Concrete front porch rises 10 inches above ground level. Rather than
having a ramp put in for someone who is having trouble ascending those
10 inches, I am thinking of maybe having 3 or 4 concrete steps
extended out with short risers of 2 1/2 or 3 inches high that would
make it easier to get up to the porch. The tread depth would be 8 or
10 inches. The top step would be 30 or 36 inches wide. Each lower
step would wrap around the two sides, as shown in this top view
<------- porch ------->
I I I_______I I I
I I______________ I I
Assuming that the diagram turns out properly when this is posted and
that anyone is able to understand what I am thinking about here, does
this sound feasible and/or practical or would these multiple low
risers present other problems?
Thanks in advance.
Well, it obviously wouldn't qualify as "handicapped accessible" in a
legal sense. If you are just doing this for a family member who can't
manage normal steps but could manage the lower rise, then that's
something else. If it is for a family member that is so infirm that
they can't manage normal risers, then the lack of sturdy handrails on
both sides is an issue that needs to be addressed. Preferably, the
person should be able to reach BOTH handrails while ascending and
descending the stairs.
On Tue, 17 Mar 2009 08:45:36 -0700 (PDT), email@example.com wrote:
On Mar 17, 12:06 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
This would have been for an octagenarian family member in her own
home, but reading everyone's input I am seeing that it is not a very
practical alternative to a ramp which to me is not very attractive.
The issue of the railings would be important. She uses porch supports
now to stabilize herself as she steps on to the porch now, so the
railings would be essential. Also the observation that shorter rises
can be more troublesome for some reminded me that I have found steps
with short rise awkward myself and I am considerably less than octa-,
though maybe not in as good shape as our mother who exercises
Thanks for all the input. Back to the drawing board...
And, thinking ahead only a little, if there's any plan at all to try
keep the person in the home as long as possible, then may as well plan
for the eventuality of requiring wheelchair access while at it rather
than waiting (like so many, btdt).
There is nothing wrong with properly designed low angle stairs. But your
suggestion of 2 1/2" or 3" rise with a 10" run is completely
unacceptable and would be very awkward.. The ratio of rise to run must
be designed such that a typical stride is taken into account. There are
several formulas to calculate rise and run. Unfortunately, they diverge
when such a shallow angle is used.
Lets use 2 1/2" since that gives you four equal height steps. One
formula is that the sum of the rise and run shall equal 17" to 18". So
that gives you a run of about 15".
Another formula is two times the rise plus one run should equal 25.5" So
that formula gives a run of about 20".
You might try mocking up a few steps using runs of 15" to 20" and see
how they work.
On Mar 17, 11:45 am, email@example.com wrote:
I'm no code expert, but I'm sure that risers that short are against
code. People are actually mode likely to trip over a short riser like
that. If you have someone who can't manage a 10" riser, I would say
go with a ramp. Everyone will be happier in the long run. Make sure
you have the slope of the ramp correct. I know there is a restriction
on the maximum slope, I just dont know exactly what it is. And please
don't say you're not worried about code, codes are there for a good
Pic fine enough to tell what you are looking for. I take it this is for
residential home use right? It wont work for anything commercial.
(For commercial, pretty much anything you change/fix has to be at least in
that portion, accessable which means a ramp. Sometimes, you have to covert
everything but check your state and local laws).
Main concern there is anyone who's not stable with a 10 inch rise, will need
handrails. Preferably one on each side within reach at the same time but
that isnt always possible. Consider bringing the side portion in with a
rail? One on the building wall, one out there leading up the steps. Best
of all would be to ramp the side portion where the rails are then do the
nice steps up the rest of the entrance.
Keep in mind if the person with problems with the steps has anything
'progressive' (such as old age etc), it will likely get worse so the ramp
may be needed (no longer optional) in a few years.
A side mounting ramp can look quite nice and especially if you spend a
little extra for a nice wrought iron rail then out some plants in pots on
the steps on the other side towards the street.
Now, since you didnt add all the information I'd like to have, I'll address
other possible issues you may have but didnt mention.
If this is a commercial site, you may find not all entrances have to be
ramped (but this is area and state dependant! Check your local codes!).
Say you have 2 entrances, one can be with steps if the other has a ramp.
Most require any emergency exit lit spots, be with ramp. In a small
establishment with a separate entry and exit, in some states you can have
only one of them accessable but it must be clearly marked that those with
need use the one for both (normally it would be the entrance they would use
for both entry and exit).
Nice thought, but I think such low steps would pose a tripping hazard.
I have a friend who has low steps on the walk to his front door, and I
nearly broke my arm tripping on one. The riser isn't enough to be
plainly visible, and folks with poorer eyesight might have trouble.
Just a thought. If you use a ramp, be sure to consider how slippery it
In our condo, the living room is one step lower than the hallway and
dining room. Ours has rails along the step except where you go from one
area to the next (lower). Some neighbors have taken out the rail -
can't count the times I have stepped off the edge like I was walking on
flat floor when visiting the other units, although I am well aware the
step is there. I'm just accustomed to "step and rail", I guess.
On Mar 17, 11:45ï¿½am, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
There are buildings somewhere around you that have steps of which you
want. Take the person to them and see what they think about them as
compared to a ramp. Function is more important than appearance. My
wife is ugly but she works hard. :-)
If you go with a ramp, it should elevate 1 inch for every 12 inches. I
am pretty sure that is National code for handicaps.
Hank <~~~~more function than apearance too
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.