Consistent step heights prevent injury.

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Home Builder with Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366 CSL#642819
https://activerain.com/droplet/GYM

 

Consistent step heights prevent injury.

 

There are some pretty strict building code requirements when it involves stair construction. The number of accidents that are caused by improperly constructed and maintained stairs are staggering. One of the important requirements is the consistent height of the steps.

According to the 2010 California Building Code, stair riser height shall be a maximum of 7” and a minimum of 4”. All steps in any flight of stairs must all be within 3/8” of all the other steps. The reason for this code is simple, if the height of steps varied greatly from step to step; there is a much greater chance of someone falling and being injured.

 Improper stair heights

This consistent step height can change if stairs begin to sag or are improperly repaired. It is a good idea to check for a uniform step height if your stairs have changed. To protect yourself, it may be wise to hire a professional contractor for repairs and an inspector to check the final product.

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Evelyn Kennedy 08/29/2012 04:28 AM
Topic:
Home Improvement
Location:
California Sacramento County Sacramento Pocket
Groups:
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Tags:
injury
stairs
california building code
step heights

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Rainmaker
1,372,997
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Tom, we kind of take steps for granted when they are built correctly. Its easy to twist an ankle or knee if they aren't.

Aug 28, 2012 10:23 PM #10
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Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

They had this on TV on some public stairs, they placed a camera and a huge percentage of users  tripped right at the uneven stairs.. . they presented as being funny. .but the potential to injury to someone carrying a child or an elderly person is as real as it gets. .

Aug 28, 2012 10:29 PM #11
Rainmaker
2,517,061
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Tom - I couldn't agree more about consistency of stair height.  I have another pet peeve that has been going on for awhile now.  And that is those raised threshhold plates that seem to be more prevalent now.  A lot of them are getting installed in the effort to make homes more energy efficient.  However, they are a huge trip hazard.  I have an elderly neighbor, who had one installed by a partnered company with PG&E's energy program.  She tripped on the plate at the door that leads from her kitchen to the garage and fell.  She was banged up badly, but didn't break any bones.  Those raised plates should be taken out, and any weather stripping or whatever at these doors should be attached to the bottom of the door, rather than installed as a raised threshhold plate on the floor.

Aug 28, 2012 10:38 PM #12
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Harry F. D'Elia
RentVest - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

This happens a lot in our industry across America. Watch your step

Aug 28, 2012 10:49 PM #13
Rainer
327,124
The Derrick Team - Indy Metro Realtors
Carpenter Realtors - Avon, IN
Your Pet Friendly Realtors

I think part of the problem is after remodeling the floor heights change. Then the only option is to completely rip out the steps so they call can be done correctly. That expense makes people get used to the improper height of one step. It's when strangers are walking on them it gets dicey. Good post.

Aug 28, 2012 11:18 PM #14
Rainmaker
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Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

What a relevant post...I have and have had and have used steps that are not regulation or code. The result? You risk falling. We don't realize that we are programmed to take certain steps in a certain stride

Aug 29, 2012 01:11 AM #15
Rainer
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Nan Jester
Exit Real Estate Gallery Jacksonville Beach, FL - Jacksonville Beach, FL
Realtor, Exit Real Estate Gallery

Absolutely. Your brain starts making assumptions about step heights.

Aug 29, 2012 01:44 AM #16
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Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Hey Tom, happy to see the star attached to your stairs. ;)

It's pretty scary to show houses with uneven staircases - I always warn my clients to hold onto the railing - unless it too is coming loose from the wall - notice how they often go hand in hand?

Aug 29, 2012 02:24 AM #17
Rainmaker
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Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

Sorry to hear of your fall Maureen, but that is exactly the reason for getting those heights the same. Walking up a flight of stairs should not require our full attention.

 

I'm not as quick as I used to be Roger, I may not catch myself.

 

New flooring can alter the height of one of the steps and create a problem Debbie. Good point!

 
Aug 29, 2012 02:39 AM #18
Rainmaker
316,101
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

It is funny how we can instinctively know that a step is "out of step," from the many years of using them. It always pays to use a professional.

Aug 29, 2012 02:56 AM #19
Rainmaker
1,763,811
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

You are right about the expectations Lenn. We don't have to fall to be injuried either. A tweaked back or leg can easily happen.

 

Morning Sheila. I agree somethings we just expect to be a certain way.

 

Than - You gotta love the sunken living room with the matching flooring all around to trap the unsuspecting victims.  Too Funny!

 

Thanks John for the kind words.

 
Aug 29, 2012 03:00 AM #20
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Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

I've heard about this before.  Supposedly even having stair heights that are too big or too smal can also create a safety issue.  Good idea to raise this issue, especially to folks remodeling.

Aug 29, 2012 03:10 AM #21
Rainmaker
1,843,215
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I read a post once where they author said that the brain "learns" stair height after three steps.  So if there is a variance the brain will not recognize it until the trip!

Aug 29, 2012 03:15 AM #22
Rainmaker
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Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA

tom:

I have found that steps to basements many not be uniform size in older homes with excavated basements.  One home in particular had uniform steps except for the last step which was about twice the depth of the other steps.  Yikes, I almost fell.  Good think I have good reflexes.

Aug 29, 2012 04:18 AM #23
Rainmaker
685,125
Cynthia Larsen
Cotati, CA
Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA

Good information, Tom. This is especially true with the aging population who may be sight impaired.

Aug 29, 2012 05:12 AM #24
Rainer
82,103
Iris Stuart
none - Santa Rosa, CA

I'm very much aware of steps and other trip dangers these days having fallen twice this summer.  Between trip & fall hazards that are everywhere & my own klutziness around steps, I have to be very aware of my surroundings.  

Aug 29, 2012 05:19 AM #25
Rainmaker
698,877
Chris and Dick Dovorany
Homes for Sale in Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida - Naples, FL
Broker/Associate at Premiere Plus Realty

I do not think people realize that steps have a certain rise for a reason.  When climbing stairs the brain takes over and they should all be the same or here comes the Humpty Dumpty story again.

Aug 29, 2012 05:21 AM #26
Rainmaker
1,763,811
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

I agree Michael, we come to expect them to be done correctly.

 

I can see that happening Fernando; uneven stairs, sidewalks, tree roots can all be a hazard.

 

I was just asked to remove one of those threshold trip hazards this weekend Myrl, it was pretty high.

 

I will watch my step Harry.

 

We can get used to a lot of things that we run across every day, Derricks.

Aug 29, 2012 02:03 PM #27
Rainmaker
1,763,811
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

Richie - the stride should not be a challenge, keeping it consistent is the goal in construction.

 

I know mine does Nan.

 

I'm happy too Debb!

I bet it would be hard to sell a home to someone who fell down the stairs.

 

The professional knows to importance of getting the stairs built correctly Sandy.

 

Thanks Bryan.

The Code is pretty specific about heights, depths, widths, not to mention railings, landings and all that. Since this is where people get hurt, the rules are going to be tougher.

 

 

Aug 29, 2012 02:11 PM #28
Rainmaker
1,763,811
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

That would make sense, we don't even think about it. If the brain didn't learn the steps, we would have to make a conscious effort to walk up every set of stairs Jay.

 

Basements and attic get overlooked. they don't get much outside traffic, nobody really notices Evelyn.

Thanks for the reblog!

 

Good point Cynthia. Impaired vision, slow reflexes, softer bones.... We better get these steps right!

 

Accidents can happen to all of us Iris. Being aware of our surroundings can certainly help.

 

Let avoid the Humpty Dumpty story Chris and Dick.

 
Aug 29, 2012 02:18 PM #29
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