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  1. #1
    Kris Ericsen's Avatar
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    Red face Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    Hi Guys

    I know your thinking more about cold beer than cold weather; but I'm trying to find a design graphic for my report to illustrate how a set of high deck stairs originally built with open risers, can meet the 4 inch ball rule while still affording maximum broom clearance for snow removal.

    The young family with a ton of tikes likes this 2004 home with a nice rear deck, woods to play in and mountain views. The deck is built on treated members, well secured with plenty of Simpson hardware and uses composite deck planks and railing members. A previous HI ordered the open risers closed and some crappy thin plywood was slapped on.

    The plywood is now all de-lammed and uhgglee. The nosings aren't deep enough for thicker riser material and blocking will have to be put in from the back between the four stair jacks. Any body got an elegent solution for these folks?

    Thanks

    Kris Ericsen
    Alaska Building Inspections
    Anchorage, AK

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  2. #2
    Elliot Franson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    Mr. Ericsen:

    It seems that the delaminated risers are not the only issue with those stairs if code compliance is a consideration. The rail is not graspable or "grippable" as the code says.

    As to the risers, if it were mine, I would replace the plywood with 3/4" solid stock below the treads leaving a 3-15/16" opening at the bottom of the riser for snow clearance and screw and glue on nosings to the treads to cover the new risers.

    Just my opinion.

    Last edited by Elliot Franson; 07-19-2010 at 05:52 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    Won't help much with the 16-riser (or 17-riser) safety-issue that open stairway contains (if my count is correct - difficult to see as low-res when blown up gets distorted). The riser from ground landing and that of the deck platform count in that calculation.

    12-risers max without an intermediate landing (that'd be 36" min in all directions of travel).

    So, if you're really looking to make it safe and compliant there's a re-design and more work than just replacing deteriorating plywood in your future.


  4. #4
    erika krieger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Won't help much with the 16-riser (or 17-riser) safety-issue that open stairway contains (if my count is correct - difficult to see as low-res when blown up gets distorted). The riser from ground landing and that of the deck platform count in that calculation.

    12-risers max without an intermediate landing (that'd be 36" min in all directions of travel).
    It's a maximum 12 FEET of rise, not 12 risers, but at 16 or 17 risers, and 7" rise, you're getting close....

    A flight of stairs shall not have a vertical rise greater than 12 feet (3658 mm) between floor levels or landings.


    What about a bar- wood or metal- across between the stringers allowing just under 4 " spacing... and mount a graspable handrail on 1 side .... and check that triangular space for passage of a 6" sphere... and maybe adding the landing ... and ... maybe HG has a point- there's a new stair in someone's future.



  5. #5
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    I'd go with a small metal bar across the riser. That should allow you to push the snow through, and still meet the 4" requirement. That looks to me like it's one story up, so the rise shouldn't be more than 10 feet.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  6. #6
    Elliot Franson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    12-risers max without an intermediate landing (that'd be 36" min in all directions of travel).
    Mr. Watson: I have not heard this before. Can you please supply me with a reference? Thank you.


  7. #7
    C.Johnson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    There is a thinner composite board that could possibly be used for that, it is primarily sold to cover the band of the deck so that the treated lumber is not in view. it would have to be ripped down to fit this appliction but you should be able to find a color to match ( at least close to a match) my only concern would be the strength of it or if it would get wavy with no support behind it. It is only around 3/8" thick or so. Just a Thought...


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    Quote Originally Posted by erika krieger View Post
    It's a maximum 12 FEET of rise, not 12 risers, but at 16 or 17 risers, and 7" rise, you're getting close....

    A flight of stairs shall not have a vertical rise greater than 12 feet (3658 mm) between floor levels or landings.

    Yes, E.K. mea culpa I did mean to say 12-feet of risers.

    This is an exterior/outdoor exposed, open stairway.


  9. #9
    Elliot Franson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    Yes, E.K. mea culpa I did mean to say 12-feet of risers.
    Omnia condonabuntur Mr. Watson.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    Quote Originally Posted by Elliot Franson View Post
    Mr. Watson: I have not heard this before. Can you please supply me with a reference? Thank you.
    I made a mistake (lost track of what I was typing whilst I hunt and peck type) and failed to type the words "feet of". I meant to say 12-feet of risers max. (between landings) The minimum dimmensions of an intermediate landing are also in the same code section. Erica K. had already pointed out and corrected my erroreous omission.

    You requested the citation, here it is:

    R311.5.4 Landings for Stairways

    R311.5.4 Landings for Stairways.



    There shall be a floor or landing at the top and bottom of each stairway.
    Exception: A floor or landing is not required at the top of an interior flight of stairs, including stairs in an enclosed garage, provided a door does not swing over the stairs.
    A flight of stairs shall not have a vertical rise greater than 12 feet between floor levels or landings.

    The width of each landing shall not be less than the stairway served. Every landing shall have a minimum dimension of 36 inches measured in the direction of travel.
    Hope that suits your needs.

    P.S. Condescending tone and futuristic, if not intended, ignosco tibi , is more correct, esp. following mea culpa.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 07-19-2010 at 10:19 AM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    K.E.,Curious, that window above the cantilevered bump-out containing door to the deck, is it the only window in a bedroom or similar habital space?


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    Kris-

    Many builders often use code risers in the case that hang from the tread above down just far enough so you have less than 4" behind each tread to push the snow through.

    You can easily make these by getting a piece of the matching composite decking (assuming it is solid type) and rip it down on a table saw.


    -Joe.


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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Dach View Post
    Kris-

    Many builders often use code risers in the case that hang from the tread above down just far enough so you have less than 4" behind each tread to push the snow through.

    You can easily make these by getting a piece of the matching composite decking (assuming it is solid type) and rip it down on a table saw.


    -Joe.
    Poster is in Alaska. Can use 1X8 cedar fence planks ripped lengthwise, avoiding pieces with loose knots.

    Elliot called it in the first post, use real wood, leave a slot open.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  14. #14
    Timothy M. Barr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    Use same material as steps are made of screw from top down and from the bottom up


  15. #15
    Elliot Franson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy M. Barr View Post
    Use same material as steps are made of screw from top down and from the bottom up
    Also use resorcinol glue when applying the nosings. Messy, but effective.


  16. #16
    Timothy M. Barr's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    never tried that May have to thanks for the idea


  17. #17
    Philip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    A lot of us were not altar boys and our Latin is shaky at best. Please continue with the Latin, only give us the translations.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    Quote Originally Posted by Kris Ericsen View Post
    Hi Guys

    I know your thinking more about cold beer than cold weather; but I'm trying to find a design graphic for my report to illustrate how a set of high deck stairs originally built with open risers, can meet the 4 inch ball rule while still affording maximum broom clearance for snow removal.

    The young family with a ton of tikes likes this 2004 home with a nice rear deck, woods to play in and mountain views. The deck is built on treated members, well secured with plenty of Simpson hardware and uses composite deck planks and railing members. A previous HI ordered the open risers closed and some crappy thin plywood was slapped on.

    The plywood is now all de-lammed and uhgglee. The nosings aren't deep enough for thicker riser material and blocking will have to be put in from the back between the four stair jacks. Any body got an elegent solution for these folks?

    Thanks

    Kris Ericsen
    Alaska Building Inspections
    Anchorage, AK
    Kris Ericsen,

    Having re-visited your original post, I realize none (myself included) "caught" your request for design graphics demonstrating code-compliant solutions.

    The Stairway Manufacturer's Association has for several sucessive IRC code cycles produced just such material. It is available for download for free. Here is a link to a main page, note the column area to the right as you scroll down, you will see downloadable links to pdf files.

    Admit am out-of-touch with the current status of building code adoptions in your area, but IIRC did see some 2003 references somewhere state-wide, with local areas having adopted more recent versions incorporated into your codes.

    There is an open option regarding installation of a guard splitting the opening lengthwise that might be used, A dowel, bar, etc and the photos in the SMA materials (at least for the 03 & 06 versions) demonstrate the 4" and 6" sphere well. However was loathe to suggest as an option, for your pleaded application, as in my many years have seen such become a trip and fall hazard for young ones year-round especially as they climb the stairs, and most especially as they become tired from the actions of the climb, or head down with flip-flops, etc. which is why IMHO such a minimalist guard is not "safe", although it may meet code and suit your needs.

    Here is the link (click to open new page, or cut & paste in your browser) to the Stairway Manufacturer's Association's website (you will see the links under the heading "IRC Visual Code Interpretations" about a third down in the yellow right margin): Stairway Manufacturer's Association - SMA: Codes and Standards

    Realizing this is likely far-too-late for report which you posted about, perhaps this will still work for follow-up or in the event you need to refer in the future.

    Hope that suits your needs.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    On the one issue of the maximum number of risers, at the maximum 7-3/4" riser height, there could be 19 risers in 12 feet (18.5, but that would need to be 19), and lower riser heights would allow more risers in that 12 foot height.

    On the issue of a graphic for correcting it, I drew the attached, which is simply a 2x2 (1-1/2" by 1-1/2") across the opening at the center of the height of the opening.

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    On the one issue of the maximum number of risers, at the maximum 7-3/4" riser height, there could be 19 risers in 12 feet (18.5, but that would need to be 19), and lower riser heights would allow more risers in that 12 foot height.

    On the issue of a graphic for correcting it, I drew the attached, which is simply a 2x2 (1-1/2" by 1-1/2") across the opening at the center of the height of the opening.
    jp,
    you might want to check your math! focus! remember to include the thickness of the tread in your calculation. your solution makes it real difficult to push snow thru the opening, but being in flahdah that probably is not an issue!


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    Quote Originally Posted by brian schmitt View Post
    you might want to check your math! focus! remember to include the thickness of the tread in your calculation.
    (slaps hand to forehead) DUH!

    Okay, so use a 1x2 instead and make up half that distance error I made.

    your solution makes it real difficult to push snow thru the opening, but being in flahdah that probably is not an issue!

    Nah, you will be pushing the snow through with the toe of your boots.

    Okay, don't like it "centered" in the height, then simply install that horizontal bar so there is 3-7/8" between it and the tread below it.

    Jeez, do I have to think of EVERYTHING for you?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    Where's the center stringer(s) in your diagram?


  23. #23
    erika krieger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    There are plenty of photos online that you can use for inspiration- from simple to absurd.... Here are 2 that illustrate what others have mentioned- using a rod and using a half-riser. Both are from this website
    Open Plan staircases from Stairplan Openplan Open Riser Open Rise Staircase

    stairOPENriser2.jpg

    stairOPENriser5.jpg

    Or something like this could be adapted using simple exterior grade materials. The rod could easily be the 2x in Jerry's illustration.

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  24. #24
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    (slaps hand to forehead) DUH!

    Okay, so use a 1x2 instead and make up half that distance error I made.




    Nah, you will be pushing the snow through with the toe of your boots.

    Okay, don't like it "centered" in the height, then simply install that horizontal bar so there is 3-7/8" between it and the tread below it.

    Jeez, do I have to think of EVERYTHING for you?
    jp,
    thank you for your continued support! i had to wing it for the week you were sitting in the corner and it was tough. why didn't you just assume another identity like others did?


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Open Stair Risers in Snow Country

    Quote Originally Posted by brian schmitt View Post
    jp,
    thank you for your continued support! i had to wing it for the week you were sitting in the corner and it was tough. why didn't you just assume another identity like others did?
    'Cause I was never sent to the corner? I was sent (went with my wife ) to the mountains for vacation. Lucky timing on me missing the flare up and all the fun.

    I know that Aaron's was removed, too bad as he gave a lot of very good information - who was sent to the corner?

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