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Old 03-03-2013, 07:48 AM   #1
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Gate at top of stairs to prevent falls


My neighbor are wanting me to build some sort of gate or rail that goes across the stairs. Their door is a right hand and the stairs are on the right side. They use walkers and are elderly. I want one bar that would go across the stairs and would be able to hinge up and latch to the other wall. I am open for ideas, I am only worried about function. An out of the box solution would be great. I need something very study, not some spring activated stick in place deals.

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Old 03-03-2013, 08:15 AM   #2
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Gate at top of stairs to prevent falls


Look in the deck hardware section of your local store----there you will find all sorts of stout steel joist hangers and other bracket designed for 2x stock----adapting something like that into a hinge side with a bolt--a receiving pocket for the opposite side---then you need some sort of spring/pinch thing to hold it up when not in use---

Post a picture of the door---or find something similar so someone can suggest parts for that exact application.

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Old 03-03-2013, 09:11 AM   #3
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Gate at top of stairs to prevent falls


I can picture how to do it but the why has me confused.
Knowing the why may come up with some better ideas.

I'm picturing something like the hand rail fittings used on wooden hand rails on boats.

http://catalog.buckalgonquin.com/ite...nges/70wrlhs1?
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:21 AM   #4
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Gate at top of stairs to prevent falls


I had to do this once---a fellow lived in the house that was unsteady on his feet----wife was afraid he would tumble down the stairs as he passed--he steadied him self with the walls----and the gap at the top of the stairs looked like a chance for him to tip over-----
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Old 03-03-2013, 03:58 PM   #5
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Gate at top of stairs to prevent falls


Stairs with a door must have a landing. One you imagine is more a bar but a passing inspector may see it differently. You may want to install it swing in. Wire fence gate may work.
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Old 03-03-2013, 04:23 PM   #6
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Gate at top of stairs to prevent falls


More of the story, my neighbors are very poor and barely hanging on in many ways. I am looking for a very study, safe, inexpensive way to prevent a fall. As you can see from the pictures, the hazard is that they will come down the stairs, probably cane in hand, possibly walker, go to reach for the door handle, slip, then down the stairs they go. I would like something that would stop them from falling. The handrail is set at 32 inches which seems to short for me, but he said he was in the house for 60 years and never had a problem. So I was going to set the rail (gate) at around 38 inches from the top of the stair thread. The materials are coming out of my pocket so I want to keep it under a hundred bucks, my labor I do not care. The stairway into the basement is 40 inches wide.
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:57 PM   #7
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Gate at top of stairs to prevent falls


I would do a handrail that can be swung up out of the way to go down the stairs, and back down to give a person a handhold as they go by, or to keep someone from falling down the stairs.
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:58 PM   #8
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Gate at top of stairs to prevent falls


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Stairs with a door must have a landing. One you imagine is more a bar but a passing inspector may see it differently. You may want to install it swing in. Wire fence gate may work.
Only time an building inspector would see it, is if they got called in for structure or electrical work being done on the home.
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Old 03-03-2013, 06:52 PM   #9
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Gate at top of stairs to prevent falls


Boy. I wish I could draw with sketch up----that looks simple enough to design----I'd use a 2x3 ---

make a bracket/hinge out of two steel stair angles or other angle iron----drill a 3/8" hole through the 2x and the two angle irons so that the board will swing up like a toll gate---round over the top edge by the hinge pin so it will clear the wall as it swings uo---

add a pocket for the rail to nest into when down---a 2x joist hanger could be used---or a stout wood cradle----

then all that is needed is a spring clamp to hold it up---like an old fashioned spring mop/broom clamp

Shucks---come on over---I'll make it for you while we have a cup of coffee-----
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:02 PM   #10
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Gate at top of stairs to prevent falls


That is the same thing I was thinking Mike.
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:17 PM   #11
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Gate at top of stairs to prevent falls


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More of the story, my neighbors are very poor and barely hanging on in many ways. I am looking for a very study, safe, inexpensive way to prevent a fall.

The materials are coming out of my pocket so I want to keep it under a hundred bucks, my labor I do not care.
I think this is great that you are helping your neighbors.

What about an automatic door opener? Something like this.
http://www.skylinkhome.com/can/products/sdo/dm50.html

It's more than your $100 limit but it may be a safer alternative for them.
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:26 PM   #12
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Gate at top of stairs to prevent falls


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Originally Posted by djlandkpl View Post
I think this is great that you are helping your neighbors.

What about an automatic door opener? Something like this.
http://www.skylinkhome.com/can/products/sdo/dm50.html

It's more than your $100 limit but it may be a safer alternative for them.
Would only work if they had say a chair that went up and down the stairs, or had a door like a front entrance, that they were wheelchair bound and unable to reach forward to open the door. Nice little gadget though.
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:35 PM   #13
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Gate at top of stairs to prevent falls


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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
Would only work if they had say a chair that went up and down the stairs, or had a door like a front entrance, that they were wheelchair bound and unable to reach forward to open the door. Nice little gadget though.
The opener is remote controlled. My thought is that they would push the remote and keep on walking.
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:55 PM   #14
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Gate at top of stairs to prevent falls


Okay, now I am starting to think. I have a whole box of heavy duty commercial door hinges. I could bolt one side to the wall and the other side to 2x3. That would give me a solid hinge point. I am still stuck on two parts, the cradle too hold the rail while it is down, and the spring clamp to hold it while it is up. I do not want them have to fiddle with something at the top of the stairs, or have trouble to disengage. I have a roll of industrial Velcro.
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:15 PM   #15
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Gate at top of stairs to prevent falls


How about changing the swing on that door? Then the door would block the steps. Just a thought. You could just cut a couple of yokes and attach then to the walls and set a 1.5 inch steel pipe in there, then completely remove it when someone has to go into the basement. It sounds like they don't go down there too much.

The world needs more people like you. If I were close, I'd come running.

God Bless.

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