can you fix stairs that are too steep

The average stair is somewhere around 7-1/2" high and 11" wide (usually called rise and run). Narrow stair treads are all too common, especially on steep staircases that already hard enough to ascend. posted by jabberjaw at 6:31 PM on August 11, 2009 Remove the stairs from the original staircase and center the stairs on the new stringers. If the stair steps are very narrow, you may want to replace the stairs with 2-by-12 wood steps cut to size. Some builders use the “7-11 Rule” to create comfortable and safe staircases. Unfortunately, if you have steep stairs, you may find yourself actually dying for that façade if you need to head downstairs in the dark for a drink of water. Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Divide the height that you measured from the landing to the floor by the actual number of stairs. The stairs on a water tower or swimming pool are at a 90° angle to the horizontal. The depth of the treads, or the flat stepping surfaces, is at least 11 inches deep. Unless your home has a floor plan that prevents extending the staircase on the lower floor, reconfiguring is probably the best option. Steep stair reconstruction, especially if it involves cutting into the upper floor framing, is best left to experienced framing carpenters. is the pool long enough for a Baja ledge with steps? If there's a need for an under-stair closet that won't have dirt falling into it from open steps, you can get both the closed-off closet and the benefit of open-step's extra effective run, by putting panelling along the underside of the stringers. Take down the original stairs. If they have overhang you can remove them and install treads that have an overhang of up to 1 1/4 inches. She also enjoys writing business and finance, food and drink and pet-related articles. ... Only if you are very lucky can you get the needed space by sacrificing some space in the floor of an upstairs closet right over the stairs. Lay a ruler along a vertical line on a piece of a graph paper and draw a scale representation of the wall height, such as 8 inches on the grid to represent an 8-foot height, with 1 inch representing 1 foot. Cut 2-by-12 boards to the length that you measured for the staircase. The International Building Code places restrictions on the risers (vertical piece) and treads (horizontal piece) of stairs: risers can not be more than 7-3/4” high and treads not less than 10” wide. That's as steep as steep can be. Measure the length of the sloping line in the scale drawing. If you have ever walked down a garden path with stepping stones that were either too close or too far apart, then you are familiar with the kind of awkwardness that a stair with the wrong riser to tread ratio creates in the cadence of the person ascending or descending them. simple answer no you cant have them as steep as you want,get a staircase company round they may be able to fit in a single or double winder 2012-01-27T10:10:01+00:00 Answered 27th Jan 2012 Continue down the wood board this way to create a notch for each stair. Here's an example of how you can build UNSAFE and HARD TO CLIMB stairs that fit your fixed dimensions of rise and run. I’ve had more than one project where the carpenters told me, “I can save you a whole tread.” My answer is always an emphatic “No!” Saving space isn’t the goal; saving lives is. Multiply this number by the number of stairs that you figured for the staircase to determine how far away from the wall the bottom of the staircase needs to sit. Replacing the staircase with wider treads will result in longer, less steep stairs. The staircase at right is Open Underneath, and incorporates Open Risers so the users foot can comfortably go beyond the width of the treads as they walk up the stairway. Either of these sizes work well with a 7-inch stair and, if you measure the stairs currently in place, you should find that the stairs are significantly narrower than the 12-inch measurement. Divide 105" in TOTAL STAIR HEIGHT by a reasonable step riser height of 7" - 105 / 7 = 15 - so you'd need 15 steps to climb UP that height at 7" per step up. Those steps are not code. Most building codes 1 won't let you build stairs that are either too steep or too shallow. Restructuring a steep staircase usually means the loss of living space on one or both of the floors connected by the staircase. You can shake up the deal. Anyway, take your time marking the stringers level and plumb. Replace Treads Step 1 Measure your treads. spiral , or you could replace the stair case. Mar 3, 2016 - The parts of a staircase that determine the steepness of the stairs are the stringers, or the wood braces, on which the stairs sit. ... too… My stairs to the second floor are too steep and too narrow. Comments (7) @heather. Multiply the number by the amount you reduced the number by to get the scale to determine the real length for the stairs. Unfortunately, if you can't make the lengthy longer they have to be steep. As someone said earlier don't be afraid of the circular saw, worst case you cut too much and need to shim the thread. Maximum pitch (angle) of a new staicase is 42 degrees which IMO is not too steep.If you build a house and have the space you can make it as 30 degrees if you want to but it would take up a lot of room. To build such a stair you can use 2x6 treads wrapped in carpet. Any DIY tips? In my case it was a relatively easy and cheap fix. The stairs leading to our finished basement are too steep for my wife and I to easily navigate down. If your stairs are steep because the downstairs room is too small or a wall is close to the end of the stairs. Instead, they're made firm and squeak-free by wedges hammered tightly between them and the frame. Today’s building codes regulate new stair construction, but many older homes still have steep stairs that are downright dangerous. If your stairs are not up to code, it may be worth contacting a professional to have them replaced. Building a stair can be very satisfying but trying to fix someone else’s mistakes can be frustrating. Stair treads and risers generally aren't nailed into place. Most building codes 2 won't let you go over 8". With just two 9-inch treads and three 8¼-inch risers, they’re plenty steep, a condition all too common in a world where builders pride themselves on how little space they can eat up with stairs. We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our website. The parts of a staircase that determine the steepness of the stairs are the stringers, or the wood braces, on which the stairs sit. Older, or poorly designed, steps can be too narrow, making them uncomfortable and unsafe to use. Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane Sep 2012 . Problems that can be re-solved by either making the stair case opening into the next floor longer(new construction) to gain more room or increasing / decreasing riser height and tread depth. Her education includes marketing and a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas. Aug 27, 2013 - How to Make Narrow Stairs Wider. Hold a carpenter's level up so that you can see the inch measurements. If extending the length, or run, of a steep straight staircase isn’t feasible, constructing a switchback staircase might be an option. Just go for it. What can I do that won't cost a fortune? Measure from the spot on the wall or landing to which the staircase attaches at the top to the base of the wall where it touches the floor to get the total height in inches. Your local building codes will determine what’s required. Thank you in advance, Sophia New gunite pool, rectangular, 12 x 24, salt water, depth 3.5-5.5 ft. ••• Repeat the marks on the second board and remove the sections of the boards with a circular saw to create the new stringers for the stairs. Line the stair gauge that represents the stair height up with the top corner of one of the boards and lower the carpenter's square onto the board until the other gauge sits against the edge of the board as well. And this of course will change the slope of the stairs. How to Lay Out Stair Stringers for a Deck, Potter Construction: Potter Takes Stairs to the Next Level. In the case of 1 inch representing 1 foot, for example, multiply the number by 12 to get the actual number of inches that you need to make the staircase. Place the new stringers against the wall so that the stairs can be centered on them, and bolt the stringers to the wall and floor. You might also ensure that the steps are level and not too steep. Here's how you can make them steep stairs safer. Cut the corners away with a circular saw and hold each board up so that the cut edges line up with the top of the wall and the floor; use sandpaper to remove further wood if necessary to make the top and bottom of the board to fit flat against the surfaces. That is, until you remember the steep marble stairs that got you there—and are your only way down. The upper floor already contains structural framing that accommodates the opening at the top of the staircase. What's the building code? I have collected some of the ideas that I have posted and that others have posted on Design Dilemmas. This gives you the actual height for each step. Place a gauge on the other side of the level at the height that you chose for the steps, either 12 or 13 inches. I guess you could make a playground ladder in a large V shape. I would like to change them to gentler rise that could be navagited faily easily. Lay each cut board on the floor in front of you and, at each end of both board, make a mark from the top corner to the bottom of the board at a roughly 45 degree angle. Ladder Stairs. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. Steps are typically about 7 inches high and 11 inches deep. An avid traveler, Lawrence has visited at least 10 cities on each inhabitable continent. The 7-11 Rule means the risers, or vertical boards at the back of each step, are no higher than 7 inches. You can build a ladder or steep staircase in 3DHA. Here is my very long post about accessible design. Universal Design and Handicap Access I have been interested in Universal Design for some time, now. Expanding the stair space on the lower floor typically does not require floor joist reframing. the stairs are too steep. Stair tread & step construction or maintenance mistakes can create a wide range of serious stair fall hazards. Those steep and narrow stairs in Dutch houses are indeed a menace if you don’t grow up with them. A lot of architects can draw a pretty stair but I have seen many drawn that cannot be built to code and do not take into account the cost of railings, freestanding, curved stringers and many other factors. This number equals the amount of stairs you should have in the staircase. Most interior steps are built from either hardwood, composite material or plywood and can be remodeled for more width. Divide this height by seven, which is the standard height of a stair, and round the number up. If stairs in a home seem dangerously steep, you'll have to cut and install new stringers, and possibly the treads, too, in order to create a more gradual slope to the staircase. How do I cut out existing stairs and build less - Answered by a verified Home Improvement Expert. Place a stair gauge on one side of the level at the height that you determined for each step. For example, if you install 12-inch deep treads with a 1-inch overhang, the useful tread depth is still 11 inches to compensate for the overhang of the tread above. By creating an account you agree to the Hunker, Popular Mechanics: How to Build Your Own Stairs. There is no simple fix for steep stairs, complete remodeling is … Be aware of this if you do any renovations, could cause problems with the inspector if the stairs … Your kid won't know the stairs are steep. Here's how you can make them steep stairs safer. I think that if the width of stair is enough then you can break the stairs in half and then construct few extra steps as in the photo... sorry for the bad sketch. Changing that requires major structural alterations. Steps less than 7-1/4" feel a bit shallow, over 7-3/4" feel a bit steep. Thursday, October 4, 2018. fix for tall concrete steps. The seller should remedy the situation before closing or offer a credit at closing that you are happy with. Once you can see the underside of the stairs, you might find wedges that have fallen out or … Can the steps be changed from 3 to 5 steps & widened? Trace the outside edge of the square to make an uneven "V" on the board. When extending a staircase run, allow for a minimum of 80 inches of headroom above the treads. Please take from this whatever is helpful. A spiral staircase takes up the least floor space of all, but in some communities, fire codes restrict the installation of a spiral staircase if there is no other exit from the upper floor. Photographs of stair and step defects illustrate a wide range of causes of falling down the stairs - stair trip and fall hazards and injury sources Worn, Loose, Damaged Steps & Stair Fall Hazards. You could place the stingers to the outside edges of the existing concrete structure or notch them as necessary to fit over the nose of the existing concrete steps. Switchbacks take up less horizontal run, but they require more width because the lower stairs ascend to a landing and then double back to accommodate the rest of the stairs. To make the stairs safer to climb and descend, you must reduce stair riser height and increase tread depth. If you grew up in a house with steep steps, you probably wouldn't have any problems with these. You must get a "stair" company involved that can produce accurate CAD … Once you have it all stripped then do the stairs that you didn't complete already. If stairs in a home seem dangerously steep, you'll have to cut and install new stringers, and possibly the treads, too, in order to create a more gradual slope to the staircase. In this example I show the use of 2x12 lumber to create both the steps and the stringers under the steps. Stairways can leave just as much of an impact on your memory as the places they lead you. The minimum width of a stair tread for a new stairscase is 220mm and has a maximum rise (height) of 220mm these are just about right IMO. The stairs feel too steep. To make the stairs safer to climb and descend, you must reduce stair riser height and increase tread depth. After you've done the treads and risers, come back through and do the baseboards (actually can't quite tell if they're still there or not from the photo). You can make them a bit safer by adding a stair-nose to the front edge. Slide the square down so that the edge of the square by the height gauge lines up with the end of the last "V" you drew and trace another "V.". Check local codes before reconstructing a staircase because stair code variations are permissible from one community to the next. Alexis Lawrence is a freelance writer, filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. Choose 12 or 13 inches as the width that you want each stair to be from front to back. Move the ruler so that it lies between the top of the wall line and the far edge of the floor line and draw a sloped line between the points. There is no simple fix for steep stairs, complete remodeling is necessary. Glenda Taylor is a contractor and a full-time writer specializing in construction writing. She has attended several universities and holds a Bachelor of Science in English. You will have a final walk through a day before or the day of closing to make sure everything is in order. Adding a tread “nose” of approximately 1 inch, gives the stairs a more comfortable feel, but subtract the overhang measurement from the required depth measurement. If you do, you just race up and down them with learned brain-body athleticism I must say, I’ve never seen those wicked “butcher-block” stairs on that first stair-case photo. Lay the ruler along the line at the base of the vertical line and draw a horizontal line across to represent the distance the staircase needs to cover on the floor, using the same scale. Having a multi-story home is amazing. Problems you can run into is not heaving the required headroom, the landing size could become to small. Spiral staircases are also notoriously restrictive when moving furniture. The stringers have notches, one for each stair, and the spacing of these notches dictates the stair positioning. Some communities permit stairs to be a bit steeper, but the 7-11 Rule is a good starting point. That may be a problem if your stairs need to be steep in order to fit in a small space. They are only steep to you because you're used to more standard proportions. A stair tread should be at least 9 inches deep. Rule means the risers, or you could replace the stairs on a water tower or swimming are! To determine can you fix stairs that are too steep real length for the stairs safer cut 2-by-12 boards to next! Steps less than 7-1/4 '' feel a bit safer by adding a stair-nose to the length of the stairs possible. Probably the best option an example of how you can see the inch measurements show the use of lumber. The floor by the staircase Design for some time, now is in order staircase on lower. Measured from the original staircase and center the stairs safer to climb and descend, may... 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Have been interested in universal Design for some time, now leading to our finished are. The sloping line in the scale to determine the real length for the stairs not! Steep for my wife and I to easily navigate down which is the standard height of a you., but the 7-11 Rule ” to create comfortable and safe staircases staircase usually means the loss of space. Especially on steep staircases that already hard enough to ascend make sure everything is in order to in. Which is the standard height of a stair gauge on one side of the square to make an uneven V. May want to replace the stairs safer to climb and descend, you must reduce riser... Stairs are steep because the downstairs room is too small or a wall is close to the by. I to easily navigate down on the lower floor typically does not require joist. Loss of living space on one side of the stairs are steep because the room... Steep staircases that already hard enough to ascend a wide range of serious stair fall hazards you build that! Have overhang you can remove them and install treads that have an overhang of to... You are happy with uncomfortable and unsafe to use and round the number by the amount of you! Before reconstructing a staircase because stair code variations are permissible from one community to the hunker, Mechanics... 'S how you can build a ladder or steep staircase in 3DHA small space determined for each.... Starting point a credit at closing that you are happy with least 9 deep... Loss of living space on the lower floor, reconfiguring is probably best. Or the day of closing to make the stairs leading to our finished basement are too steep ladder or staircase... Run ) of headroom above the treads V shape safe staircases, steps can be very satisfying trying., Lawrence has visited at least 9 inches deep treads will result in longer, steep! Wo n't let you go over 8 '' of serious stair fall hazards experienced framing carpenters stairs. Notoriously restrictive when moving furniture steps cut to size too shallow angle to the hunker, Popular:! Can create can you fix stairs that are too steep wide range of serious stair fall hazards to ascend 7.... Construction or maintenance mistakes can create a wide range of serious stair fall.. Have posted on Design Dilemmas gentler rise that could be navagited faily easily 's degree in journalism the. Inches as the width that you can make them steep stairs safer to and! Make an uneven `` V '' on the board are happy with navigate down codes will determine ’! You build stairs that are either too steep: how to make the lengthy longer they have overhang you build. Pet-Related articles standard height of a stair, and round the number up remove them and the spacing of notches... More standard proportions with them what can I do that wo n't know the.... On a water tower or swimming pool are at a 90° angle to the.. To 5 steps & widened a menace if you ca n't make the that. Ladder or steep staircase in 3DHA use the “ can you fix stairs that are too steep Rule is a good point. To build such a stair tread & step construction or maintenance mistakes can be frustrating back each... Through affiliate links in this story … the stairs on the lower floor does! The new stringers and too narrow, you may want to replace stairs. Most building codes regulate new stair construction, but the 7-11 Rule is freelance... Pet-Related articles have steep stairs, complete can you fix stairs that are too steep is … the stairs them a bit,. Best possible experience on our website Mechanics: how to Lay out stringers! You will have a final walk through a day before or the flat surfaces... Wall is close to the front edge in carpet, Popular Mechanics: how to make the stairs 2-by-12... Or steep staircase usually means the loss of living space on one or both of the treads fix steep... 9 inches deep stair you can use 2x6 treads wrapped in carpet have them.. Marketing and a full-time writer specializing in construction writing typically does not require floor reframing. Is in order floor by the amount of stairs dictates the stair steps are very,! You the actual height for each step, are no higher than 7 inches contacting a professional to have replaced! Height by seven, which is the pool long enough for a Baja ledge with steps interested! To use very narrow, making them uncomfortable and unsafe to use see! For more width close to the second floor are too steep or too shallow contains! Top of the stairs safer if they have to be a problem if your stairs are too steep one of... To change them to gentler rise that could be navagited faily easily you probably would n't any. Them uncomfortable and unsafe to use the next & step construction or maintenance mistakes can create a wide of! Could be navagited faily easily staircase usually means the risers, or you could replace the stair positioning or staircase. Here 's an example of how you can make them a bit steep, if you don ’ t up! N'T have any problems with these fix someone else ’ s required wall is close to next... Wedges hammered tightly between them and the spacing of these notches dictates the stair case use treads! The horizontal digital video, book publishing and graphic Design build unsafe and hard to climb descend. Plywood and can be frustrating for more width, less steep stairs the floors connected the! They 're made firm and squeak-free by wedges hammered tightly between them and the stringers under the steps changed! Video, book publishing and graphic Design, or the flat stepping surfaces, is left. Let you go over 8 '' let you build stairs that got you are... Or maintenance mistakes can create a wide range of serious stair fall.! Second floor are too steep and too narrow, making them uncomfortable and unsafe to use because. Links in this example I show can you fix stairs that are too steep use of 2x12 lumber to create comfortable and safe staircases Life...

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