3. Consider the elements

If you’re installing the staircase outside, you’ll have an extra matter to think about because of the natural elements. Wood doesn’t always hold up, depending on your climate.

Also, you’ll need to varnish, paint, and seal the stairs to safeguard against wear and tear. To add another element of safety, include non-slip paint or apply non-slip pads.

4. Know the codes

One of the reasons why stairs are so complicated to build is because they have to adhere to strict building codes. These can vary by location, but there may be some room for flexibility.

You’ll need to look into the requirements for your city before you get started, but here are the most common restrictions across the country:

Width: The width of the staircase (or the side-to-side distance) needs to be at least 36 inches. This does not include handrails, which lower the distance. Narrow stairways are considered a hazard.
Riser Height: The riser height (or distance you raise your foot up or down to the next step) should be no more than 7 ¾ inches. Staircases that are too high pose a risk while those too short can also be a hazard. Ideally, your stairs should all be as close to identical as possible.
Tread: The tread (or flat top of the stair) needs to be at least 10 inches long and deep enough so your foot can easily rest on the stair.

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Editorial Contributors
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Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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