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.
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.
Take for example the new NADRA (North American Deck and Railing Association) study that examined the number of injuries caused by outdoor deck stairs and porches from 2003 to 2007. The report confirms that deck and stair injuries are on the increase. NADRA points to a 2003 study showing a total of 37,760 injuries which required a visit to the hospital. Of these injuries, 6,120 were a result of structural failure or collapse. Further, the report shows that by 2007, the incidents of serious injury had risen to 55,160. Quoting from the report- "Nearly 15% of all injuries are a result of structural failure". Wood decks are constantly exposed to the elements and they have a limited life span of 10-15 years. As you can see, important to have your deck and deck stairs inspected so that signs of wood decay and deterioration can be repaired.
Among those over the age of sixty-five stairs also present a very big health risk. This is frequently as a result of mobility related diseases, but a decreased sense of balance is also often a factor. If you or a loved one is unsteady on the stairs then it is important that you are extremely careful. Many people choose to install a stair lift to help promote stair safety. A stair lift can carry an individual up and down the stairs in a safe manner. Usually stair lifts present the best option by retaining the ability to access all areas of a home. This is because when you rely on someone’s help to climb up the stairs you are decreasing your risk of falling, but increasing their risk of falling. The other option of simply not using the areas of a home that require stairs access is usually not practical.
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