Adjusting Drywall Stilts


For the drywall installer who drywalls a lot of ceilings, drywall stilts are a must. Without them, you will need to install scaffolding and move it each time you work on a different part of the ceiling. Or, you can use a step ladder and move it much more often. And, although most ceilings are installed at the traditional 8-foot level, some are higher. When you install drywall on ceilings with varying heights, you'll need to first adjust your stilts before you attach them to your legs. This can be somewhat tricky. If you make a mistake in adjusting them, they could come apart, leaving you to fall to the floor.

Things you'll need:

  • Drywall stilts
  • Tape measure

Step 1 – Determine the Ceiling Height you'll be Working on

If you're not sure how high the ceiling is on which you'll be installing your drywall, measure the height before you strap on your stilts. Otherwise, you'll waste time removing your stilts and strapping them on again when you need to readjust them. Adjust the stilts to the height that allows you to comfortably reach the ceiling. Too high, and you'll be hitting your head on the ceiling. Too low, and you'll wear out your arms, reaching too high.

Step 2 – Clear Your Working Floor Space

Before adjusting and attaching your stilts, check the floor on which you'll be walking. Remove pieces of drywall, joint paper, joint compound containers, or other items you could trip over when you're walking on your stilts.

Step 3 – Adjusting Your Stilts

Each stilt is made up of two tubes, one fitting inside the other where they are connected. In each of these tubes you'll find a vertical line of bolt holes through which two adjustment bolts are inserted and will hold the stilts securely when the bolts are tight. To adjust the height of your stilts, remove these bolts. This will let the tubes easily slide up and down for adjustments. Slide the tubes to match the length you'll need your stilts to be, aligning the inside and outside tube holes. Before inserting the wing bolts through the tubes, check to be sure both stilts are adjusted to the same height. When they are, insert the wing bolts through the holes, screw on the wing nuts, and tighten them. Be sure they are tightened firmly.

Step 4 – Attaching Your Stilts to Your Legs

While sitting on a ledge or scaffold, attach one of your stilts to your leg. In the footrest of one stilt, place your foot. Wrap the calf straps around your leg and tighten it enough to firmly hold your leg in the footrest. Be careful that it is not so tight that it will shut off circulation to your leg. Attach the second stilt the same way.

Step 5 – Practicing

Before attempting to maneuver around the work area while walking on your stilts, try carefully walking a few steps to be sure your leg straps are secure but not too tight. Check the stilts' height, so you'll be able to reach the ceiling comfortably.