Whether you’re designing and building a new space or renovating and updating an existing one, you should ask if stair treads and risers are really something you want to leave out.
Many building owners don’t think of installing stair treads and risers and this can end up having some serious advantages both immediately and long term. The long term effects have to do with wear and tear and the immediate and ongoing effects have to do with safety.
Staircases are among the highest traffic areas in most buildings. Even a large office or residential complex with significant square footage may only have a few key staircases connecting the different floors together. That means that all foot traffic tends to converge on those couple of staircases and they can see as much traffic and potential damage as front entry ways or key meeting rooms. Over years that amounts to significant scuffing, scratching, staining and wearing down. Even in buildings where elevators are preferred, the stairs can be at considerable risk of damage. This is because the shape of a staircase makes it highly prone to being kicked or banged as people go up and down, often carrying heavy objects with them. Stair treads and risers help protect the staircases against this kind of damage, in two different ways. First of all, just like rubber flooring, they are designed to be highly scratch, scuff and stain resistant so they extend the lifespan of the area. Secondly even if they do get damaged they can easily be taken off and replaced in just one small area, preserving the underlying structure of the stairs and minimizing maintenance cost. It’s a good investment.
Aside from these long term effects however, stair treads and risers have a direct effect on safety from the moment they are put in onward. Stair treads are readily available in a variety of slip resistant varieties. When these slip resistant stair treads are installed it gives users greater traction as they go up and down the stairs, supplementing the railing in helping prevent workplace injury. This is important even when stair treads are not required by safety codes because the stairs tend to be one of the most accident prone areas of a building. Anything you can do to minimize the chance of accidents helps to keep your guests safe and also reduces the chances that you or your insurance will be liable for some kind of injury.
Stair treads and risers are available in an increasingly diverse selection of attractive, durable, affordable materials. Aside from the practical value, a good set of stair treads and risers can be an aesthetic statement on their own. Consider looking into what’s available before you start work on your new space.