Other codes address "rail post support" safety. A rail post per code regulations is required to support a lateral load of 200 lbs. This is a poorly enforced area of the code and with many inspectors content with the bump test. If it doesn’t move too much when they bump it with their hip, the rail will pass inspection. Many rail posts are simply lagged or nailed to the rim joists and post which are mounted directly to the deck surface will simply not meet code. The tragedy is, there are systems available on the market that correctly address this problem. Simpson, USP and Deck-Loc have brackets which will meet code for rim joist attachment but there’s only one adjustable bracket system (discussed below) which will meet code for wood or composite stairs.
Over the past several years, much has been done to address deck and stair safety issues, but we still have a long way to go. One glaring example of the failure in deck and stair safety protocol is the industry standard of permitting "hot dipped galvanized" anchors, screws, hangers and other hardware to be in direct contact with ACQ, pressure treated wood. The galvanic corrosion created between the high copper content of the wood and the galvanizing is so severe that the normal industry standard of G90 galvanizing will corrode in as little as 12 months and G185, such as Z-Max® can be gone in 24 months. The industry (including code officials) has adopted G185 as a fall back position with no engineering testing available to substantiate the validity or longevity of this adoption...this is a "knee jerk" reaction and is an accident waiting to happen. Without a barrier between the pressure treated wood and galvanized hardware, serious corrosion is inevitable.
Choosing the right parts to incorporate into your stair’s design is a very critical decision to make. Everything should be chosen based on safety, function, and visual appeal. Safety is ensured when there are no sharp edges or abrasive surfaces found in the parts to be used. Function is dictated by how well the parts fit together, with no loose baluster or wobbly stair rails. The visual appeal is how the parts when incorporated into a single design will look. The resulting stairs should be coherent to the space where the stairs are installed. Its impact is seen on how well it blends with the existing furnishings or how it compliments the space’s design elements.
There is a growing, and worrying, trend for home stair lifts to be sold without any installation. The buyer is told that self-installation is easy and can be done by anyone with basic DIY skills. However, AMEA (Accessibility Equipment Manufacturer’s Association) and the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) strongly advise against self-installation of a home stair lift. A reputable stair lift supplier will insist on doing the installation. Also, remember to ask about warranty and after sales service. A reputable dealer will offer both; look for a dealership that offers 24/7 telephone support so that you’ll get instant help when you need it. Here are some brief stair lift reviews of some leading makes.
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