Question? Just ask us!
Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair
InspectAPedia ® Home
STRUCTURAL INSPECTIONS & DEFECTS
AGE of a BUILDING - how to determine
ARCHITECTURE & BUILDING COMPONENT ID
BEST CONSTRUCTION PRACTICES GUIDE
BOOKSTORE - INTERIORS
BUILDING NOISE DIAGNOSIS & CURE
BUILDING SAFETY HAZARDS GUIDE
CARPETING, SELECTION & INSTALLATION
DECK & PORCH CONSTRUCTION
ELDERLY & VETERANS HOME SAFETY
FRAMING DAMAGE, INSPECTION, REPAIR
HOME INSPECTION SAFETY HAZARDS
LIGHTING, EXTERIOR GUIDE
LIGHTING, INTERIOR GUIDE
MOBILE HOME INSPECTIONS
NOISE / SOUND DIAGNOSIS & CURE
NOISE CONTROL for FLOORS
ROT RESISTANT LUMBER
SAFETY HAZARDS & INSPECTIONS
SAFETY: Elderly & Veterans Home Safety
SAFETY for ELECTRICAL INSPECTORS
SOUND CONTROL in buildings
SPLITS & CRACKS in STRUCTURAL WOOD BEAMS
STAIRS, RAILINGS, LANDINGS, RAMPS
WOOD FLOOR DAMAGE
Basement entry stairs, steps, handrails: this document describes details for constructing, repairing, or inspecting basement stairs, railings, landings, treads, exterior entries to basements, basement stairwell covers & drains, and related conditions for safety and proper construction. We also include references to stair codes and stair and railing safety.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2014 InspectApedia.com, All Rights Reserved.
Our photographs above show at right a typical basement entry stair with an open railing - a child hazard - and at above left, a twisting, canted narrow, no-railing basement stairway in a pre-1900 home.
The steps in the photo at above right are dangerous because they lean, have worn stair treads, damaged and loose stair treads.
As our photos just above show, these old basement stairs look worse when inspected from underneath, where the inspector can observe: rotted stair risers, treads, and stringer along the basement foundation wall
Conventional or home-made attic or basement stairways
In steps to basements, especially in older homes we often find odd dimensions of stair railings, stair tread width, height, depth, nose, low or flimsy stair railings, loose stair components, and a host of other stair and railing defects are the source of more injuries and more lost time from work in the United States (and probably other countries) than any other source of injuries after automobile accidents.
If you see a silly railing such as the one in this photograph it may indicate an approach to stair building that is a red alert for other hazards.
It would be better to provide a handrail and balusters that can be removed when necessary.
Garage stairs to basement: explosion waiting to happen
At left we illustrate an unsafe entry stair passing from a residential garage into the home's basement.
Watch out: As heating equipment is most often found in the home's basement, imagine the explosion that may occur (one did, despite our emphatic warnings, in Fishkill NY) if a vehicle leaks gasoline and gasoline fumes into the garage.
Gasoline fumes, heavier than air, fall down the stairwell, into the basement (or crawl space) where, at the next spark or flame, there is risk of an explosion.
A "fire door" in the stairwell bottom is not enough security for this installation. In fact, as you can see, the (not fire-rated) door has been left ajar.
Continue reading at BASEMENT WALKOUTS & COVERS or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.
Suggested citation for this web page
Green link shows where you are in this article series.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
No FAQs have been posted for this page. Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia.
Questions & answers or comments about basement steps & stairs: construction, safety, trip & fall hazards, maintenance, & repair.
Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
Search the InspectApedia website
HTML Comment Box is loading comments...
Technical Reviewers & References