What I'm Seeing Now

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Watch That First Step. It's A Doozy!

Watch that first step.  It's a doozy!

Things change. 

Sidewalks settle. 

Soil erodes.

And those things combined, stairs become too high!

Putting some cute tape on the edge, and slathering a bit of creamy mortar on top of it probably doesn't solve the problem.

Okay, it really doesn't solve the problem!

There are things to consider.

First, the house is 18 years old.  The code then for stair height was different.  But it was not 11 1/2"!

The code now is this:

R311.5.3.1 Riser height.
The maximum riser height shall be 7¾ inches (196 mm). The riser shall be measured vertically between leading edges of the adjacent treads. The greatest riser height within any flight of stairs shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3/8 inch (9.5 mm).

It's not that this older stair riser now needs to meet the modern code.  But 7.2" has been considered to be "optimum."   Some jurisdictions around here still will accept 8 1/2".

But to me the code doesn't matter really.  The stair needs to be of a comfortable height.  Around 8" would raise no one's hackles.

Hackle?  Did he say hackle?

A couple of definitions of hackle:

a. the erectile hair on the back of an animal's neck.
b. anger, especially when aroused in a challenging or challenged manner:  getting one's hackles up.

Perfect!

And not only will 11 1/2" get some hackles up, but it will make the knee scream.  Stepping up and stepping down.

Now, a screaming knee is a whole different matter.  Hackle raising and screaming knees are sure signs that something is wrong.

So, I took a photo and put it on the report! 

Can this be fixed?  Yes, a couple of ways.  But suggesting how is not my purview, and I don't go there on home inspection reports.

My recommendation:  if your hackles get up, or your knee screams, there might be something amiss.  Pay attention to your body!  If it doesn't agree with a situation, the code might not agree either!  Comfort here is the key, and the problem identified in the photo will not get better by itself.

 
 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 19 commentsJay Markanich • November 20 2015 02:43AM

Comments

Good morning Jay. The average person might feel the strain on the knee but not understand why! Nice catch! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) over 4 years ago

I didn't have to catch it Wayne.  It caught me!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Yes, this isn't safe (or comfortable).  And, as someone who broke her foot a year ago, I would not be happy w/ this.  I'm guessing this has 2 misses: 1) too high and 2) more than 3/8" diff between other steps.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 4 years ago

Right and right Cuz.  I hope your foot is better now and can kick little animals without pain.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Alright, to be fair, I never kick little animals...

I expect you don't either.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Good morning Jay,

They could be using it to practice hop scotch or jump rope!

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 4 years ago

Jay Markanich Another excellent post and 'catch' by you for your clients. I am sure you inspect with not just your eyes, ears and nose, but also your knees!

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc.) over 4 years ago

Perhaps Raymond!  And that gets to the ankle in addition to the knee.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

I did at this property S&N.  When I say the knee screamed, it did!

My hackles are very short though.  My dog's hackles get up every time we walk and another dog comes by!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

An aching knee or worse yet a fall or two - good post and reminder of this resolvable issue.

Posted by Jeanne Feenick, Basking Ridge, Warren, Bridgewater Market Expert (NextHome Premier) over 4 years ago

Thank you Jeanne!  I'm glad you stopped by!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

So, if that didnt get my hackles up... does that mean I have erectile hair disfunction?

 

Come on... you were all thinking it!  Happy Friday!

Posted by Edward Hamill, Market Leader / CBInTouch Expert (NRT Southeast / Coldwell Banker) over 4 years ago

Hadn't occurred to me Edward!  I'll have to consider it...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay Markanich 

One step for man... and a fall for all of mankind

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

I can see guests exiting after the Christmas party and taking a header into the front yard.  Be sure to set up a camera for those "America's funniest videos" submissions!

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) over 4 years ago

Have a nice trip?  See you next fall!  I learned that one in 4th grade, I think, Don.

Stephen - that's a show I can't watch!  People do some dumb things and when they splat somewhere it hurts me!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Geeze man, you need a parachute to get off that bottom step! The uneven ones are knee breakers... 1st step 11 1/2" 2nd step 8 1/2", 3rd step 10".... whoa!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 4 years ago

I sure don't want my clients to get their hackles up Jay Markanich 

Posted by DEANNA EARLY - - ( NMLS # 268590 ), Highest Ranked Mortgage Loan Originator Virginia (American National Bank & Trust) over 4 years ago

I'm very sure I answered this comment the other day, Fred.  It disappeared!  The step heights were different!

Deanna - they look so canine when it happens!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

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