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Old 09-01-2009, 12:33 PM   #1
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Stair Height


There are 10 steps on my stairs. I think the riser height is around 8 1/2 inches and the tread is 11 1/2 inches.

All the step heights are even exept the top 2.

The 9th step has a height of about 9 1/2 inches and the last step has a height of about 5 1/2 inches.

Is there any somewhat simple way to fix this?

-John

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Old 09-01-2009, 12:39 PM   #2
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Stair Height


I am no expert, but that combination seems more than a little dangerous.

If I did my caculations correctly, you have a total rise of about 83 inches. If possible you should redo the entire staircase with 11 steps so that each riser is about 7.5 inches high. I think 7.5 inches is a more appropriate number.

Let's wait to hear what the experts say.

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Old 09-01-2009, 04:30 PM   #3
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I agree with Drtbk. It sounds dangerous. An accident waiting to happen. Bring it to the 2000's, 7-3/4" max. riser, 10" min. tread, plus a nosing. Now that there is a paper trail, your insurance company can reject a claim......
Be safe, G
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:12 PM   #4
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Stair Height


You can have 11R@7.55'' or 7'' and 1/2 weak. 10T@10.35'' or 10'' 5/16 weak. I know nosing in my area is no less than 3/4'', no more than 1 1/4''. So that would add to the tread once you put the finish on. The top riser can be shorter since you can use the top floor as a riser. The bottom riser can differ if there is a sub floor or finish floor. I think I'm right. But you should re-do it. Timmy
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:12 PM   #5
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Here is a graphic depiction of how your stair configuration will have to change.

I based this on all 8-1/2" original risers, changing to about 7-5/8". (I couldn't understand what you meant, for sure, about the two odd measurements of 5-1/2 and 9-1/2".)

The red treads would be the new locations.

Go click on <PAGE> in the right top toolbar area, then "ZOOM" to 200% to see the drawing more clearly.
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:14 PM   #6
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Where you get that kind of program?
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:17 PM   #7
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I don't know where you are from, but all of the building codes I am familiar with include minimum and maximum rise and run for stair steps, plus the steps must all be the same size. As previously noted, the reason for the regulations is to minimize the chance of trip and fall accidents. I have never seen such a bizarre staircase, it seems like whoever built it had no clue how to do it right, so there may not be any salvageable material in the staircase.

I have heard that in New England in the 1600's, outside staircases were sometimes deliberately built with variable rise in order to induce falls by drunken children returning home, presumably to teach them a lesson. Other than that, I have no clue why anyone would want variably pitched stairs.
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:21 PM   #8
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I'm from Massachusetts but attned school in Rhode Island. I know the R.i code is maximum riser @ 8 1/4'', minimum tread at 9''. So once you do the test 2Risers, plus 1tread should equal 24-26''. I can't explain the cutting part with the top and bottom riser.
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:32 PM   #9
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How old is the house, where are you located?
You are not required to bring somethingt up to todays code
BUT, if you change the stairs at all you may have to
My top 2nd floor step has a rise of 2"

IF the risers are "deep" enough & there isn't some bizarre reason for the last 2 steps (plumbing etc)
THEN - I'd be inclined to cut the 9 1/2" step down to 8 1/4" & add that 1 1/4" to the 5" 1/2" step to bring it to 6 3/4"

Extending the stairs out is not always an option as you need a 36" landing at the bottom & top

Best solution is to rebuild it to current codes
That is what I am going to do with my staircase, I now have room to extend it out into the new sunroom & still have a 36" landing

Someone else building stairs in a MA said our codes were (are?) different for stairs

Dan - any input on that?

Quote:
Code in Massachusetts is 8 1/4 x 9
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:34 PM   #10
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The International Residential Code states that risers must not exceed 7-3/4", a nose between 3/4" and 1-1/4" is required, and the minimum run is 10". The run is measured horizontally from tip of nose to tip of nose, not from the riser to the nose. Any variance in dimension between any two rises or treads on the flight (not necessarily adjoining treads or risers) shall not exceed 3/8". Basically all the steps must be within 3/8" consistency of each other.

You're better off re-building the stairs. Pretty hard to fudge the existing condition.
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UpComingBuilder View Post
Where you get that kind of program?
That appears to be Google Sketch-Up. It frustrates me but is a great program. WillieT's getting good with it too.
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:42 PM   #12
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Yes, it is Google SketchUp. It's free online... totally.
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lda130 View Post
There are 10 steps on my stairs. I think the riser height is around 8 1/2 inches and the tread is 11 1/2 inches.

All the step heights are even exept the top 2.

The 9th step has a height of about 9 1/2 inches and the last step has a height of about 5 1/2 inches.

Is there any somewhat simple way to fix this?

-John
John,

That will give you 8x8.5" = 68" + 9.5 = 77.5" + 5.5" = 83" (Total Rise)

83/11 = 7.545455" just shy of 7-9/16" each riser. All risers have to be the same. I drew this using a minimum tread depth of 10".
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Old 09-01-2009, 08:16 PM   #14
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Stair Height


Thank you all very much for all the replies.

The house is located in Massachusetts. It was originally built in 1930's but renovated in 2002.

I think the stairs in question were actually added to the house as part of the renovation in 2002.

I was thinking of fixing the problem in a similar way to what Scuba Dave recommended, ie,

1. Removing the tread and seeing if there aren't any strange obstructions (duct work, plumbing, etc)

2. Assuming there are no odd obstructions, shave an inch or so off of the stringer to reduce the rise to around 8 inches

3. Adding an inch or so to the last step which is the top landing.

It still won't be to code, but the riser difference on the last 2 steps will be much less dramatic.

Any opinions on this?
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Old 09-02-2009, 03:16 PM   #15
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If you touch it, bring it to code. Scenario: work on stairs, person falls on stairs- breaks neck, insurance claim- rejected due to not brought to code. Easy to prove with this public disclosure, accessible a few years later. Unless you are feeling lucky.......
Be safe, G

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