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Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2009
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Okay so, outside of hiring someone else, what's the safest way to paint the second story sofits/facia of a house?

Got a 32' ladder for the trim, overhanging the ground directly. However, part of my second story falls short, and simply over hangs the first story roof - if that makes sense.

I got out on the roof last night and can paint 70% of it just standing on the roof itself, but the peak is too high. Will a roof, with less than a 10 degree slope, support a ladder proped up against a house? Or will the treads slip?

I guess I can always have my wife simply support the bottom of the ladder for an hour or two.
4:1 up to out ratio on extension ladders. For every 4' up the ladder goes, the base should come away from wall by one foot. You could not pay me enough to rest a ladder on any slope. YMMV. That, or rent a scaffold.
Hiring someone else is the safest way for you to have the paint applied. But you already know that.

I would not think what you're planning to do with the ladder is safe. There are safe ways to do it but I'll let those more knowledgeable than I chime in on that.

Let me add, however, do this as safely as you can. Falls are serious business. From personal experience I can attest you do not want to fall from any height let alone what you're talking here. I'll just add that about a year-and-a-half ago I fell about 11' stepping from a ladder to the roof of my garage. I broke my pelvis which had to be surgically repaired and required me to bear no weight on the affected-side leg for 12 weeks. I missed 5 months of work. I'm not quite 100% and never will be but am thankful for the recovery I have had.

I'm gonna guess you're gonna do this project regardless. Just do it as safely as you can. Whatever it costs you in time and money for safety equipment is less than the cost of a serious injury.
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Hire someone!

Better yet! Hire someone to install vinyl or aluminium. You'll never have to worry about it again!
Look for the painting pads that are used to paint/stain cedar shakes. Those will screw onto an extension pole and will work for wood. There is a special paint tray for them with a roller to load them evenly. FWIW, the last time my house needed painting, I decided that I would not be willing to do it again in 15 years and had vinyl siding put on. The only exposed wood is now a couple of door frames. While the cedar shakes were rustic, I love the low maintenance of the vinyl.
If you really want to use the ladder, nail a 8' 2x4 to your roof as a stop for the ladder. Use 20 or 24p double headed nails or 3" deck screws and make sure you hit the rafters/joists.

When you're done, remove the 2x4 and fill the holes with roof sealant. Don't go to the paint department of Lowes or Home Depot for caulk no matter how good it is, go to the area with the shingles and roofing supplies. Get the roof sealant there. It looks like the tubes of caulk, but it's made for sealing roofs and will last a lot longer then even the best caulks.

If you hire someone, they may actually do the same thing.