dangerous drop

fidlinaApril 28, 2014

Hey folks,

Our backyard is two levels, a patio and a raised yard. The drop from the yard to the patio is about 3.5 feet. The stairs leading up to the yard are steep and made of concrete. Currently there is no type of railing or fence.

We're having someone come out to build a fence along the dropoff and put a gate at the entrance to the stairs but I'm still not sure what to do with the concrete steps. My 2 yo fell off the steps yesterday and my MIL caught her head inches from the concrete slab.

Can you glue outdoor runners to concrete steps? Should we build wooden steps that aren't so steep over the concrete steps? I'm definitely putting in a two rails at either side but I'm trying to figure out how to soften the steps. I'd like to put a rug at the bottom as well. This area does collect water though but I'm not sure what else to do.

Thanks for any input on this.

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snoonyb

"We're having someone come out to build a fence"

If neither you. nor the "someone" installing the fence, are cognizant of residential stairway regulations, pay visit to your local building dept. and/or hire someone who does.

More than two risers require a handrail.

Treads and risers have min. and max. widths and heights.

Depending upon the direction of the swing of the gate, at the top, will determine if a landing is required.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 12:20PM
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sdello

Based on your photo it doesn't look too bad to me. You might compare the current configuration to code requirements for stairways.

People have concrete and bricks stairways all of the world. Yes they are "hard". Babies can fall on a concrete floor too, that's why it's a full-time job trying to keep them safe.

Good luck with whatever solution you decide.

Note: Instead of covering stairs with stairs, maybe a wooden ramp would be a better alternative.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 2:13PM
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Trebruchet

An ADA compliant ramp would have to be at least 42' long and at that length would require several landings.

You need more than rails on the concrete walls; the handrails must be continuous which would probably require Newall posts.

Codes weren't written to be painful and expensive, they were written to save lives. Study up and get compliant.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 7:26PM
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geoffrey_b

You don't have to be ADA compliant. The steps are 'grandfathered' in - you don't have to be code compliant - until you change the steps.

The people who build your fence, will make sure it's up to spec.

That said, the steps should have a hand railing.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 4:36PM
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snoonyb

Geoffrey_B

"you don't have to be code compliant"

The statement implies that you know the date the wall was constructed.
Care to share that information?

"until you change the steps."

By??????

"The people who build your fence, will make sure it's up to spec."

You are the "someone"?

That said, the steps should have a hand railing.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 5:38PM
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Trebruchet

You don't have to be ADA compliant, but why would you want a ramp more than 1 in 12 rise?

This post was edited by Trebruchet on Wed, Apr 30, 14 at 6:51

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 10:18PM
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geoffrey_b

@snoonby: Well looking at the photo of the wall and the size of the trees / bushes - one can tell the wall has been there for some time.

"The statement implies that you know the date the wall was constructed.

Care to share that information? "

I feel sorry for people like you. You sorta know some facts, and use them to 'worry' other people. It's my guess you feel powerless in your life.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 2:13PM
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snoonyb

Geoffrey_B

"Well looking at the photo of the wall and the size of the trees / bushes - one can tell the wall has been there for some time."

And is your wisdom, devoid of the practice of installing mature landscape elements?

"The statement implies that you know the date the wall was constructed.

Care to share that information? "

And the date if construction, is?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 2:23PM
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jakethewonderdog

Okay let's dial it down a notch...

Often, code for decks and such are anything 30" or more from grade requires a railing. The openings between the spindles can't be larger than 3.5" - your code may vary. I'm not sure how this was built without meeting that code, but you are right to fix the problem.

The steps do require a handrail at a minimum - your fencing company can probably set you up. Consider one with two levels for the younger ones.

You may want to consider hard rubber mats until your youngest is more sure on his feet. It wouldn't be attractive, but it would be temporary.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rubber mat

This post was edited by jakethewonderdog on Thu, May 1, 14 at 11:37

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 11:21AM
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