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  1. #1
    Wesley Holley's Avatar
    Wesley Holley Guest

    Default Stair Nosing -Laminate over Carpet

    Hi guys, Not being a HI I don't post often.
    I do Flooring Inspections full time in the Atlanta Area.
    I came across this today and was wondering if any GA. HI inspectors could comment on this.
    I found an installation of a laminate transition strip installed over a carpeted stair nose.
    This transition strip overhangs the wood of the stairs by 3/4 of an inch and is completely unsupported.
    Placing my weight on the strip revealed the strip to both flex and completley move 20 to 30 degrees.
    There is a new mom with an infant as well as a toddler in the home using these stairs.

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  2. #2
    Wesley Holley's Avatar
    Wesley Holley Guest

    Default Re: Stair Nosing -Laminate over Carpet

    I forgot to mention the 1/4 rounds on top of the transition strip.
    They were installed this way on both sides.
    Maybe an after thought for re-inforcement?

    "The installer just nodded his head and smiled since he spoke no english."


    Last edited by Wesley Holley; 03-03-2009 at 11:41 PM. Reason: spelling

  3. #3
    Richard Moore's Avatar
    Richard Moore Guest

    Default Re: Stair Nosing -Laminate over Carpet

    I'm not from GA, but I can see at least three posibilities...

    1: The entire strip will break off.
    2: At least a section of the bullnose will break off at the weak point; the 1/4" groove in the MDF.
    3: Someone will get hurt when #1 or #2 happens.

    But you already know that, right? As a flooring inspector, are you not allowed to report this?


  4. #4
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: Stair Nosing -Laminate over Carpet

    You need to call that just what it is. a bad Idea. You see the problems in your post and Richard just gave you a way to say whats wrong.

    Just last week I guy I my Biker group trip and went down the stairs in his home. 55years young. He hit his head on the way down. they had to cut off part of his skull to let the blood out. 2 days after the fall he was brain dead and his wife had to pull the plug on him. So young. He's now home with the lord...

    How did the stairs come out as to the T & R. ? Even or odd ?

    Best

    Ron

    Last edited by Ron Bibler; 03-04-2009 at 03:43 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Stair Nosing -Laminate over Carpet

    Not from GA either, but on something like this it should not matter where you are from, that is just plain unsafe.

    And I am not talking about the nosing overhanging the carpeted nosing and being loose/flexible/susceptible to breaking off either. While that is bad enough in and of itself ...

    ... I am talking about the raised trip and fall edge along the landing side of that nosing.

    THAT is definitely unsafe and creates a trip and fall condition, one which will send you tumbling down the stairs, which frequently has very grave consequences, such as Ron related.

    On the attached drawing from the IRC Commentary I added in the code section regarding the tread/landing slope to their drawing.

    No where is that raised nosing lip trip and fall edge allowed or permitted in the code.

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  6. #6
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Stair Nosing -Laminate over Carpet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Not from GA either, but on something like this it should not matter where you are from, that is just plain unsafe.

    And I am not talking about the nosing overhanging the carpeted nosing and being loose/flexible/susceptible to breaking off either. While that is bad enough in and of itself ...

    ... I am talking about the raised trip and fall edge along the landing side of that nosing.

    THAT is definitely unsafe and creates a trip and fall condition, one which will send you tumbling down the stairs, which frequently has very grave consequences, such as Ron related.

    On the attached drawing from the IRC Commentary I added in the code section regarding the tread/landing slope to their drawing.

    No where is that raised nosing lip trip and fall edge allowed or permitted in the code.
    JP: I see that often with wooden treads that terminate at a carpeted upper landing. The installer uses a narrow piece of wood at the nose of the top landing to "trim out" the transition to the carpet. These are easy to trip on.


  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: Stair Nosing -Laminate over Carpet

    I would also bet that the manufacturer of that flooring does not approve that type of installation.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  8. #8
    Wesley Holley's Avatar
    Wesley Holley Guest

    Default Re: Stair Nosing -Laminate over Carpet

    Thanks for the drawing w/ code!
    I did state in the report this is a dangerous and potential trip hazard.
    In retrospect, I wish I had pulled up the whole mess so I could have slept last night.


  9. #9
    Richard Moore's Avatar
    Richard Moore Guest

    Default Re: Stair Nosing -Laminate over Carpet

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I would also bet that the manufacturer of that flooring does not approve that type of installation.
    Certainly not installed like in the photos, but that is the type of stair nosing recommended by Pergo for step-downs from a floating floor and also for stair treads. See http://na.pergo.com/Images/how_to/In...ials_Guide.pdf
    starting at chapter 18 on page 8.

    I don't want to get into yet another prolonged argument here, but I don't see a properly installed and profiled nosing being a trip hazard. Try approaching the top of any stairs and you automatically adjust your stride so that your foot would cover the transition...pinkies dangling over the edge. I'm trying to picture someone being that close to the edge of the stairs, without intending to go down them, and actually tripping...I just can't. I know it's not in the IRC but Pergo has been around a long time and you would think they would have been sued to the hilt if this was a real issue.

    IMHO, FWIW, Wesleys's install is most dangerous for the reasons I mentioned earlier, the nosing suddenly giving way when stepped ON.

    And that's all I have to say about that.


  10. #10
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
    Darrel Hood Guest

    Default Re: Stair Nosing -Laminate over Carpet

    I don't even need to look at a code book to tell my clients this is an unsafe condition in the clearest possible terms. I also don't care if Pergo or anybody else disagrees. I wear trifocal glasses, and I have learned the hard way twice that they have blind spots that make walking down stairs require conscious attention. Your client may have a relative who also wears trifocals and will appreciate the safest practical stairway.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Stair Nosing -Laminate over Carpet

    Some other code which affects that, as far as writing it up goes, are these:

    The tread is required to be in place and level to within 1/4" per foot, and the nosing is a projection of the tread, thus, the nosing is to be 'level with', 'even with', or 'aligned with' the surface of the tread and then project forward.

    The projection of any nosing is required to be within 3/8" of all other nosings, that looks like it projection out another 3/4"+/- from the carpeted nosing (which are presumably present from there down to the bottom of the stairs).

    However, unlike the 3/8" variation allowed for tread depth and riser depth which is allowed to vary within any given flight of stairs, i.e., landing-to-landing, the 3/8" variation allowed for nosing projection includes all flights of stairs from one floor-level-to-another-floor-level, not just from landing-to-landing.

    That is all covered in IRC R311.5.3.3 Profile.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  12. #12

    Default Re: Stair Nosing -Laminate over Carpet

    I'm not sure how many people will trip on this trim installation, but they will likely be the same one's to trip on almost every exterior door threshold as well.........


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Stair Nosing -Laminate over Carpet

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    I'm not sure how many people will trip on this trim installation, but they will likely be the same one's to trip on almost every exterior door threshold as well.........
    Brandon,

    One *expects* a threshold at a door.

    One *does not expect* a threshold at the top of a stairway.

    Take a mother holding an infant or child, or clothes basket, or even anyone carrying anything bulky, and they could very easily find the fastest way down the stairs is not walking down, but oh that landing can be painful.

    I have found that very condition and TREADS, each and every tread, yikes! It is simply the way some manufacturers make their stair nosing, and the installers think nothing of using it. Most manufacturers also make a proper nosing which T&G connects to the tread wood with the top surface of the nosing flush with the top surface of the tread - as it should be.

    Just because 'they've been doing it that way in Europe for decades' does not make it safe or right, yet most people here in the states will assume something is good 'if it has been used in Europe'.

    I think the only stair nosings you will find the way shown in the photo are the cheap laminates, real wood comes with nosings which have flush surfaces.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  14. #14

    Default Re: Stair Nosing -Laminate over Carpet

    I am a NC Home Inspector who used to work in the laminate flooring industry. The installation specifications that we had (at my company, the name is synonymous with laminate flooring) do not allow for the manner of installation you show. All laminate stair-nosing that I am familiar with must be supported completely and fastened properly. Your pictures show they did not follow manufacturers specifications and I would state just that!

    Jeff Z

    Jeff Zehnder - Home Inspector, Raleigh, NC
    http://www.jjeffzehnder.com/
    http://carolinahomeinspections.com/

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