Using Dura-Stilts can save your back during some jobs working up high and help you move faster without having to climb up, down, up, and down. If you have never used stilts before, you may be nervous, but with practice and basic safety measures Dura-Stilts can help you and your business.
There are three types of Dura-Stilts; Dura III, Model IV, and fixed height. Dura III is the original and best selling stilt in the industry. Model IV is a more modern extension device, lightweight, modern closures, and made to be more comfortable. The fixed height stilt is ultra lightweight and made for work without varying heights. Of the three types of Dura-Stilts the lowest level is 14”.
Starting off on stilts, it is important to start at the lowest height available, preferably 14”. Ensure your practice area is clear of any obstructions and that the practice surface is smooth. Have a friend to help you strap into the stilts and to offer a shoulder to help you balance.
To strap in, step one foot in and always start with strapping in your calf first, then foot. Use a friend for help stepping up and strapping in your other foot, starting by strapping in leg first. Make sure the straps are tight and adjust them as you walk if you need to. While standing still get a feel for your center and feel yourself balanced. Try walking near a wall, as long as there are no vents or other tripping hazards. Take somewhat high steps to make sure your feet clear the floor, you don’t want to shuffle your feet. You will also want to make sure you don’t cross or bump your stilts into each other.
When you start off, take short steps, and only walk forward. If you need to turn around, do a U-turn. As you start feeling more secure, you may take longer steps, but make sure the floor is clear of sand, pebbles, or anything else that could cause the stilt to slide out from under you.
To give you the best real-experience advice, we roped a young employee into trying out Dura-Stilts. Jarrod tried out the D1830 pair in the store. He took a few bambi-like steps but seemed to get the hang of it quickly. He even strapped in and out without assistance. When asked if walking heel-toe or flat footed was best, he thought flat footed was the way to go, at least at first.
“Until you get used to them, stepping on your heel makes you wobble more than taking a flat step,” said Jarrod
If you are interested in trying Dura-Stilts for your next drywall job, just follow a few dos and don’ts to get started. Practice a lot, follow the above precautions, and select the stilts that work best for you and your job.