View Full Version : Interior stairway riser height

dan orourke
06-05-2007, 02:36 PM

Jim Luttrall
06-05-2007, 03:48 PM
No, maybe on a few risers, you might, but not on a staircase.Cheap labor ain't cheap if you have to pay for it twice. Stairs take experience and thought.

Jerry Peck
06-05-2007, 08:20 PM

But it depends on other things too.

Are ALL risers that height? Or are the bottom and top risers different?

There are ways to do it, but only if the other things fall into play properly.

If the bottom riser is too high, is this with the finished floor installed or not? If the final height of the bottom riser is too high, that's a problem.

If the bottom riser is not too high, and can be higher, then the treads would be 'layered' with plywood to attain the proper riser heights.

Here is one example which, depending on the riser heights, etc., you could install 1/8" plywood on the first tread, 3/16" plywood on the second tread, 1/4" on the third tread, etc., keeping each riser height with variation limits of 3/8" over all and adjacent, while reducing the too high upper riser heights - *IF* the riser heights worked out to allow that type of correction.

I've had a couple of stairs corrected that way, while that did not work on some other stairs.

The answer is: "Depends."

Jerry Peck
06-06-2007, 08:58 AM
Another thing to recommend (I used to do this all the time - we all KNOW the builder is not going to rip out the stairs, well, actually, I've had it done a few times, but most clients do NOT want that done) ...

Get money from the builder for "insurance".

Typical mortgage is for 30 years, typical life of a house is 75 years (got this from FEMA at a seminar, they use a 75 life span), figure about $100 per year for additional insurance which specifically covers the non-code compliant stair ... that's $3,000 for 30 years and $7,500 for 75 years. Then I tell my client to 'be prepared to pass that money on when you sell'.

Of course, most clients "forget" that last part ... until they sell ... oops. :D

I've had many, MANY, clients who *did not want* the stairs ripped out, about as many as there are builders who *do not want* to rip them out. so just pass the money around. Worked for me, my client's loved the idea.

Do you think they used that for the extra specific insurance coverage? Are you crazy, of course not. :rolleyes:

However, I did have a few who called their insurance company and were told that the stairs would be covered regardless, as long as no changes were made, and some even got that in writing. As long as the insurance company is willing to pay for a claim on a non-compliant stair, and your client is willing to accept a non-compliant stair, not much else we can do.

$7,500 is cheap for a builder to not have to rip out a stair.

John Goad
06-18-2007, 07:40 PM
Another thing that happens a lot is they will either forget to or just not, cut the 1 1/2 tread height off of the bottom of the first riser. Then you end up with the first step being an 1 1/2 taller than the rest of the steps & the top step an 1 1/2 shorter.
In most cases adding floor covering won't make the steps higher because you will be adding floor covering to the floor & each tread so it will remain the same.

Jerry Peck
06-19-2007, 05:55 AM
Builder said, we can't, we won't.

Client wants to know what he should do?

Get money.

As I described in that other thread (and other older threads).

$100 per year for insurance, 75 year life of the house, $7,500.

Or, stop by your local building department and ask them what they say about stairs with treads higher than the allowed 7-3/4".

IF they say that treads are not allowed to be higher than 7-3/4" (they might not say that), ask them what they would tell a builder to do for a stair with 8" risers.

Get that persons name (you should be talking to the Building Official or the head Building Inspector) and relay what they said to the builder (if it helps you out).

Richard Rushing
06-19-2007, 06:47 AM
I agree that going to the building inspection/ code enforcement office is next in order of things to do. You might even drop mention the address, just to see if they MIGHT want to do a re-inspect.;)