Over the past week or two we've been talking about things we can do to make our new home more safe, especially for us Empty Nesters. Remember the key theme is safety. Sure, we could talk about being electrocuted or cut in half in the kitchen with a sharp knife. But, the most common cause of an injury is falling. So, with falling in mind I've talked about throw rugs (get rid of them!), changing the height of outlets, using lever handles, installing grab bars, installing low thresholds into the shower, and comfort height toilets. Here's a very cool idea to make the house safe at night. How about installing soft lighting on the stairs. Remember last week we spoke about soft lighting in the form of Night Lights. Today let's mention the use of lights that softly light up the stair case.
Ok, I understand we should try to all live on one level and avoid stairs but don't forget there's still the basement. Or, many of us are still in a two story situation and honestly the thought of going up or down a dark staircase is truly scary. All it would take is one tiny mis-step and away we go. Falling down a set of stairs can easily be very dangerous and result in serious injury. I'm sure all of us have at one time or another fallen "up the stairs." Granted, that is a task that can be difficult to explain but as we hit the stairs it is truly not nice.
Did you know that a set of stairs is comprised of three parts?
- There is the tread, that's the part where our foot goes.
- There is the rise, that's the part our toe bumps into.
- And, lastly there is the skirt or the sides of the staircase.
In every home that is properly built every set of stairs are built exactly the same so that each and every tread and rise are identical. Odd as it may sound our brain gets accustomed to the rise of a step and a variation of that rise often contributes to accidents. Each tread should also be the exact same depth for the same reason; this is called the stair's run. So, the rise and run of each set of stairs must be identical. To show you how critically important all this is, Local Building Codes include specific instructions for your safety.
Unfortunately many local builders simply build the set of stairs to fit the situation and if the rise and run varies from one set of stairs to another that's too bad. Let's face it folks for us Empty Nesters that is a completely unacceptable approach to building homes. Don't forget we are talking about:
- the stairs to the second floor
- the stairs to the basement
- the steps at the front door
- the steps out back at the rear door.
Each set of steps is equally important and each set of steps must all be the same!
While you pay attention to the rise and run of the stairs, don't forget the soft lighting that is also extremely important. I was doing some reading and saw some very cool LED lights that went on the underside of the handrail. The picture made it look outstandingly cool. Let us not forget that in the midst of making things safe we just as well might also make it look great at the same time.
Enjoy a beautiful day and stay safe.