Stairway Evaluation: One of the Most Vital
Parts of a Home Inspection
A home should be a place of safety and comfort. For an excited family that believes they have just found their dream home, the thought that inherent dangers lurk inside may be far out of the picture.
But for too many individuals, the homes they cherish become the sites of tragedy. Statistics from the National Safety Council place stairway injuries just below vehicle-related mishaps as the leading causes of accidents. Every year thousands of fatalities and trips to the emergency room can be attributed to stairway tumbles. Many home-shoppers don’t realize that home inspections include a thorough assessment of a building’s stairways.
During a comprehensive home inspection, the inspector will identify stairway attributes that pose a safety risk. The following represents only the most basic evaluations made during a typical residential home inspection:
Too Narrow: After careful evaluation, the home inspector will report on stairways that are less than the required 36 inches wide (26 inches for spiral staircases) above the handrail and 31-1/2 inches measured at the handrail. This deficiency will be noted in the home inspection report.
Too short: The home inspection will include measurements to see if the stairway meets the 80 inches in height safety standard.
Insufficient Landings: Landings should be at least as wide as the stairway (36 inches).
Risers Too High or Uneven: During the inspection, the home inspector will measure to see if risers are taller than the 7-3/4 minimum and if they maintain an even height (no more than 3/8-inch variation between them).
Inadequate Treads: For safe ascending and descending, treads should be at least 10 inches deep.
No Handrails: Stairways with at least four risers should have a minimum of one handrail. During the home inspection, it will also be determined if handrails and guardrails meet height standards and are strong enough to withstand typical force.
Lighting Concerns: The home inspector will report on whether there are enough light switches, as well as note if they are operational and provide enough illumination.
Home Inspection Safety Tip: Avoid using cleaning products that leave a slippery residue on bare wood treads. Your stairway may sparkle, but you will increase the risk of falling.
Stairway assessments are just one important part of an A-Pro 500-point home inspection. To hire a certified local A-Pro home inspector, visit here or call 360-489-6100.