Outdoor Staircase 101: How to Make Your Stairs Safe and Attractive
When it comes to the safety of our homes, every small detail will count. Oftentimes, when these little details are left ignored, they gradually become a problem that could potentially cause accidents and injuries.
Many trips to the emergency room are usually related to accidents and injuries from stairways. Many of these happen in stairs from the garage that lead to the house’s entrance. Many of these staircases are made from low-quality materials which makes them accident-prone. If you have active children, careless teenagers, and elderly people at your home, you need to make your staircases a priority as well.
Below is a guide on how you can make your stairs safe and at the same time, attractive:
The Overall Width
The overall width of your outdoor stairway should be at least 4 feet in a private area. In a public setting, the minimum should be 5 feet. Take note though, wider stairs are a lot safer and more attractive. This is especially true in crowded places.
Sometimes, people go for narrow stairs to save some space. We understand how essential it is to make most of each space in the house. However, when it comes to stairs, the safety of the people using it should be a top priority. Thus, wider stairs, particularly outside, are recommended.
Risers are the vertical aspects of each step of your staircase. Ideally, they should be 6”. However, to prevent trips, slips, and accidents, the riser of your stairs should only be between 4” and 7”. While it’s obvious, it’s still important to note that all dimensions of each step must be equal. The main reason behind this is the ergonomic function it serves.
Also, having uniform dimensions will make it easier for people to estimate each step they make. This will greatly help in preventing accidents and injuries from happening.
The treads are the horizontal aspects of each step of your staircase. Their size will depend on the measurement of the risers. This is to make sure that they are ergonomically designed and built. However, the standard range for the dimensions of exterior treads is between 11 inches to 18 inches.
Handrails are a must when it comes to stairways. Their main function is to provide support and guidance for people using the stairs. Their aesthetic feature is only an added factor. Here are some considerations for safer handrails:
- Since the majority of people are right-handed, consider placing your handrails at the right side of your outdoor stairway.
- If you happen to have a glass stairway outside, it’s highly recommended to use stainless steel glass spigots to hold them in place. Depending on the quality, glass materials are usually durable. However, providing further grip will make them stronger and increase their longevity.
- Handrails made from stainless steel casting is also a plus. One reason is they are highly durable and corrosion-resistant. This means you won’t be changing your handrails anytime soon. Apart from that, stainless steel is attractive and will effortlessly stand out. Handrails that are easily noticeable are perfect for elderly people and children.
The landing’s height and frequency are also important factors you need to consider. Landings are the even breaks found between your stairs. They allow you and the people using the stairway to go up and down with so much ease. Topography is essential in the design of landings in a series of stairs, with some important rules you need to include:
- The length of your landing must be five feet or a series of five feet. This is to promote the smooth movements of users.
- The frequency must be every nine to eleven steps as much as possible. This is to ease up the required exertion to use the staircase.
- Your landing must be separated by a maximum of five feet. This is for users to have clear visibility of each landing as they go up the stairway.
Other Safety Tips
To make your outdoor stairway safe and attractive, adding lights will greatly help. This will make the stairs more visible, especially at night.
You don’t need to perform extensive checking to your stairs, but make sure to check it every now and then for damages. These damages might be small for now, but they can become bigger and bigger which becomes a serious risk. Check for cracks that might cause slips and trips, loose handrails, etc.
Also, make sure your stairs are free from clutter. These can include toys, shoes, oil and water slippage, and other factors that can cause accidents and injuries.