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Thread: Stairway ?

  1. #1
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    Default Stairway ?

    I'm questioning the openings on the side of these stairs. I've never came across any as such.

    Any thoughts or opinions?

    rick

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Stairway ?

    The only thing I can think of that may be a building code issue would be the low guard height. The gap between the treads and guard would be a common sense thing that I would write up if I thought is posed a trip / fall hazard. Sorry, not much help...


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    As long as it is less than 4" just move along.
    Nothing to see other than that odd post height.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    As long as it is less than 4" just move along.
    Nothing to see other than that odd post height.
    I do not see it like that. If an older person or even a younger child were holding the rail supporting themselves I can easily see someone twisting an ankle or such and falling down the stairs. Three inches is quite a gap.

    I would definately write it up as a *possible* trip hazard so they can at least know to look out for the gap. Bring it to their attention and let them do as they wish.


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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    I do not see it like that. If an older person or even a younger child were holding the rail supporting themselves I can easily see someone twisting an ankle or such and falling down the stairs. Three inches is quite a gap.

    I would definately write it up as a *possible* trip hazard so they can at least know to look out for the gap. Bring it to their attention and let them do as they wish.
    Tell you what...
    If you have any stairs in your house try walking down with your feet all the way up against the guardrail or better yet tape it on video for us to show how silly that would look

    I am very strict when I write up stairs,porches,balconies,etc and see no problem but if you feel it as an issue do so as IYO.


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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    I do not see it like that. If an older person or even a younger child were holding the rail supporting themselves I can easily see someone twisting an ankle or such and falling down the stairs. Three inches is quite a gap.

    I would definately write it up as a *possible* trip hazard so they can at least know to look out for the gap. Bring it to their attention and let them do as they wish.
    That gets my vote. Three inches is easily enough for a little kid to stick a foot into.

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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    That gets my vote. Three inches is easily enough for a little kid to stick a foot into.
    Then do you also write up that a 4 inch separation of balusters is enough to get a kids foot stuck in as well?

    If we wish to act as nannies we should also put in a disclaimer that kids should not slide down the banister.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Any thoughts or opinions?

    That looks like some sorta candid camera set up (for carpenters).

    When I see something like this it immediately makes me suspicious of everything, knowing it was done by someone without any knowledge of stairs and obviously unaware that they make different length newl post.


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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    As long as it is less than 4" just move along.
    Nothing to see other than that odd post height.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    I am very strict when I write up stairs,porches,balconies,etc and see no problem
    Sure does not sound that way here ...

    The guard rail is required
    - R312.1 Guards. Porches, balconies, ramps or raised floor surfaces located more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor or grade below shall have guards not less than 36 inches (914 mm) in height. Open sides of stairs with a total rise of more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor or grade below shall have guards not less than 34 inches (864 mm) in height measured vertically from the nosing of the treads.
    - - Porches and decks which are enclosed with insect screening shall be equipped with guards where the walking surface is located more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor or grade below.

    First, the guard is not at the open side of the stairs, it is offset 3" or so.

    Second, being offset 3" of so means you cannot measure vertically from the nosing of the treads to the top of the guard (the guard is 3" or so away).


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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    Then do you also write up that a 4 inch separation of balusters is enough to get a kids foot stuck in as well?

    If we wish to act as nannies we should also put in a disclaimer that kids should not slide down the banister.

    Bob

    Not me (even though I AM SLOWLY GETTING OLDER) , older folks and young kids. Yes I see little kids going up or down stairs right up against the rail as well as older folks as well.

    Do I see little kids sticking their foot thru the balusters ????? my own kids did and my nieces and nephews do. At that time they are stopped. They are not walking up or down.

    When you are walking down a path and talking to someone and not looking at every step and the ground has a 3 inch gully to your right that half your foot is over and the left half is on flat ground........It is called twisting your ankle. Especially if you are up in age. In a home you tend to look around the room at the folks in the room and not watching every step.

    Just my opinion. I would never build a stair that way and I am not sure why anyone would.


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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    In the middle of a report but will reconsider and chime in later.
    I am usually more concerned with gaps such as in the picture.

    I do not see a small gap on the edge as an immediate trip hazard at first glance and Jerry did not point out anything directly related in code from what I can tell.



    Stairway issues.jpg


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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    The gap provides for the possibility of some type of accident. Code, smode. SOP minimal inspection???? You should be informing the client of possible issues that they may encounter with the property even though it may/may not be within some code guidelines based on date of installation. 1st by informing the client that the steps could cause a problem is why you are there. 2nd by pointing out that there may be an issue in the future covers your but for liability. A Home Inspection is done to have an experienced person point out what the inexperienced client may not have seen or didn't know.


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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    The gap provides for the possibility of some type of accident. Code, smode. SOP minimal inspection???? You should be informing the client of possible issues that they may encounter with the property even though it may/may not be within some code guidelines based on date of installation. 1st by informing the client that the steps could cause a problem is why you are there. 2nd by pointing out that there may be an issue in the future covers your but for liability. A Home Inspection is done to have an experienced person point out what the inexperienced client may not have seen or didn't know.
    OK on second look will agree however it does not seem to be a serious issue IMO.


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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    R.H.

    Do you have another photo view from the lower stair approaching the intermediate landing? I'm interested in seeing better unobstructed view of that contrasting surface projection between landing and that lower newel and the guard between newel and wall. Do you have some scale reference for that apparent trip hazard?

    Also second riser down from intermediate landing - what was that measurement from the nose of the tread to guard - from this perspective looks very shy (difficult to visualize with photographed obstruction/foreground/upper stair guard.

    Am curious what the height of the questionably graspable hand-rail/guard is?

    I presume this is the path from habital/sleeping rooms above to the primary exit door. It would seem to me the monolithic projections for these newels are perhaps in and of themselves not expressly prohibited, but are violative of the safety-intentions of the stair codes.

    As we now require handrails to be returned so as to prevent the (sadly previously common) catching of clothing, carried items (such as purse straps, backpacks, book bags), etc. from those (assending and) decending the stairway and causing falls, trips, persons being strangled/hung on clothing while falling/sliding down after being "caught", and the dangerous-ness of such a catching or entrapment hazard when using the stair in exigent/emergent circumstances (such as smoke or fire, storm approaching, etc.). It would also seem to be an attractive nuisiance type design should one start swinging around the "pole" (or dancing on it?). It would also seem to be a possible impalement hazard should one take a "header" off the top of the stairway. It seems excessive in height and one would expect if not continued or returned safely, would be expected to be shortened. (not to mention it looks ugly- as does most of the questionable "craftsmanship" and/or "design" of this stairway.

    Would like to see more pictures and measurements.

    If the ballisters aren't spaced appropriately, like any other safety issue regarding the stair code and such safety issues - I think it is entirely reasonable to note as a defect or safety issue.

    BY THE WAY, I don't see a light switch control pictured and accessible at this intermediate landing, is there one?




  15. #15

    Default Re: Stairway ?

    BY THE WAY, I don't see a light switch control pictured and accessible at this intermediate landing, is there one?
    HG:

    Is there a code requirement to have a light switch control at an intermediate landing? If so, will you let me know where to find it.

    Thanks....


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    Is there a code requirement to have a light switch control at an intermediate landing? If so, will you let me know where to find it.

    Not H. G. but, ...

    Yes.

    From the NEC: (bold and underlining are mine)
    - 210.70 Lighting Outlets Required.
    - - Lighting outlets shall be installed where specified in 210.70(A), (B), and (C).
    - - - (A) Dwelling Units. In dwelling units, lighting outlets shall be installed in accordance with 210.70(A)(1), (A)(2), and (A)(3).
    - - - - (1) Habitable Rooms. At least one wall switch–controlled lighting outlet shall be installed in every habitable room and bathroom.
    - - - - - Exception No. 1: In other than kitchens and bathrooms, one or more receptacles controlled by a wall switch shall be permitted in lieu of lighting outlets.
    - - - - - Exception No. 2: Lighting outlets shall be permitted to be controlled by occupancy sensors that are (1) in addition to wall switches or (2) located at a customary wall switch location and equipped with a manual override that will allow the sensor to function as a wall switch.
    - - - - (2) Additional Locations. Additional lighting outlets shall be installed in accordance with (A)(2)(a), (A)(2)(b), and (A)(2)(c).
    - - - - - (a) At least one wall switch–controlled lighting outlet shall be installed in hallways, stairways, attached garages, and detached garages with electric power.
    - - - - - (b) For dwelling units, attached garages, and detached garages with electric power, at least one wall switch–controlled lighting outlet shall be installed to provide illumination on the exterior side of outdoor entrances or exits with grade level access. A vehicle door in a garage shall not be considered as an outdoor entrance or exit.
    - - - - - (c) Where one or more lighting outlet(s) are installed for interior stairways, there shall be a wall switch at each floor level, and landing level that includes an entryway, to control the lighting outlet(s) where the stairway between floor levels has six risers or more.
    - - - - - - Exception to (A)(2)(a), (A)(2)(b), and (A)(2)(c): In hallways, in stairways, and at outdoor entrances, remote, central, or automatic control of lighting shall be permitted.

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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    I might as well include the IRC too:
    - E3803.3 Additional locations. At least one wall-switch-controlled lighting outlet shall be installed in hallways, stairways, attached garages, and detached garages with electric power. At least one wall-switch-controlled lighting outlet shall be installed to provide illumination on the exterior side of each outdoor egress door having grade level access, including outdoor egress doors for attached garages and detached garages with electric power. A vehicle door in a garage shall not be considered as an outdoor egress door. Where one or more lighting outlets are installed for interior stairways, there shall be a wall switch at each floor level and landing level that includes an entryway to control the lighting outlets where the stairway between floor levels has six or more risers.
    - - Exception: In hallways, stairways, and at outdoor egress doors, remote, central, or automatic control of lighting shall be permitted.



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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    I may be missing something in those photos, but I do not see an intermediate entry way or landing.

    Looks to me like it goes down from the top, around at that intermediate landing (with no entry way), then down to the floor below.

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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Jerry,
    You are correct.


    Mr. Watson, I have no other pics but your correct in that the riser upto the landing was only 6 in. in height.

    Was there a switch at the landing? No.
    There was a graspable handrail on the opposite wall and it did return back to the wall.
    I agree its an ugly stairway, but the home was built by one of our Yankee builders in town.
    Go figure.

    rick


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    I have never seen a light switch at an intermediate landing in my 56 years and do not see a reason for it unless of course there was an entryway at that level. Of course that is part of E3803.3 as Jerry pasted.

    As far as the builder being a Yankee it does not mean that anyone up there builds stairs like that but then again the are freaks everywhere.


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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    I have never seen a light switch at an intermediate landing in my 56 years and do not see a reason for it unless of course there was an entryway at that level. Of course that is part of E3803.3 as Jerry pasted.

    As far as the builder being a Yankee it does not mean that anyone up there builds stairs like that but then again the are freaks everywhere.
    Is there an entryway on the landing?

    Where one or more lighting outlets are installed for interior stairways, there shall be a wall switch at each floor level and landing level that includes an entryway


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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    I have never seen a light switch at an intermediate landing in my 56 years and do not see a reason for it ...
    Precisely why you never see one there, and why one is not required there ...
    [/quote] ... unless of course there was an entryway at that level.[/quote]

    Yep.

    Rick,

    I keep wondering how high the top of that railing was measured not from the wall it is resting on but from the nosing of the treads? It does not 'look' to be high enough, but that could just be an optical illusion.

    Are those puckers along the edges of the wood floor over by that window?

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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Jerry could you highlight the part of the code you pasted above that shows requirement of a landing switch in this situation.?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    Jerry could you highlight the part of the code you pasted above that shows requirement of a landing switch in this situation.?

    Bob,

    Either you are missing something in your reading of the above posts of mine, or, I am not saying what I am saying clear enough (even though others understood I may have room for improvement in the wording).

    Point to me where I said there was a requirement for a switch at the landing in that situation.

    I believe you will find that I said just the opposite. In fact, I can re-post and re-highlight the code which states that if you need me to.

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  25. #25

    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Thanks Jerry,

    I understood your answer; it was my question that was unclear. Should have asked "is a switch required at that landing". Wasn't thinking about landings where there is a door........


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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Bob,

    Either you are missing something in your reading of the above posts of mine, or, I am not saying what I am saying clear enough (even though others understood I may have room for improvement in the wording).

    Point to me where I said there was a requirement for a switch at the landing in that situation.

    I believe you will find that I said just the opposite. In fact, I can re-post and re-highlight the code which states that if you need me to.
    Perhaps post #16 when you answered "yes" threw me off.
    You said very little else besides the pasting of the code.


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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    This reminds me of gaps between deck surfaces and a house... or where a deck is built around a tree and there are openings. Whether or not the code addresses it doesn't even make my radar. I point it out so the buyers are aware. It's amazing how many times you point something like this out to someone who is truly amazed (and thankful). In the end that's what we're there for. They don't care how it should or shouldn't have been built (code). They just care what it is and what the potential problems are.

    I guess I just had too many drunk friends (when I was younger) and too many young kids (currently) that I recognize any gap in a walking surface is just an accident waiting to happen.

    Sorry to drift here but this reminds me of something at an inspection a couple weeks ago. I was pointing out the uneven risers on a set of stairs and the buyer started a little rant about how the building code is all just a bunch of politics... about two sentences in he headed down the stairs (already having forgotten what I even said) and stumbled to his knees. Being a nice guy I pretended to be looking elsewhere to keep him from looking like the arse that he was

    Some days I really love my job....


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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    Perhaps post #16 when you answered "yes" threw me off.
    You said very little else besides the pasting of the code.
    Bob,

    Got it now.

    I only said "Yes." but used the highlighted parts of the code to explain the limitations of that "Yes."

    I should have said "Yes, if ... " and then explained the "if".

    My apologies for the vagueness.

    The real answer is (and AHJ use it all the time): "It depends." Then further information is needed before a definitive answer could be given.

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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    You must be a nice guy Matt. My response would have been... And that makes my point!


  30. #30
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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    What I do not know is the history of the house. Was it functional for a family of say two adults and seven children. The staircase is not designed and executed for one hundred per-cent safety, but did it get a bunch of kids upstairs for a safe place to sleep. I guess I just grew up in another time, where in a house my Grandpa and his two oldest sons built, the steps to the attic bedroom where four boys and numerous grandchildren slept had knocked many a head before we all learned to duck. Why do so many people want to take away personal responsibility?


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    This reminds me of gaps between deck surfaces and a house... or where a deck is built around a tree and there are openings. Whether or not the code addresses it doesn't even make my radar. I point it out so the buyers are aware. It's amazing how many times you point something like this out to someone who is truly amazed (and thankful). In the end that's what we're there for. They don't care how it should or shouldn't have been built (code). They just care what it is and what the potential problems are.

    I guess I just had too many drunk friends (when I was younger) and too many young kids (currently) that I recognize any gap in a walking surface is just an accident waiting to happen.

    Sorry to drift here but this reminds me of something at an inspection a couple weeks ago. I was pointing out the uneven risers on a set of stairs and the buyer started a little rant about how the building code is all just a bunch of politics... about two sentences in he headed down the stairs (already having forgotten what I even said) and stumbled to his knees. Being a nice guy I pretended to be looking elsewhere to keep him from looking like the arse that he was

    Some days I really love my job....
    That happened about 6 months ago to me Matt. Same situation. The man fell. When I realized he was alright I looked in the other direction so he would not feel like a complete ass and made like I was checking something else out. I let him bring it to my attention. It actually shut the Realtor up because she added her 2 cents in about no need to be alarmed about slight variations. I think she learned her lesson about sticking foot in mouth. I just cannot express to you the amount of Realtors I lose as a referral base. I have no idea how so many inspectors keep so many Realtors referring them.

    I have to get two for every one Realtor I lose or I would have no Realtors referring me. The constant interfering remarks from Realtors only heads in one direction. No more referrals. I am constantly told that this inspector or that inspector never brings all this stuff up and this is how they explain the findings. I let them know that that is not how I do things and never hear from them again.

    OOh boy. did I get off subject a bit or what?


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    What I do not know is the history of the house. Was it functional for a family of say two adults and seven children. The staircase is not designed and executed for one hundred per-cent safety, but did it get a bunch of kids upstairs for a safe place to sleep. I guess I just grew up in another time, where in a house my Grandpa and his two oldest sons built, the steps to the attic bedroom where four boys and numerous grandchildren slept had knocked many a head before we all learned to duck. Why do so many people want to take away personal responsibility?
    I feel pretty much the same as you Philip but I have learned a serious amount over the years about writing this or that up.

    If it can be a safety issue and is as obvious as this one I write it up no matter what book or code or fellow inspector tells me.


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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Rick,
    Yikes! The stairs do make you wonder what was not done 'properly' elsewhere in the home (and town by these 'Yankee builders.') I have never seen such a stairway. Curt Downs, (Yankee, Licensed HIC, from CT). There are a few other 'Yankee builders' work I "ADMIRE," and I'd like to send you!


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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Curt Downs View Post
    Rick,
    Yikes! The stairs do make you wonder what was not done 'properly' elsewhere in the home (and town by these 'Yankee builders.') I have never seen such a stairway. Curt Downs, (Yankee, Licensed HIC, from CT). There are a few other 'Yankee builders' work I "ADMIRE," and I'd like to send you!
    Curt.... that's because we Yankees wouldn't build a set of stairs like that. Must have been an import from the South.... South TX maybe?



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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Hi, ALL &

    If that gap is large enough for a foot to be caught = NOT ALLOWED.

    Plain & Simple...


    CHEERS !

    -Glenn Duxbury, CHI

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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn Duxbury View Post
    If that gap is large enough for a foot to be caught = NOT ALLOWED.

    "NOT ALLOWED" By who or by what? Documentation please.

    By "common sense"? Yeah, on that I believe we all (or at least most of us) agree.

    "large enough for a foot to be caught" What size foot? I.e., what size gap?

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  37. #37
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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    The carpenter must not have known that newel posts are built long and designed to be cut off on the long square bottom section to achieve that "perfect" fit. And I have never seen a handrail terminate into a newel post BELOW the turning, always to the top square section. I have been building custom homes 20+ years and have built many stair rails.
    Scott


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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Back in "the day" when I was a framer the builder wanted me to frame the stairs with a gap like the one shown in the picture except both side walls were to be drywalled.

    I questioned the reasoning for building it that way and he said it was for the drywall contractor so that he wouldn't have to cut the drywall to fit the stairs. He could just cut the drywall on an angle. The drywall contractor must have been charging him extra!


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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Looking for opinions regarding these stairs. I've never seen winder type stairs as such.

    Rick

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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Winder treads shall have a minimum tread depth of
    10 inches (254 mm) measured as above at a point 12
    inches (305 mm) from the side where the treads are
    narrower. DRAWING 10. Winder treads shall have
    a minimum tread depth of 6 inches (152 mm) at any
    point. DRAWING 11. Within any flight of stairs, the
    greatest winder tread depth at the 12 inch (305 mm)
    walk line shall not exceed the smallest by more than
    3⁄8 inches (9.5 mm).

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  41. #41
    chris mcintyre's Avatar
    chris mcintyre Guest

    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Rick,
    A remodel? My WAG is that when the new floors went in they wanted the stairs to match so they used the flooring and landing tread (nosing) for the treads and risers?

    Either way new or remodeled my concerns would be the nosing pieces loosening over time and eventually with that many pieces of wood on a set of stairs it will start squeaking.

    Oh yea, it's also hideous!


  42. #42
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,252

    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    Within any flight of stairs, the greatest winder tread depth at the 12 inch (305 mm) walk line shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3⁄8 inches (9.5 mm).
    That is the part which usually kills those winders, that and many people forget they also need to apply this, which that section is taken from: (bold and underlining are mine)
    - R311.5.3.2 Tread depth. The minimum tread depth shall be 10 inches (254 mm). The tread depth shall be measured horizontally between the vertical planes of the foremost projection of adjacent treads and at a right angle to the tread’s leading edge. The greatest tread depth within any flight of stairs shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3/8 inch (9.5 mm). Winder treads shall have a minimum tread depth of 10 inches (254 mm) measured as above at a point 12 inches (305 mm) from the side where the treads are narrower.Winder treads shall have a minimum tread depth of 6 inches (152 mm) at any point. Within any flight of stairs, the largest winder tread depth at the 12 inch (305 mm) walk line shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3/8 inch (9.5 mm).

    Those winders are "within" that "flight of stairs" which is between landings, as such, the tread depth at that 12" walk line needs to be within the same 3/8" maximum variation limits of all other treads in that same flight of stairs.

    In my opinion ... winders should not be allowed without a landing separating the winders from the other treads.

    But the code does allow winders intermixed within a flight of stairs, and those winders must meet all applicable requirements for that flight of stairs, and in addition meet the additional requirements for winders.


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

  43. #43
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    1,078

    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Stairs used to be carpeted. When the carpet was removed, the treads were not pretty enough so they were replaced with material that matched the new hardwood flooring.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  44. #44
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Jeeeees, it is getting so you cannot have anything but a straight boring stairway.

    Personally I think the look fine and may even hold the population down a bit

    Realx, just kidding. I still think they look just fine.


  45. #45
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Chicago
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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Jeeeees, it is getting so you cannot have anything but a straight boring stairway.

    Personally I think the look fine and may even hold the population down a bit

    Realx, just kidding. I still think they look just fine.
    We Report You Decide.


  46. #46
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI
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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Well, we don't have a scale in thepictures to determine measurements (RH's most recent set of photos of turning or winding stair). Is difficult to determine or confirm from photos just how this has been altered/constructed as appears original stair may have been cut through and this finish flooring material of different dimensions and material may have been inlaid, which is structurally concerning and continuity-wise deficient in its application. If the original stair was out-of-plane due to settlement, etc. this should have been corrected prior to hacking away, rather than creating a different problem with surface levelness/slope limitations by the inside of guard support area section of the treads which are still within the path of travel.

    Risers appear to have been "capped" or veneered with an engineered flooring surface, likely not designed to be installed in this vertical orientation - and most certainly not capable of meeting compression tests or strength in this orientation, therefore not providing structural support for the nosing/overhang/lip of the tread above. A common mis-application of materials, especially engineered flooring upon a stair not sufficiently deep treads to not require overhang/nosing or having sampe 'capped" application. Discussed this previously on several threads, IIRC one regarding a stair from a basement. Continuity in riser height from the landing/floor below first riser also must be consistant and varience overall stairway limitations.

    Might just be an angle/photo affect but first pic appears the stairs are not level near the base and look to slope downward and to the right (captured curving wall), appears so as to the presumed level line of the faux or true strip pattern on the surface flooring material applied to the risers above the treads although if this was not level in its application, perhaps is n illusion regarding photo lense distortion as well. There is a limitation as to "levelness" both of an individual tread plane and the relationship to all others (continuity) this is not just determined by the "mostly flat" applied surface flooring surface but the tread and clearance area itself (this would include the white area within and the overall inconstant/irregularity of the nosing projections of the white painted area of the treads themselves. Pics from above, again no scale present, unclear if the narrowing width is sufficient clearance and tread width - the white "platform" upon each tread supporting the ballisters appears to be elevated and encroaching upon the tread area - this would/could effect the overall "levelness" plane & slope of each tread and the overall limits regarding slope, pitch, continuity, limitations regarding the "flight of stairs" in the stairway.



    Next, the spacing between the ballisters appears rather wide - unknown if meets older standards of 6", does not appear to meet present requirements.

    Finally the newel post both the base lap and the projection upwards as a catchment/impalement for egress. Should this be the primary exit path of travel (no other stair from the upwards level) and should their be an occupiable/habital story above (not for example a grand stair to an attic) and should same be the primary exit path, there could be a safety, egress, safety concern. Before exploring further would want to know if this stair is the only one to the upwards level, and if above contains true occupiable/habital space.

    P.S. Although realizing some of the fish-eye distortion of the camera lense - presuming the newel post is true and plumb - the first few assending ballisters do not appear so, when comparing the distance from the newel's "thicker" sections, further concerning irregularities in the continuity elsewhere if same was original before the modifications, and if entirety was original - may indicate some serious structural deficiencies overall and movement.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 05-08-2011 at 09:32 AM.

  47. #47
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Jeeeees, it is getting so you cannot have anything but a straight boring stairway.

    Personally I think the look fine and may even hold the population down a bit

    Realx, just kidding. I still think they look just fine.
    I have to admit I've built similar monstrosities myself, but wouldn't do it now.
    If the stairs are left open, or you do creative things with the risers, you can have more tread width going up. Coming down, you hang on to that banister!

    A good way to save space in a cottage is to spiral the first four steps around a post in a corner of the room, and then run the stairs up the wall to the center of the second floor. No hallway needed upstairs if your landing is central.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 05-08-2011 at 09:14 AM.
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  48. #48
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Greenville, N.C.
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    254

    Default Re: Stairway ?

    I was trying to find a picture of a German apartment building I had seen where the architect intentionally build the stairs and walls out of level and plumb as an incentive for the occupants to pay attention. I couldn't find it, but found this:
    12 Weird and Wonderful Staircases

    interesting any way.

    JLMathis


  49. #49
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Greenville, N.C.
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    254

    Default Re: Stairway ?

    I found the German building, can't find pictures of the stairs, but this is still worth seeing.

    Travelogue of An Armchair Traveller: Waldspirale (Forest Spiral), Darmstadt


  50. #50
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    249

    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Carlisle View Post
    Back in "the day" when I was a framer the builder wanted me to frame the stairs with a gap like the one shown in the picture except both side walls were to be drywalled.

    I questioned the reasoning for building it that way and he said it was for the drywall contractor so that he wouldn't have to cut the drywall to fit the stairs. He could just cut the drywall on an angle. The drywall contractor must have been charging him extra!
    This is common when the drywall is to be installed. We always add a 2x4 to the side of the stringer. This space allows the drywall (yes so you don't have to cut the drywall to fit the stringer) and and 3/4" skirt board. This leaves you with less than a 1/4" gap which is fine when stairs are carpeted.

    Randy Gordon, construction
    Michigan Building Inspector/Plan Reviewer

  51. #51
    Milton Grew's Avatar
    Milton Grew Guest

    Default Re: Stairway ?

    I don't see a particular code violation if the guard is the correct height and the space between balusters is compliant. It looks to me like this was a cheap and quick way to install the guard for someone rather unskilled.


  52. #52
    Craig Cook's Avatar
    Craig Cook Guest

    Default Re: Stairway ?

    Referring to Ted's post #31, as a Realtor, I used the most thorough HIs I could find for my buyers. This gave me ammunition when negotiating the purchase price


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