Can you put scaffolding in a stairwell? And why would you want to use it? Even though a stairwell is often a confined indoor space, it is still possible to hire specialised scaffolding for stairs. They’re designed for you to reach otherwise inaccessible areas safely and easily.

What is Stairwell Scaffolding?

Scaffolding for stairs shouldn’t be confused with scaffolding that uses stairs to access different levels.

In this guide, we’re not talking about the many types of stairs connecting the different levels of large scaffolding structures. Rather, scaffolding solely designed for working inside and around a stairwell in a building.

The basic idea of stairwell scaffolding is the same as any other kind of scaffold. We erect a secure structure in a stairwell or around a staircase so that workers can safely reach heights above the building’s stairs without having to rely on unstable ladders.

Indoor scaffolding for stairs provides a stable, adjustable working framework that can be adapted to the available space. They allow you or your hired contractors to move more freely, work faster and be more productive – while prioritising safety.

Key components and design features

Standard stairwell scaffolding is a vertical structure proportioned to be erected inside a stairwell. It has modular components like extension frames that allow height to be added as required.

The stair scaffold is usually anchored to the floor using a base plate with a jack, rather than castors, for optimal stability. They’re quick to assemble, disassemble and move around.

The framework itself is a simple and secure combination of risers, platforms, cross braces and guardrails. These are typically made of aluminium, providing a blend of strength and lightness. They’re secured to each other using hooks or connectors.

Types of scaffolding for stairs

There are two main types of stairwell scaffolding:

  1. A modular stairway access tower comes in a choice of standard sizes that fit the width of most residential homes. It uses prefabricated parts that are raised from the base to the desired height. This kind of freestanding scaffolding provides good manoeuvrability. An elevated platform is supported by a frame composed of interconnected uprights and cross braces. This makes it a much sturdier option than step ladders or ladders combined with planking, and it’s suitable for most home stairways.
  2. A stair scaffold podium is a more compact version of the above, to fit into places where a tower-style scaffold doesn’t. This is a stripped down (yet equally safe) scaffold that has four legs supporting a podium surrounded by guard rails. These are most useful when you only need to reach a certain height, without having to move laterally. This can be for a simple task like hanging a painting, or more complex work like installing light fittings.

Benefits of Using Scaffolding for Stairs

As with all scaffolding, the enhanced safety for workers and building occupants is the primary concern. Stairwell scaffolding also offers several ergonomic benefits.

1. A stable and safe working platform

The scaffold provides a stable work platform that allows people to access greater heights, move around safely on the platform, and transfer materials up and down, without exposing themselves to unnecessary risks. If you imagine painting your ceiling just using a ladder, compared to working on a small stair scaffold, you’ll immediately appreciate how much more stable and manoeuvrable you can be on the latter. You can also store all the materials you use right next to you, without balancing them precariously on a ladder.

2. Increased accessibility

The scaffolding framework provides accessibility for a variety of different construction and maintenance tasks. Hard-to-reach areas become available to work in, without any additional risk. You can easily access ceiling crevices, for instance. Importantly, because the platform allows you to move laterally, you don’t have to compromise your stability by stretching to reach specific areas.

3. Work versatility

Stairwell scaffolding allows for a wide array of different types of construction and indoor finishing work. You can paint and maintain your ceiling, make repairs to it, and install and access light fittings. Stairway scaffolding is also easy to move around your house, so you can carry out a variety of projects using the same scaffold module.

4. Scaffolding stairs are less tiring

Once again, contrast balancing on a ladder for a few hours of painting a ceiling with standing on a platform doing the same job. Scaffolding means that you don’t have to maintain your balance all the time, which can be tiring. It allows you to relax and work as if you were on the floor, with all your materials within easy reach. As a result, you can work faster for longer to get the job done quicker.

5. A home-friendly option

A modular stairway scaffold is designed to be erected and disassembled quickly and easily. This makes it easy to put up at the beginning of each day’s work and remove afterwards, rather than leaving it in place for the duration of the project. This makes it a home-friendly option, as you won’t have to manoeuvre your way around scaffolding stairs in the evenings when they’re not being used.

Common Applications of Stairway Scaffolding

You can use stairwell scaffolding for a range of household tasks. These mobile scaffolding towers are versatile, mobile and adaptable, enabling jobs like:

  • Ceiling maintenance and repairs
  • Painting ceilings above staircases
  • Painting and decorating high stairwells
  • Installing fixtures and fittings
  • Wall work in stairwells

How To Choose the Right Stairwell Scaffolding

The first step is to properly assess the scope of the job and what the project needs. Take into account the height at which you need to work, the placement and shape of your stairwell, and how easy it is to access.

Step 2 is where you work out the height and weight capacity that your stairway scaffolding will need. This is important to ensure stability and safety.

In Step 3 you’ll compare the different stair scaffolds and choose the most appropriate type for your project.

As a last step, get recommendations and quotes from different suppliers, based on your specific project needs so that you can compare your choices.

It also pays to consult professional scaffolding suppliers like us for advice on the most efficient and cost-effective type of scaffolding. We’ll help you to hire the right kind of stairwell scaffolding so that you can work safely and efficiently, especially if you just need to do some easy DIY work.

Best Practices

Stairwell scaffolding is subject to the same laws, regulations and standards as any other type of scaffolding in Australia. All scaffold towers need to follow height regulations. Working on any platform higher than 4m is classified as High Risk Work, according to the Australian Work, Health and Safety (WHS) regulations.

Specifically, the AS/NZS 1576 standard sets out the requirements for designing, assembling, maintaining and dismantling of scaffolding.

Why Choose ALTA Scaffolding

It’s not difficult to hire the right scaffolding stairs for your home maintenance projects – there are plenty of versatile, purpose-designed options. As with any home DIY work that requires you to hire equipment, it’s always best to consult a professional and reputable scaffold supply company before proceeding. At ALTA Scaffolding we’ll ensure that you get the right scaffolding for the job, so you can get it done safely, with minimum hassle.

When you need to hire stairwell scaffolding, speak to us. We’ll supply exactly what you want, and provide any assistance you may need.


  • Joshua Knight

    Joshua Knight is the General Manager at ALTA Scaffolding, and has extensive experience with scaffolding hire for commercial, high-rise, residential and mining projects in the Newcastle, NSW area.

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Joshua Knight

Joshua Knight is the General Manager at ALTA Scaffolding, and has extensive experience with scaffolding hire for commercial, high-rise, residential and mining projects in the Newcastle, NSW area.

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