How to Look

at a House


A blog with answers
to your questions about
HOME INSPECTION
and HOME MAINTENANCE

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We want you to be an informed homebuyer, and each blog post is a question that we have answered for our friends and customers over the years. Hope they help you make a good choice for your next home.

  1. 3)Stairs should be a minimum of 3-feet wide and require a safe landing area at the top and bottom of the run, typically 3-feet square. A person should not have to stand on one of the steps, for example, to open a door at the end of the stairs.

  2. 4)There should be reasonable headroom clearance, so you don’t bang your head half-way up the stairs.

  3. 5)There should be a handrail on at least one side of the stairs, and it must be small enough around so that it can be firmly gripped, and at a comfortable height.

  4. 6)Lighting should illuminate the entire stair run and both landings, switched at both the top and bottom of interior stairs (called a 3-way switch).

  5. 7)Each stair tread less than 11-inches deep should have a nosing (small extension of the tread past the riser below it), and treads should provide reasonably good traction--not slippery or have a loose surface material.

  6. 8)Winders (stair treads that radiate from a center point in a spiral fashion) are subject to a complicated set of safety rules. But the jist of them is that there should be sufficient surface to lay your foot down on the tread without part of it sticking over the edge.

   There are more safety guidelines that we check for...too many to enumerate here. But the primary way we examine a stair is to walk it. The defects become evident immediately.


While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
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