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6 Common Stair Design Errors and How to Avoid Them

VWB Blog 12 months ago 13

The stairs are a unique aspect of every home. They take up a lot of space in the house and are complicated to build.

Common stair design errors usually become evident soon after the stairs are put in place. Any problem with the stairs can cause injury to the homeowners, their guests, and their children.

Let’s look at some of the most common errors you must avoid on designing your home’s stairs.

  1. Uneven or Inconsistent Steps

An uneven stair can be dangerous, leading to trips and falls due to misjudged step heights. It is essential to have a stair stringer of the exact length for all stair step sizes and rise at the same angle per step.

When constructing stairs, rise and runs should be consistent – a difference in run greater than ⅜ inch causes a tripping hazard. It should not differ by more than ¾ inch in a single stair run.

  1. Insufficient Headroom

Insufficient headroom is a standard stair design error that needs to be avoided. Stairways should have a headroom of at least 6′ 8″ above the stair tread nosing.

This headroom is critical in providing a safe walking area large enough for two people to use the stairs simultaneously.

  1. Narrow Steps

Narrow steps can pose a safety hazard, making it difficult for people to use the stairs safely. The least width for a residential stair is 36 inches.

If you have limited space, consider alternatives such as a spiral staircase or alternating tread stairs that can be narrower but provide safe and functional access.

Working with a qualified designer or contractor can help you design safe and aesthetically pleasing stairs while maximizing the available space. You can also visit this page on modern staircases for more information.

  1. Inadequate Lighting

All stairs should have adequate lighting. Failure to install correctly positioned lighting fixtures can create hazardous conditions, causing people to trip, slip, and fall.

Even a correctly lit stairway may be challenging to navigate in the evening. Ensure that stairs have enough light fixtures to produce the correct illumination.

  1. Lack of Handrails

With handrails, people can avoid slipping and falling on the steps. Ensure the stair railing design is included on both sides of the stairs and correctly installed.

Handrails should be installed with the correct spacing between them based on the user’s height and the stairs’ rise.

  1. Incorrect Slope

Incorrect sloping of stairs is one of the standard design errors that should be avoided. A stair slope should be steep and shallow.

A too-shallow slope increases the likelihood of tripping, while a too-steep slope can lead to falls. The ideal slope of a staircase should be somewhere between a 30- to 35-degree angle.

Avoid the Common Stair Design Errors Now

It is essential to consider a few factors to avoid common stair design errors.

Understanding the criteria with which staircases are designed will enable you to create a safe, elegant, and practical design. If you need help or have any questions, contact a local staircase specialist for advice and guidance.

For more inspiration on how to build or renovate your home, check out the rest of our blog.

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