If you’ve got stairs in your home, then you know they’re a mixed bag. You love the look and the extra space the multiple levels provide, but stairs, especially steep stairs, are no fun for anyone to navigate in the dark or when carrying loads of laundry or other items. And, for folks with mobility issues or the elderly, your steep stairs can be a nightmare. What can you do to make those steep stairs inside or outside your home safer for everyone?
Get a Grip
If your stairs are carpeted, traction probably isn’t an issue. But if you’ve got tile, stone, wood, or concrete steps, slipping is a very real hazard. Adding rugs or rubber mats to wooden stairs can help considerably, as can sticky traction treads. Be creative and search around for options that are safe and attractive.
Get Another Grip
The ability to grip onto handrails helps everyone feel more secure on stairs. Most stairs indoors have handrails because of building code requirements, but often outdoor stairs are missing this important safety feature. Installing sturdy rails helps people who experience poor vision or balance use the stairs with more confidence.
Get Some Light
Overhear lighting is fine, but what your steep stairs really need is lighting near the steps themselves. Recessed lighting in each step or lighting near the steps along the walls helps you see where you’re putting your feet, which is pretty important to staying upright on the stairs. Lighting doesn’t need to be bright, but the addition of lighting reduces the incidence of tripping or missing a step while trying to ascend or descend in the dark.
Get a Ramp
Ramps make changing elevations within a home easier for everyone. Ramps are typically a good solution for short flights of stairs indoors or out. Wheelchair ramps for steep stairs outdoors or at entryways provide a gentle incline that’s comfortable to navigate.
Get New Stairs
Talk to your contractor about the possibility of modifying those steep stairs in and around your home. You might have more choices than you think for making things safer. There’s a very real possibility that remodeling your home might be the most cost-effective, long-term solution.
Safety is the number one priority. No matter how much you might love the look of your stairs, if they’re not safe, you need to make some changes. Regardless of the solution you choose, making your steep stairs safer will improve life in your home. Take the steps you need to take today to smooth out your steps so that no one – young or old –tumbles down your stairs.