Stairways and Landings

Ensure the safety & reliability of your stairways while waterproofing them for the future.

Prioritizing Life & Safety

Florida has strict building codes for stairways to protect the “life & safety” of residents.

The "life and safety" of your community extends beyond mere code compliance; it's fundamentally about ensuring the wellbeing and security of your residents. Building components failing to meet these crucial standards can endanger your community members.

When walking up or down a flight of stairs, your brain quickly develops a cadence for your pace as you take each step. If steps deviate from this pace, often due to incorrect riser height, it can cause an increased risk of tripping.

Financial and Board Liability

Once recorded as a “life and safety” concern, liability escalates significantly, rendering the community vulnerable to potential risks and financial burdens. This can significantly impact insurance costs or even lead to the loss of coverage altogether.

In the event of a claim, the association could also be responsible to pay punitive damages. Additionally, any Board members who are aware of the risks but do not act to resolve the safety issues could be held personally liable should someone get injured, as stated in Florida Statute 617.0834.

Addressing these issues promptly can yield significant long-term advantages for both the physical health of your residents and the fiscal health of your association.

Common Stairway Issues

There are several code violations we often identify when partnering with a community to repair or replace their stairways. While not a comprehensive list, here are a few common issues:

  • Riser height – Florida Building Code states the stair riser heights cannot have a difference of more than 3/8” total along the entire stairway. This requires precise measurement and craftsmanship to ensure each step is in its exact location to reduce the risk of tripping, or other “life & safety” hazards.
  • Handrails – The handrail must be between 34-38” tall and come out 12” past stairway. These specifications ensure that it maintains a consistent height and distance from the wall that is easy enough for people to grab hold of it while climbing the steps.
  • Treads – Stair treads must be a consistent 10-11 ¾” deep for an easy climbing pace, so your foot does not get caught on the next step. We often find cracked treads, showing a lack of waterproofing and deeper signs of structural issues that need to be addressed.
  • Landings – Landings support several thousand pounds of stairway materials surrounding them, so it’s important to ensure they are structurally sound. We find many landings have never been waterproofed, making them susceptible to structural damage such as cracks. Once cracks start forming, more water penetrates and degrades the materials, causing further concern of structural damage beneath the surface.

If your stairways are out of code, it’s important to determine if a full replacement is needed, or if they can be repaired. Depending on the code violations and their severity, most stairways can be repaired to fulfill code requirements.

We work with multiple types of stairways, each with unique complexities requiring a thorough knowledge of proper waterproofing.

Types of Stairways

  • Metal - Metal stairs have voids where the metal pieces meet. If they’re not properly waterproofed, water works its way through the system, causing rust. However, we find these staircases are rarely waterproofed, causing severe rusting to the point of structural damage. We have master welders who can remove and replace damaged materials, rather than replace the whole stairway. We use strict waterproofing protocols following the repairs to protect the completed work and the rest of your stairways.
  • Concrete & Metal - Concrete and metal expand and contract at different rates, causing separation. Once separated, water gets in between the materials and causes rust, leading to structural damage. We evaluate the severity of rust along all your stairway components, including the stringers, brackets and treads. Based on the stairway’s individual needs, we determine what areas need to be removed and replaced. The repair work is followed by a systematic waterproofing protocol to defend the stairways from future damage.
  • Wood - Wood components tend to separate, causing areas where water can sit and be absorbed into the materials over time, causing wood rot. Wood rot is a fungus that will continue to break down the materials, so it’s essential to completely remove it to prevent continued structural damage. We remove all structurally damaged wood, paying close attention to the wood rot, and replace the needed areas. This process includes waterproofing the materials to stop wood rot.

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