Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Can you build SUPER MODERN-LOOKING STAIRS under NYS residential building code?

Our beautiful stairs are now complete with cedar hand rails, guards and stair balusters. While I personally would have preferred the whole staircase to be completely open (as in those really super-contemporary homes), we wouldn't pass an inspection.

The NY state residential building code is very specific, which makes me wonder why how so many of these modern homes actually pass code on their stairs? I can only imagine that super-modern homes are pulling out all the railings once they have received approval.

To summarize the code stipulates that the guards on open sides of the stairs have to be 34" or higher and that the balusters (the vertical posts in between the guards and railings) must be no further than 4 3/8" apart. There are plenty of other measurements relating to minimum widths and height of clearance between stairs, riser slope max. 8 1/4" etc...

My verdict for now - as we have no other choice - we have to live with code - I do love the stairs, they are beautifully crafted and make a wonderful part of our great room, enough said!

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