A home is full of potential hazards and as wonderful as they are, the staircases taking you from floor to floor can be accidents waiting to happen. Never fear, there are some simple steps that you can take to make yours safer. From your stair treads to your spindles, have you given staircase safety at home much thought lately?
While not as important as a regular gas safety check, we should all be checking our staircase safety at home every ten years to make sure that our stairs are up to scratch. Maintenance checks won’t make a big dent in your day but if you’re attempting an ambitious self-build home, a good builder will tell you that there’s more to consider, from the height of your guarding (900mm) to the position of your handrail (900-1000mm from the pitch line or floor).
For most of us, ticking off the following points on our checklist will more than suffice but if you want to be extra careful, test that your staircase meets all of the government’s building regulations.
The simple safety check
1. Give each step the once over by making sure that it doesn’t move when you place your foot on it. If you have wooden stairs, check for signs of rotting and replace the treads if needed.
2. If you’re finding your stairs too slippery, it could be that the finish is to blame. Stained wood and painted surfaces (unless you use sanded paint) are notoriously slippery so add non-slip surfaces such as non-slip stair tread rugs, rubber stair treads and carpets.
3. Try and wobble your handrail to make sure that it’s secure and can withstand the pressure needed to give you stability when you climb and descend the stairs. Yours should be positioned 900-1000mm from the pitch line or floor and if your stairs are 1000mm or wider, you’ll need to provide a handrail on both sides to keep within the law.
4. Make sure that your stair treads are wide enough for everybody in your home. Your feet should fit comfortably within the tread, without so much as a tenth of a toe hanging over the edge! If your feet don’t fit comfortably, you risk becoming unbalanced and tripping.
5. Finish up by checking that the spindles (those supporting posts) are spaced correctly so that you can’t fall through the gaps. Each spindle should be no more than 100mm away from the next spindle in both directions.
If you need help with your staircase, post your job and up to three local builders will get in touch to quote. You’ll be able to view their profiles complete with previous customer recommendations and ratings, before selecting the builder that you’re most comfortable working with.