Building stairs is one of the most challenging, time consuming building projects for most builders. Not all stair construction methods are equal. Some are much more user friendly and cost effective than others. Of course, in this economy, you need to save every penny on your deck stairs, basement stairs, or interior stairs. It’s interesting that many people with minimal experience are willing to tackle a simple deck project for the first time, but hit a brick wall when it comes to building stairs. It just seems complicated and out of reach for people with little or no experience. The good news is "you can build that stair".
The stairs has long been a source of potential danger for humans and those that are mobility challenged, like sufferers of osteoarthritis, are at increased risk. To help reduce this risk there are several things that can be done by the stair user. One of the most important things to remember is that it is important to pay attention when you are climbing up and down the stairs Stairs can come in different shapes and sizes, so it is important to pay attention to the width and depth of the steps. It has been shown that a major factor in many stair accidents is as a result of the person on the stairs being distracted by environmental factors. It is important to maintain a well lit stairway and to pay attention as you ascend or descend the stairs.
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.
Consider Installing it Yourself: This actually applies to both new and used stair lifts. Most stair lifts that are made for a straight staircase can be installed fairly quickly and using only normal household tools. Talk with the dealer about the installation process and look at the installation instructions. If it seems like something you feel comfortable doing, you can save money by doing the installation yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable though, don’t do it and instead have the dealer arrange the installation.
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