Inspecting Stairs

IMG_5771Stair inspections require the expertise and training of a good inspector. Many times I point out problems to my clients who are amazed at what they thought was normal – but wasn’t!

Missouri has some of the highest fall rates in the country. A percentage of falls occurs due to incorrectly, outdated, damaged or structurally inadequate stairways. Preventable falls cause many emergency room visits each year due to incorrectly, outdated, damaged or structurally inadequate stairways.

So what are some of the things I check on my inspection? It’s a lot! I’m checking the height or rise to be 8 inches, the run or part you walk on to be at least 10 inches and solid. All stairs should be consistent. I’m making sure there is a proper landing at the top and bottom. Often I find older homes lacking landing areas. The railings should be at least 36 inches high, pickets not wider than 4 inches, interior railings securing to the wall and sturdy. If the stairs are outside the posts should be placed in proper footings and the stringers adequately secured. Wood stairs should not be in contact with concrete, as moisture can seep into the wood and cause rot damage. Exterior stairs should not rise above one floor without a turn in direction or proper landing. I recommend exterior wooden stairs to have something like asphalt strips on the treads to prevent slipping.

If you’d like more detail, check out this link from the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors.

Or their ten minute video clip showing how to inspect stairs here.

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