I don’t agree! I prefer using a Fibreglass ladder for painting outside because they are stronger and more rigid than Aluminium ladders.

Make sure the Fibreglass ladder you choose has adjustable height, so you can reach all the areas of your property’s exterior. Also, I’d recommend using a ladder with a platform or paint tray attachment so you have a stable place to put your tools while you paint.

Top TIP: If the ground you are painting on is not totally level, you can use a tripod ladder, which offers more stability.

Advantages of using a ladder instead of scaffolding

  • Cost: Ladders are much cheaper than scaffolding, so you’ll keep more cash in your pocket.
  • Easy to set up: Ladders are very simple to set up. All you’ll need to do is extend and stand up the ladder against your exterior. Voila.

Disadvantages of using a ladder instead of scaffolding

  • Not as safe: There’s no two ways around it. Painting with a ladder is not as stable as scaffolding. Scaffolding provides a safe platform that you can use to work at height. You’ll be able to move freely and have your paint buckets right next to you.
  • Inconvenience: Painting the outside of your house with a ladder will be very tiring. You’ll have to climb up and down your ladder every time you need more paint and constantly shift the ladder when you paint a different part of your exterior. After a few hours, you’ll feel like you’re at an intense spin class.

How to be safe when painting outside with a ladder

Painting the outside of your house with just a ladder is much more dangerous than scaffolding. So, you must be very careful when painting with a ladder.

Here’s my top recommendations for staying safe:

  • When you set up the ladder, make sure it’s free of any obstacles
  • Always make sure you have three points of contact when using the ladder – two feet and one hand
  • Wear non-slip boots to help prevent slipping

Did you know: Over 150,000 people have to go to A&E every year as a result of an accident involving a ladder.

Using scaffolding tower instead of traditional scaffolding

What are scaffolding towers, I hear you asking? I’ll tell you. A scaffolding tower is a freestanding structure you can use for painting at height.

Scaffold towers are similar to scaffolding because like scaffolding, a scaffold tower provides a stable platform, which you can paint off.

However, they are usually a lot cheaper than traditional scaffolding.

Advantages of using a scaffolding tower

  • Quick and easy to set up: scaffolding towers only take one person a few hours to set up. Also, you won’t need any specialist training in order to set them up either. So, you’ll be able to start painting the same day as the tower arrives, unlike with traditional scaffolding.
  • Cheaper: Scaffolding towers are typically quite a lot cheaper than traditional scaffolding. You can rent them for as long as you need from your local DIY store and get it delivered straight to your house.
  • Safety: In terms of safety, scaffold towers are the perfect balance between ladders and traditional scaffolding. That’s because scaffolding towers provide a stable work platform that you can paint from.
  • Easy to transport: You can get scaffolding towers with wheels, which make them easy to transport. This makes it easy for when you are painting different areas on the outside of your house.

Disadvantages of using a scaffolding tower

  • Less space to work: Even though a scaffolding tower does provide a platform to work off of, it’s not as spacious as traditional scaffolding. That means you will have less flexibility to paint without scaffolding.
  • Limited use: scaffolding towers can only reach a height of 10-12 meters. So you won’t be able to use scaffolding towers to paint your house unless it is less than this height.

How To Paint Hard To Reach Exterior Of House?

Now that you know it’s totally possible to paint the outside of your house with scaffolding – let’s look at how to apply masonry paint to your exterior without scaffolding.

Follow each of these steps and you’ll be guaranteed a perfect finish!

Whether you use ladders or scaffold towers for access, you can follow along all the steps below as you paint.

Tools you’ll need

Before you begin painting the exterior of your house, you’ll need the following tools and materials:

  • Dust sheets
  • Cleaning brush
  • Masking taps
  • Buckets
  • Masonry paintbrush
  • Paint Rollers – An 18mm pile roller is good for exterior surfaces
  • Extension Pole
  • Filler
  • Paint tray
  • Stirring stick
  • Primer

You will be able to purchase all the supplies you’ll need for the job from your local DIY store.

How to prepare exterior surfaces for painting

Have you ever heard of the saying ‘fail to prepare and you prepare to fail’? It couldn’t be more true when it comes to painting the outside of your house.

Preparing your exterior surfaces is crucial to ensuring the paint adheres to the surfaces and the finish is smooth!

Here are the preparation tasks you’ll need to follow:

  • You’ll need a clean surface to paint off. So get a dry brush and remove any dirt or dust off your exterior walls.
  • If you spot areas of mould or mildew, you’ll need to apply a fungicidal wash to treat these areas.
  • If there is any loose mortar or render on your exterior surfaces, you’ll need to replace this.
  • Use filler to fill any holes or cracks in the exterior of your house.
  • Apply a primer to your exterior surfaces. This will help to ensure the surfaces are smooth and paint will adhere well when you apply it.

How to paint exterior surfaces

Now, the outside of your house should be prepared and ready for two coats of paint.

To get a smooth finish for your house, follow these steps to apply the paint:

  1. Open your exterior paint of choice and use a stirring stick to give it a quick mix to make sure the paint hasn’t separated.
  2. Pour some of the paint into your paint tray.
  3. Begin by ‘cutting in’ in your exterior walls. You do this by painting the corners and edges of the surface with your paintbrush.
  4. Use your paint roller to start rolling the surfaces. 
  5. Make sure you paint in long vertical strokes to make sure it’s a smooth finish free from any stroke marks.
  6. Make yourself a cup of tea and wait a few hours for the first coat to dry.
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 to apply the second paint of paint

The final step is to sit back and admire your beautifully painted house.

Painter and decorator on scaffolding painting the outside of a house

Challenges Of Painting Outside Of House Without Scaffolding

So far, we have covered whether you can paint the outside of your house without scaffolding and the steps to follow when you do.

Now, the question becomes, should you paint your house without scaffolding?

Let’s look at the challenges you will face if you decide to paint your house without scaffolding.


Here’s a joke: Why did the painter refuse to paint without scaffolding?

Because he didn’t want the job to ladder into overtime!

As with any good joke, there is truth behind it. Painting your house without scaffolding will take a lot longer than with it.

If you don’t have scaffolding, you’ll have to constantly move your ladder or scaffold tower to reach the different areas of your house.

Also, without scaffolding, it becomes much more challenging to paint the hard-to-reach areas of your house. So, you’ll spend more time changing your position to reach these tricky areas.

Finally, working from heights without scaffolding will mean you’ll have to spend more time taking extra safety precautions. Whether it’s securing your ladders or taking your time to not make any sudden movements, you’ll spend a lot more time painting without scaffolding.

So, if you are someone who values your time more than money, it’s probably a good idea to paint your house with instead of without scaffolding.


For a good quality paint finish, you need to take your time. And for a finish that lasts, you’ll need to paint with precision and care.

Scaffolding provides a stable platform you can work off of, making it much easier to keep a steady hand while painting. Whereas, painting the outside of your house without scaffolding, such as with a ladder, it becomes a lot more difficult to get a good quality paint finish.

The best way to think of painting outside without scaffolding is to imagine trying to write on a piece of paper while standing on a crowded train. Even the tiniest movements will cause you to paint all over the place when painting outside.

So, painting your house without scaffolding will likely result in a less even finish.

Risk of painting at height

As we mentioned earlier, painting your house without scaffolding will involve risks that come with working at height.

The main risk to working from height is falling. Painting the outside of your house with ladders or (less so) towers poses a much larger risk of falling from height because these options are not secure as traditional scaffolding. This is especially true if you are working on top of uneven ground.

Therefore, even though you might save money by painting your house without scaffolding, it could cost you a lot more if you have to recover from a nasty fall.

Hire professionals to decorate your house without scaffolding

If you are having trouble with exterior house painting, you can contact our team of exterior painters in London to help.

Our painters and decorators have lots of experience with exterior painting. Over the years, we have transformed thousands of homes in London. As a result, we will be able to paint outside your house to a very high standard. Also, if possible we can paint without scaffolding.