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Stair Tread / Stairway Specifications

November 8, 2011

Building authorities have instituted minimum standards for various dimensions of stairways and tread stairs.  Stair codes are designed for the safety of the consumer and vary throughout the world.  You must know well ahead what your limitations and restrictions are.  Main concerns when building or renovating stairways are the widths, angle of stair rise, installation of handrails, visibility of leading edge and slip resistance.  When looking into specifications you may consider the following:

  • Are the stair treads at least 22 inches wide?
    • Every fixed industrial stairway must be at least 22 inches wide.
    • Stairways less than 44 inches wide with both sides open should have two stair rails installed on each side.
    • Stairways 88 inches or more in width should have a handrail provided on each enclosed side, one stair rail on each open side and one stair rail in the middle of the stairs.
  • Is the staircase angle no more than 50 degrees and no less than 30 degrees?
    • The stairway rise must be within 30 – 50 degrees.
  • Are the stair tread risers uniform from top to bottom?
    • Each stair tread and riser should be the same dimensions throughout the entire stairway.  This will make for a safer / consistent staircase.
  • How much weight can the stairway hold?
    • At the minimum, any fixed stairway should be able to hold 1000 pounds.
    • The stairway should be able to carry five times the live load.
  • Are the stair treads slip resistant?
    • When stair treads become wet or worn, their smooth surface may cause slip and falls.
    • By adding a rough slip resistant coating, you may prevent future accidents.
  • Are handrails located between 30-34 inches above the leading edge of the stair treads?
    • The vertical height of handrails should be within 30-34 inches above the stair treads; in line with the riser.
  • Is the leading stair tread edge visible?
    • You may add visibility by painting the leading edge a different color, such as safety yellow or adding slip resistance to the edge.  The slip resistance is usually a different shade, which helps pedestrians see the difference from step to step.
    • You may also install a nosing with the same qualities.  If the stair treads are not slip resistant, installing a slip resistant painted nosing would be a cost efficient solution.
    • According to the 2007 NYS Stair Code: 1009.3, the nosings or leading edges of treads shall have a distinctive marking stripe, different from any other nosing marking provided on the stair flight.  The distinctive marking stripe shall be visible in descent of the stair and shall have a slip resistant surface.  Marking stripes shall have a width of at least 1 inch (25 mm) but not more than 2 inches (51 mm)

By following the staircase specifications when building or renovating, you will ensure the safety and security of pedestrians.  When researching slip resistance and visibility you may consider SlipNOT®’s stair treads and nosing’s.

“Safety Is Us – Abra Safety Is Us Consultants” Dallas – Arlington – Fort Worth – Waco – Texas.http://safetyis.us/stairs.htm

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