Uneven step on stair landing - perhaps done on purpose?

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My grandfather had a saying about building steps: "The feet remember."
So why is it that the 1" shorter riser onto the landing at the top of a staircase in a vacation rental I'm in hasn't bothered anyone? I didn't even notice that the riser was 1" shorter until I actually noticed it with my eyes after being here for 5 days. 4 of us have been sleeping upstairs and using the upstairs bathroom all week, so we've been up and down the stairs countless times.
I think I know why it hasn't bothered us and I did a little test with my 2 adult sons to see if I was right.
I watched them both go up the stairs and they did the same thing that I realized I had been doing all week.
When we reach landing we have to turn right to go up 2 more steps to reach the hallway. As we step up onto the landing, we take a regular stride, which puts us in the middle of the landing. This allows us to take the same size stride all the way up. In other words, the shorter riser onto the landing allows us to step farther onto the landing, making the transition to the next steps easier.
Is it possible that the builder had this in mind when he built the steps?
After a week in the house, I'd say that it is pretty well built, with some nice built in features. It doesn't seem like the short riser could be a glaring mistake in an otherwise very nice house.
Could it have been done on purpose to make the turn on the landing easier?
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On Fri, 10 Aug 2012 01:53:41 +0000 (UTC), DerbyDad03

That's his story and he is sticking to it. ;-)
It is a mistake. Probably a preassembled staircase that wasn't ordered for exactly the right height.
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On Thu, 09 Aug 2012 22:53:18 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I tend to agree with that. I've run into plenty of staircases with short (low) last steps. In public places sometimes there's a warning sign. If you can see them, you naturally adjust your step. In the dark you almost trip if you're moving fast.
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Vic



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That's why they're known as "trippers".
Harry K
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On Fri, 10 Aug 2012 08:05:02 -0700 (PDT), Harry K

Never heard it, but it makes sense. Here's a very nice write-up on stairs if you get to building some. http://www.benteague.com/features/stairs.pdf
Wish I had that about 20 years ago. A fire destroyed the back porches and staircases on my 2-flat in Chicago. Got an insurance adjuster who hired illegal Poles to fix the place. I had to learn to make stringers so I could teach the guy doing it. Up to then I'd just used old ones as templates. It all turned out well, but only because I was a hardass. Total PITA getting things done right. I've seen codes that allow 1/4" to 3/8" on any height variation. If you're off 1/32" by the time you get to 13 steps you've blown it.
--
Vic







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I took a correspondence course in carpentry, took one from digging the foundation to finsish work inside. The chapter on stairs was ummm...interesting. I had to restudy it a couple times when laying the basement stairs in my remodel.
Harry K
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...and yet 6 people, using this unfamiliar staircase for a week, never had a problem with the short step in either direction, up or down.
After I knew it was there - by visually noticing it 5 days into the vacation - I paid attention to my use of it, and found that it was very natural to step in the middle of the landing which made the length of the stride onto and off of the step feel as if was perfectly sized.
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...and yet 6 people, using this unfamiliar staircase for a week, never had a problem with the short step in either direction, up or down.
After I knew it was there - by visually noticing it 5 days into the vacation - I paid attention to my use of it, and found that it was very natural to step in the middle of the landing which made the length of the stride onto and off of the step feel as if was perfectly sized.
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Probably because the odd step was at the _start_ of the flight vice midway or at the top. Yes I realize that the landing is midway but the odd step is still the beginning of anew flight. N
Harry K
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On 8/9/2012 8:53 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

I've not ever heard of doing something like this on purpose. Code dictates that all risers be equal.
Maybe it was a really old carpenter (gee, I am one) who struggled with a problem and decided to try one out. I would think that the odd riser would really mess with you on the way down.
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I would have thought so too, but it doesn't. Maybe it's because of the way we take the long step from the center of the landing on the way down too.
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On Fri, 10 Aug 2012 03:35:11 +0000 (UTC), DerbyDad03

I'm not sure it was a mistake because I think it depends on the bottom and top elevation of the stairs. I think there is a code about stair construction but depending on the difference in elevations, there may have to be an adjustment and this stairs may fit that situation.
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No, "trippers" are prohibited by code and for that very good reason.
Harry K
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On Fri, 10 Aug 2012 08:06:02 -0700 (PDT), Harry K

Ok, I believe you. Please tell me the code reference.
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Since hyou believe me, you don't need it :).
Harry K
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Ooops posted before I was ready:
Chapter 10 in the IBC code book
Harry K
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On Fri, 10 Aug 2012 20:39:39 -0700 (PDT), Harry K

Thanks, I'll look it up. I think I have a copy of the IBC code book.
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I tried another one that was in PDF but got totally lost. Dial-up doesn't help.
Harry K
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On Fri, 10 Aug 2012 20:39:39 -0700 (PDT), Harry K

Ok, the local code will dictate but often the local codes from my experience, will make reference to IBC. If this is true, this stairs is out of code but the code does make a variance for each tread and riser which makes sense to me in case of some odd height of stairs.
BTW, your reference was on the money. Thanks.
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YOu obviously can navigate through that morass far better than I :).
A carpenter who knows his stuff can lay out a flight of stairs no matter how odd the height and each riser will be identical. I forget how many times I re-did the one flight I built and still cut the stringers with one extra tread.
Harry K
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