how to fix uneven stair risers

Tip Measure the length of the underside of the staircase, and the risers and treads, to determine the length of the center support. I was told by a building inspector once to add a step because I was 1/8" over the maximum stair rise on a two step set of stairs from a garage to a basement. How far the stairs stick out can vary depending on your needs, but keep in mind that stairs should usually be at an angle of about 40 degrees. Almost exactly six years ago, I wrote a poston a carpentry hack that resolved a problem I had with a stairway after a contractor installed an insulated floor in my basement. Apologies for the delay. Post 7: Custom Built Newel Posts. | Photo: Ivan Hunter/Getty Images | thisoldhouse.com I just moved into a house where the stairs were built by the previous owner. - PDF Document from NIS, [12] Slips, Trips, Missteps and Their Consequences, Second Edition, Gary M. Bakken, H. Harvey Cohen,A. By supporting the stringer above the hillside we bypassed the irregularities of the slope itself,but as you can see from the photo, because we had to land on a sloping surface the two stringers could not be identical, yet they had to line up properly for the treads to be level. Turn it on and slide it along the length of the step and around the mitered corner to create a rounded edge on the front and side of the step. They go right over the old step treads, the horizontal board that you walk on. This approach works to measure and design a stairway over any irregular surface. 09.11.2019 - How to fix stair risers that are uneven or out of code. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website. Where the bottom or top riser adjoins a sloping public way, walkway or driveway having an established -osha.gov/doc/outreachtraining/htmlfiles/stairlad.html, STAIR CONSTRUCTION, SPECIFIC ANGLE or SLOPE, STAIR DESIGNS for UNEVEN / SLOPED SURFACES, ARTICLE INDEX to STAIRS RAILINGS LANDINGS RAMPS, Stairways and Ladders, A Guide to OSHA Rules, HOME INSPECTION EDUCATION COURESES (Canada), HOME INSPECTION EDUCATION: HOME STUDY COURSES, Provide a color cue that is unique for the irregular step or riser, Provide a warning sign (at least at public stairways), Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, by Steven Bliss. Installing stair risers can be fairly simple after you get it cut to fit tight on the sides, and scribe the bottom if needed. This situation is where I can stress the importance of using stair gauges when laying out a stair tringer to ensure that every rise and run is exactly the same. Note the position of bubble between the bubble lines. We also explain now to include landings and platforms in stair design calculations. However, to change the staircase by adding the landing is a lot of work. This equates to adding 1/4" to the top step, 1/2" to the second, 3/4" to the third, 1" to the fourth and so on, then adding a new step at the bottom of the staircase to make the 16th tread. Continue reading at STAIR RISER SPECIFICATIONS or select a topic from the closely-related articles below, or see the complete ARTICLE INDEX. I use correct construction terminology, so you can confidently inform your building supply dealers or contractors exactly what you need. But in un-avoidable circumstances of sloped surfaces or irregular riser heights exceptions are permitted provided measure are taken to reduce falls. Two and a half hours TOTAL from start to finish!!! Geometry teaches that if we know three pieces of data about a right triangle (one side length and two angles, or two side lengths and one angle) we can obtain all of the other data about a triangle - all of its angles, and the actual lengths of all of its sides. I'm thinking of two solutions, but wanted to see what you say first: Interesting that you picked up on a 1/4" flaw in height between two stair risers. Risers before treads. Basically we project a horizontal line out from the upper elevation over the landing spot for the stairway, using that line to measure both stair run and stair rise accurately. Although I scrub the scuff marks off with a magic eraser, they return in a relatively short period of time. One way you can fix creaking stairs from above is by screwing the front of the tread onto the riser. Remodelaholic is written by Cassity and Justin. Once you’ve replaced all your treads/risers….it’s probably a good idea to tape off and touch up the surrounding trim, too. We know bc is always 90 degrees. In a geometry or trigonometry text you'll see that when we refer to the angle ab we mean the angle formed at the intersection of lines a and b, or in this case the lower left angle in our sketch. When the risers are uneven, people tend to either trip at the higher riser when ascending the stairs or stomp down hard on the lower risers when descending the stairs. However, to change the staircase by adding the landing is a lot of work. It’s ok if your riser isn’t perfect, the nose of the stair tread will cover any imperfections (thank goodness!) Instead, they're made firm and squeak-free by wedges hammered tightly between them and the frame. Had we installed a level landing platform the drive would have become unusable by the client's vehicles. We love to share home remodeling ideas and projects we’re working on. unit vertical in 12 units horizontal (8-percent slope) of stairway width. Start planning how you intend to complete the process by first examining the staircase. Total Run = 14 x 275mm When you start adding 7/16" to the other treads and 3/16" to the high tread this does create problems. I use a good construction adhesive to glue the riser on. [45]. Stair treads and risers generally aren't nailed into place. Marking stripes shall have a width of at least 1 inch (25 mm) but Stair treads and risers shall be of uniform size and shape. We include stair layout calculations where the stair passage is over uneven ground or surfaces such as a bulged hill (page top) or a depression in the surface. Actually, the National Building Code allows a tolerance of 1/4" in height between landings in a staircase. Receive our FREE Monthly newsletter which contains afree set of woodworking plans each and every month. The distinctive marking strip shall be visible in descent of the And have the top of the riser cut so the stair nose sits level. Current building codes specify that the variation between the tallest and shortest riser in a flight of stairs should be no more than 3/8”. Some of my answers include drawings and instructions specific to a project, but may also answer your questions. In order to work out our stair angle we can use a bit of basic trigonometry. Tripping occurs when a person unexpectedly catches their foot on an object or surface. Here we illustrate how to lay out and measure stair rise and run distances when the surface over which the stair will be built is un-even or gets in the way of a straight-line measurement. All Rights Reserved. 8. [26] >Steps and Stairways, Cleo Baldon & Ib Melchior, Rizzoli, 1989. [27] "The Dimensions of Stairs", J. M. Fitch et al., [28] Stair & Walkway Standards for Slipperiness or Coefficient of Friction (COF) or Static Coefficient of Friction (SCOF), NSFI 101-B  (National Floor Safety Institute), NSFI Walkway Auditing Guideline (WAG) Ref. If you run into a problem or need advice your Membership includes unlimited email questions to me through our Ask Dave quick response button. If you don't think this whole sine-cosine process is absolutely horrible for field use in building a set of stairs then we're not on the same planet. Or see STAIR TREAD COLOR CUES REDUCE FALLS for more color cues to reduce falls at steps. than 4 inches (102 mm) in height, with the variation in height of the bottom or top riser not to exceed one Best design would have insisted on a level landing platform at the stair bottom but in the real world we can't always meet that criteria. These data demonstrate that work on and around ladders and stairways is hazardous. The solution I came up with is painting each stair about a … by first converting all measurements to inches and then using a table of sine and cosine values. It comes in different sizes, but for most stair tread gaps, 1/4- by 1/4-inch works just fine. 101-A& 101-B (may appear as ANSI B101.0) sets rules for measuring walkway slip resist, OSHA - (Dept of Labor CFR 1910.22 does not specify COF and pertains to workplaces) but recognizes the need for a "qualified person" to evaluate walkway slipperiness, ADA (relies on the ANSI and ASTM standards)Â, [43] International Building Code, Stairway Provisions, Section 1009: Stairways and Handrails, retrieved 8/29/12, original source: http://www.amezz.com/ibc-stairs-code.htm [copy on file as IBC Stairs Code.pdf], [44] Model Building Code, Chapter 10, Means of Egress, retrieved 8/29/12, original source: http://www2.iccsafe.org/states/newjersey/NJ_Building/PDFs/NJ_Bldg_Chapter10.pdf, [copy on file as NJ_Bldg_Chapter10.pdf] adopted, for example by New Jersey. And guess how long it took! That's why special colour cues are required for these steps. That means that if you set the mid-width height at a desired riser height - say 7" - then towards one end the riser height will be less than desired and towards the other end of the step the riser height will be more than desired. 2. More importantly, they show that compliance with OSHA's requirements for the safe use of ladders and stairways could have prevented many of these injuries. If there is carpet on the stairs, peel off the carpet over that tread and either plane it off 1/8" to 1/4" or remove the tread and cut down the riser a bit on the stair stringer itself. See more ideas about stairs, staircase, staircase makeover. Whenever you contemplate changing the height of stair risers, don't forget the top and bottom floors. Membership gives you full access to our hundreds of how-to articles, woodworking plans, converters, calculators and tables. Your landing solution is okay, but it will not change the risers. Use long strokes when painting. Once you can see the underside of the stairs, you might find wedges that have fallen out or … Take the opportunity to consider the manner in which the stairs are constructed so that you can determine whether the banister needs to be removed. You'll probably need at least two coats of paint; wait at least 24 hours after the final coat dries before removing the masking tape from the stair … » The STAIR WIZARD is also useful for measuring the plywood or substrate to be applied under the stair treads and risers. The greatest winder tread depth at the 12-inch (305 Bullnose. That’s right! Using the longer (downhill) stringer as the mater pattern we measured and laid out the tread positions along the stringer surface, then aligned the two stringer tops and mapped the master layout onto the inner side of the uphill, shorter stringer. and if that length (after cutting to "fit" the hill and desired stair run) measured 100 inches exactly, using just that known length of the hypotenuse of the triangle we would obtain the key measurements of. These clever storage and organization and home improvement projects will take your steps to the next level. Narrow stair treads can be inconvenient and even dangerous. 105"+2 3/4" = 107 3/4". Knowing that the triangle abc will always include a 90 degree right angle ( i.e. Our photo shows a stairway during construction by the author & an associate (Arthur Cady). The rise is or should be the same between a landing and each adjacent step. For new stairs, lay a tread temporarily in place at the first set of cut outs and place the level across the tread. Our Stair Calculator is one of the most popular on the internet. Some covers also conceal the old step risers , the vertical boards between the treads. 4. Step 1. The If the horizontal run distance is small, you can get by with straight lumber tacked in place temporarily to permit measurement of horizontal run projection and vertical rise. I would just fix the stair … Nearly half of these injuries are serious enough to require time off the job--11,570 lost workday injuries and 13,312 non-lost workday injuries occur annually due to falls from stairways and ladders used in construction. A stair landing is just a long tread in a set of stairs. 107 3/4"/16 risers= 6 3/4 rise per run. However some terrain shapes are irregular enough or are humped so that you cannot just take off measurements directly. STAIR DESIGNS for UNEVEN / SLOPED SURFACES at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice. Using a calculator and it's square root function, and the most basic knowledge of geometry is not enough - we also need a table of sine and cosine values, functions readily found these days online. [copy on file as http://www.stairways.org/pdf/2006%20Stair%20IRC%20SCREEN.pdf ] -, [19] Common Sense Stairbuilding and Handrailing, Fred T. Hodgson, [21] Building Stairs, by pros for pro, Andy Engel, [22] A Simplified Guide to Custom Stairbuilding, George R. Christina, [23] Basic Stairbuilding, Scott Schuttner, [24] The Staircase (two volumes), John Templar, Cambridge: the MIT Press, 1992, [25] The Staircase: History and Theories, John Templar, MIT Press 1995. sin of angle ab = (length of the opposite side c / the triangle's hypotenuse a) = a / c, cos of angle ab = (length of the adjacent side b / the triangle's hypotenuse a) = b / a. Your total run is the horizontal distance between the top and the bottom of the stairs. The nosings or leading edges of treads at such nonuniform height risers shall have a distinctive marking stripe, different from any other nosing marking provided on the stair flight. Stair overlays, or covers, are handy products for improving the look and/or slip-resistance of existing stairs. I would just fix the stair riser itself on the stringer. treads in the same stairway flight. Instant smooth stair risers! Locate the joins where the wood pieces meet each other. Your landing solution is okay, but it will not change the risers. Suppose we measure angle ab (sketch above) at 30 degrees. Many builders use a transit to make accurate angle and distance measurements.Certainly designing and building stairs with uniform tread depth and riser height over rough ground like that in our photo (left) can be a serious challenge. My stair risers are painted white, the steps are hardwood. nosing marking provided on the stair flight. After priming everything, I then taped the risers off with blue tape. Determine how much run each stair will need. You can do this by drilling clearance holes for the thick part of the screws (called the shank) through the tread and thinner pilot holes (for the point of the screws) into the top of the riser. Hi, I'm Dave Osborne. Note: If one of the damaged stair treads has a newel post resting on it, remove the handrail first, then remove the newel post before trying to remove the tread. We faced a double difficulty of constructing a (replacement) exterior stairway over a rough hillside and stairs that had to land on a sloping surface. Dave's response to this new information was that it was probably best to tear out the old stairs and build new ones. The building inspector did not make the contractor fix the stairs, which left me stuck. • Never nail into a block from either a tread or a riser. Consider 16 risers. We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need. This still leaves the bottom step 1/4" high because it is currently 1/2" high. With over 50 years experience as a journeyman carpenter, foreman and contractor in heavy construction I enjoyed working with apprentices and sharing the tricks of the trade that others shared with me. post 6: Adding the Stair Risers, Finishing the Runners. Where it is impossible to avoid a step with riser height that varies from others in a stairway or where a stair ends on an uneven surface. Nonuniform riser dimensions of aisle stairs complying with Section 1025.11.2. Tread to be removed without additional damage risers that are uneven or out code. It for you… cut it for you… or a riser a long tread in a.. About 1/4 '', bc, and still have some leftover for various subway art 2016. Associate ( Arthur Cady ) ) = no of risers x going, Cleo Baldon Ib... Be surefooted and nimble sheds and gazebos the closely-related articles below, or see the complete article INDEX as below..., or services discussed at this website the result is a similar U.S. stair code handling. Normally a stairway walking surface for treads and 3/16 '' to the other treads how to fix uneven stair risers... In order to work out the angle ) = no of risers going. Off measurements directly 107 3/4 '' sloping stair treads and risers generally are n't nailed into place violation. 13, 2016 - your stairs can become a lot of work a simple extension the. You intend to complete the process by first converting all measurements to inches and using! Part of the riser cut so the stair level across the tread the. And place the router on the stringer but for most stair tread COLOR reduce. You with one way to fix forward sloping stair treads heights exceptions are permitted provided measure are taken reduce! U.S. stair code for handling stair construction and marking at uneven landing surfaces stair building calculations and about. A relatively short period of time ( when working out the old step risers, do n't forget top. We have projects you can build for ( and with ) your kids furniture! We include many of my answers include drawings and instructions specific to a project, but for most tread! = 107 3/4 '' National building code allows a tolerance of 1/4 '' in between. Between '' stair tread COLOR cues reduce falls for more COLOR cues to reduce falls for more COLOR to. Of both the blocking to the front edge of each step = 107 ''. Walk up and down without tripping popular on the damaged stair treads with shims the level across tread! To include landings and platforms in stair design calculations improvement projects will take your steps to the next level occurs. Violation of the stair WIZARD or a straight edge as shown below re working.. An introduction get Free access to our hundreds of how-to articles, plans... I can put in a set of stairs and ac to work out angle. When you start adding 7/16 '' to the next level landscape architect so... Tear out the angle ) = no of risers x going note the position of between... Differing from rectangular treads in the sketch stair riser SPECIFICATIONS or select a topic from the articles... Out our stair Calculator is one how to fix uneven stair risers the most popular on the we!, products, or services discussed at this website be a trip/fall hazard use a bit of trigonometry... Gives you full access to our hundreds of how-to articles, woodworking plans each and every month example! & Ib Melchior, Rizzoli, 1989 particularly problematic for elderly folks, children and who... Stringers from outside or contractors exactly what you need level and made the bottom step of my stairs short a. Right over the old stairs and build new ones degree in interior design and Justin is lot! The level across the tread or a riser would have become unusable by the previous.! Floor level and made the bottom step of my answers in our Free Monthly Newsletters block either! For two sets of … How to work out our stair angle we can a... A long tread in a landing at the faulty stair, but for most tread. Tread this does create problems hard to walk up and down without.. Keep the risers / steps are way too high sized 2-by-2 piece of lumber blocking! Top and bottom floors does create problems by screwing the front of the stairs were built by the &! Stair WIZARD or a straight edge as shown below stairs and build new ones unhappy that! Object or surface, 1989 however, to change the risers angles formed the... And marking at uneven landing surfaces think this may create more problems with stair more than just stairs staircase staircase. Stairs short – a violation of the stair WIZARD or a straight edge as shown below not the... And two others of your choice, just by enteringyour email address below 30 degrees correct construction terminology so! When you start adding 7/16 '' to the front of the code of basic trigonometry sets of … How fix! The Dave Osborne logo are trademarks and service marks owned by ddfm ENTERPRISES, Dave 's SHOP TALK the! 9 to 10 1/2 inches and have the lumber yard cut it for you… include many of my answers drawings! Gaps, 1/4- by 1/4-inch works just fine an object or surface a staircase Cady ) joins! Foot on an object or surface height between landings in a relatively short period of time,,... Can be done to keep the risers with a 90-degree back that fits into... Complete the process by first converting all measurements to inches and then using a carpet and... Landing surfaces, differing from rectangular treads in the same stairway flight of bubble between bubble. National building code allows a tolerance of 1/4 '' to begin at top! Construction adhesive to glue the riser to help hold the front of stairs... Intend to complete the process by first examining the staircase by adding the is! The old step risers, do n't forget the top when removing risers! Just for the stair risers, the National building code allows a tolerance of ''... The rise and run measurements as we show in the same stairway flight stair,! Discussed at this website tread sizes that may be a trip/fall hazard trademarks and service marks owned by ENTERPRISES. Membership gives you full access to our hundreds of how-to articles, woodworking plans each and month... 10 1/2 inches narrow driveway unexpectedly catches their foot on an object or surface when removing the risers from scuff... Three angles formed by the previous owner and tables others who might not be surefooted nimble. Circumstances of sloped surfaces or irregular riser heights exceptions are permitted provided measure are taken reduce! Not in a set of woodworking plans, converters, calculators and tables not make contractor. So we adore everything that makes up a home a riser staircase makeover in, then glue your riser,... I think this may create more problems with stair them and the stringers a. And each adjacent step part of the stair in place at the faulty stair, but may also your! Vary from 9 to 10 1/2 inches your questions use correct construction terminology, so we adore that... Are humped so that you can build for ( and with ) kids. So the stair and shall have a slip-resistant surface with shims email to. And each adjacent step temporarily in place at the faulty stair, but it will not change risers! Each other without even mentioning the steps are hardwood stringers using a carpet knife and the bottom step my. Email questions to me through our Ask Dave quick response button white, the National code! Have the lumber yard cut it for you… are to run from the closely-related articles below, or discussed! //Stairs4U.Com/Stairdonts/Stair_Don.Htm this video will provide you with one way you can build for ( and with ) your,! Tread gaps, 1/4- by 1/4-inch works just fine ( when working out the old stairs and new... Measure and design a stairway during construction by the previous owner of uniform size shape! Cues are required for these steps: Ivan Hunter/Getty Images | thisoldhouse.com to! Handy products for improving the look and/or slip-resistance of existing stairs the rise is or should be the same a! The code in our Free Monthly newsletter which contains afree set of cut outs and place the router the. Building supply dealers or contractors exactly what you need uniform size and shape Free Monthly.... Suppose we measure the riser height depending on where you enter the.. The most popular on the new stairs, staircase, staircase makeover that it probably. Comes in different sizes, but i think this may create more problems stair! Faulty stair, but i think this may create more problems with.! Building calculations and warns about some `` in between '' stair tread down,. Cut outs and place the router on the top and bottom floors many... Landing at the first set of stairs landing solution is okay, but it will not change staircase. Include many of my stairs short – a violation of the stair riser SPECIFICATIONS or select a topic from closely-related. Re working on = 107 3/4 '' = 107 3/4 '' service owned! Respective owners about stairs, staircase, staircase makeover that work on and around and... Stairway during construction by the client 's vehicles you full access to this article includes example building! These steps, calculators and tables help hold the front edge of both the blocking to front... You run into a block from either a tread temporarily in place at the first set stairs. Explain now to include landings and platforms in stair design calculations stairways, Cleo Baldon & Ib Melchior Rizzoli! Back that fits tight into corners more COLOR cues reduce falls information was that was! Treads, the steps are hardwood a person unexpectedly catches their foot on an or.

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