Advances in Building Stairs / Staircases / Deck Stairs Provide Superior Structural Integrity and Safety.

Let’s walk through the most important issues that have ‘tainted’ the decking industry and quickly highlight the major improvements that have provided new economical and efficient solutions that have effectively addressed the ‘trouble’ spots.

With the rapid increase in new material options such as composite material there have been excellent improvements in long lasting ‘color stabilization. When many of the composite manufacture’s first came on the scene they lacked sufficient UV (Ultra Violet) stabilizers in the custom color coatings they applied. Terrific new color options became available to builders, however, significant premature ‘fading’ was seen and customer complaints were common. Now, unlike the first generation of composite, new advanced UV color coating provides long lasting color consistency. In addition to the early problems of inadequate UV stabilizers, the initial cost was hard for many installers to swallow too! Now that the market place has encouraged more competition-the price of composite has come down and has become a very affordable, long lasting option versus traditional redwood, cedar and pressure treated lumber.

The whole topic of pressure treated lumber has also been an extremely controversial issue during this last decade. When the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) banned the use of arsenic and changed the main pressure treatment to ‘copper they failed to realize the major implications that would arise. Arsenic was eliminated due to the potential harm it exposed children to on playgrounds all across the nation. The new pressure treated solution now approved by the EPA and presently being used contains a high level of copper.

This relatively new approved pressure treatment when it comes in contact with galvanized-zinc coated steel accelerates corrosion at a rapid level. This set the stage for a dramatically different safety concern – with the earlier Arsenic pressure treatment the danger was possible poisonous ‘ingestion’¬¬ – now with the new, high copper content pressure treatment, widespread deck collapses and premature corrosion are the real safety concerns. Scrambling to quickly respond to the potential safety and liability concerns, manufacturers of steel hangers, fasteners (screws/nails etc.) immediately improved their products by adding hot-dipped galvanization to all anchors, hangers and fasteners and in many cases, adding epoxy powder coatings in addition to increasing the levels of hot-dipped galvanization. This so far, as been ‘perceived’ as an adequate solution. However, galvanic corrosion created between the high copper content of the wood and the galvanizing has shown to be so severe that the normal industry standard of G90 galvanizing will corrode in as little as 12 months and G185 can be seriously compromised with 24 months. Surprisingly, the G185 with no engineering testing available, has been the industry default for code officials. Without a barrier between the pressure treated wood and galvanized hardware, serious corrosion is inevitable. More work still needs to be done in safely addressing this EPA approved pressure treatment.

Standard, traditional deck installation and construction as a whole has come under great scrutiny within the last decade too. Many structural solutions have been advanced to improve deck attachments and stability. Highly publicized deck collapses have focused a spot light on safety issues but have missed the target on the major cause of fatalities and injuries. Deaths resulting from deck collapses although tragic are less than 40 per year across the US. However, statistics provided by the National Safety Council show fatalities on stairs approaching 2,000 per year- which do not include the serious injuries that have additionally occurred. (National Safety Council Injury Facts 2011 Edition).
The above injuries are a result of slips and falls on the most dangerous area of any deck or home: stairs (deck stairs, wood stairs, exterior stairs, interior stairs). Substandard construction practices have led to unstable railing and the inability to provide adequate grip as a person traverses a stairway. For years building codes have existed requiring rail posts to withstand 200lbs. of lateral load. Until just recently, there have been no solutions which allow standard wood stair construction to meet these criteria. Traditional poor construction methods are a direct cause that has led to these above statistics.

There have been just a handful of manufacturer’s that have made serious efforts at addressing various lateral load deck safety concerns for safer stair railings. One of these manufacturer’s, EZ Stairs,Inc. makes an adjustable bracket that can also be used as a vertical deck stair rail post attachment for deck stairs. Also read how ICC-ES has recognized EZ Stair’s stair rail solution.
ESRecognizesInnovativeSolutions_StairRailSafetyConcerns.pdf

Unfortunately, until such time as adequate code enforcement is required the above unnecessary fatalities and injuries will continue and many feel given the large number of reported injuries, it is grossly negligent for Building Inspectors not to require tested and validated products. The ICC-ES does an adequate job of informing the code official community of code tested solutions but they are largely ignored and sadly expose the general public to hazards that are unnecessary.

EZ Stairs Inc. is not only a easy to install two stringer stair system for risers and treads, but also functions as a vertical rail post attachment (rail safety bracket) that exceeds current code by 2.5x giving you safe, reliable stairs. Build exterior deck stairs up to 7′ wide or 9′ wide interior stairs with only 2 stringers- saving labor and materials. Since the riser acts as a load bearing joist, you get an incredibly strong stair that doesn’t squeak. With the patented adjustable dual-purpose exterior/interior brackets EZ Stairs won Pro Sales Magazine’s Editor’s Choice award for new product innovation in the construction industry. In 2005, it introduced its composite deck compatibility solution and was chosen for LBM Journal’s ‘Hot Products’ Award at the International Builders Show, and again voted one of the fifty ‘Hot Products’ at more recent International Builders Shows. EZ Stairs is code approved and recognized by the ICC-ESR 2295.
For more information, and to view 3D demos, visit the ez-stair.com website, or call 866-693-9570.

Deck Stairs Made Easy.

Deck Stairs are often the last part of the deck to be tackled because they are often the most difficult part of the deck to build. I’ve found a solution for building deck stairs that’s stronger, faster and easier than any system of stair building I’ve ever seen. I’ve built many decks in my early days as a professional. Building stairs was always something I had to tackle myself because I couldn’t trust anyone else to build the stairs correctly… the first time.

I’m referring to an adjustable, heavy duty steel stair bracket system, which allows you to make automatic adjustments to form any rise or run you require. You only need two stringers for deck stairs up to 7’ in width. No center stringers are needed at all because riser acts as a load-bearing joist, giving you strong stairs. Most of the saw cuts are eliminated and require only three to four cuts per stringer.

These EZ Stairs® brackets not only adjust, but are also approved as ‘joist hangers’. This allows you to attach 2” thick risers that span across the stair like floor joists, every 10” or 11” between the two stringers. This eliminates the need for several center stringers running down the stair as in conventional construction. Since there are only two stringers, you also eliminate the need to align and attach several cut stringers in order to build your stair.

The brackets also provide ‘code compliant’ rail post support. According to their accredited testing, the brackets are used to provide rail post support for any type of wood stair which meets the code requirement for 200lb. Lateral load at 42”. This has never been achieved on any wood stairs system.

This stair building system is much simpler and faster than conventional stair building, without sacrificing structural integrity or strength. The stairs turn out so well made that you won’t even hear a squeak. In addition to deck stairs, they can be used for interior stairs: basement stairs, tongue and groove stairs, and even concrete formwork. Check out http://www.ez-stairs.com

Instructions from the website:
Set the brackets on the two 2×6 stringer members using the spacers and pivot screws. Remove spacers and rotate brackets to adjust stair height. Fix brackets in position, attach risers and treads.

Before you begin, determine the exact number of steps you need and exactly how wide you would like your steps to span. If you need additional assistance in obtaining the appropriate measurements-you can quickly link on our brochure ‘Let’s Get Started’ section (available in English and Spanish)* and the free stair calculator at http://www.ez-stairs.com/widgets/stair_calculator/index.html

You will only need (2) 2×6’s per stringer/side*. Make sure when you purchase your 2×6’s that you get them as straight as possible. The 2×6’s will need to be at least 12″ longer than the total length of your stairs. Two stringers are sufficient to span up to 7′ wide. You will only need to make a maximum of 3 to 4 cuts per stringer no matter how many steps you will be building.

For risers you will use 2×8’s — for treads you can use 2×12’s. Utilizing additional EZ Stairs mini-composite cleat brackets you may use any 2×6 tread material wood/and or composite. Time saving tip: when you determine how many steps you will need and how wide you want to span…get all your risers and treads pre-cut to exact lengths before you begin.

For interior jobs you can use same as above or the following can be used for spans up to 42″ to 48″ wide. Stringers still need to be 2×6’s. Interior risers can be 2×8’s or 3/4″ to
1 1/8” plywood. Interior treads can be 2×12’s or 1 1/8″ to 3/4″ plywood with EZ Stairs, stairs can be ‘pre-built’ or built ‘in-place’.

Tools/Materials needed will be: a power drill, saw (skill saw is preferable, but not required, #8 1 1/4″ Phillips flat head or star/square drive screws for the stair brackets, #8 2 1/2″ deck screws for every 9″ of tread and riser connection and EZ Stair Spacers for customized riser and tread measurements.

Watch 3D animation first at www.ez-stairs.com

Set-up (1) stringer at a time by placing 2×6’s parallel on a flat surface…start 6″ from end by placing EZ Stairs spacer, then bracket and spacer…..down the line. When you have all your spacers and brackets lined up and tight insert 2 pivot screws in each bracket… without tightening the pivot screws. Remove spacers and pivot your brackets to your exact riser and tread combination. Insert remaining screws in all the brackets except the first and last step… these brackets will need to be quickly pivoted out of the way to make the required minimal end cuts. Repeat the process on stringer #2 and install all risers and treads.

* Interior or exterior stairs can be framed out and installed in most cases 2-3 hours or less.
* Minimal skill is required and due to the fact that with EZ Stairs saw-cuts are drastically reduced…..material is seldom wasted.
* Spacers are adjustable to allow for customized rise and tread configurations. Spacers are factory set at ‘G’… accomplishes most tread and rise requirements.

Stair Building Innovations Make Easy to Install Staircase Construction

Building a staircase can be a daunting task for a do-it-yourselfer as well as a pro.  Traditional stair building methods are rigid and unforgiving. If you miscalculate or need to make adjustments, then you often have to throw out your materials and start over.  Luckily there are some new products and techniques on the market that can simplify and speed up stair construction.

One innovation that has many advantages compared to conventional stair building is the adjustable bracket method.  This technique differs from conventional stair construction with its ease of installation. With adjustable stair brackets such as EZ Stairs®, you can custom fit deck stairs into an exact area, forming any rise or run required.

Here are eight advantages of using adjustable brackets over traditional stair building methods:

1- Allows for a custom fit.

2- Ease of installation: 2 stringers, 3 saw cuts each

3- Less waste of materials.

4- No math skills required.

5- Simple adjustments correct errors.

6- Approved as joist hangers.

7- They provide ‘code compliant’ rail post support.

8. Big time savings in comparison.

This is how the adjustable bracket method works:

Step one: Set the brackets on the two 2×6 stringer members using the spacers and pivot screws.

Step two: Remove spacers and rotate brackets to adjust stair height.

Step three:Fix brackets in position, attach risers and treads. Before you begin, determine the exact number of steps you need and exactly how wide you would like your steps to span.

steps1_2_3amaz

For example, to make deck stairs up to seven feet wide using the automatic adjustable system, you only need three saw cuts per stringer and only two stringers are necessary. No center stringers are needed at all because riser acts as a load-bearing joist, spanning across the stair between the two stringers, giving you stronger stairs. Literally, in three steps you can build deck stairs. With the traditional method you must custom cut, align and support several stringers as needed for the stair width. This requires a high degree of skill.

There’s a lot less waste of wood too. With traditional stringers you cut away half the strength when forming the stair. Also, you don’t have the frustration with math and all the mistakes that come from mathematical error with the new building method. In most cases, a simple adjustment will eliminate the error. This will save you a lot of time. See what kinds of stair projects you can build.

Adjustable brackets not only adjust, but are also approved as ‘joist hangers’. This allows you to attach 2″ thick risers that span across the stair like floor joists, every 10″ or 11″ between the two stringers. This eliminates the need for several center stringers running down the stair as in conventional construction. Since there are only two stringers, you also eliminate the need to align and attach several cut stringers in order to build your stair.

Another benefit to using brackets is that they provide ‘code compliant’ rail post support. According to the accredited testing, the brackets are used to provide rail post support for any type of wood stair which meets the code requirement for 200lb. Lateral load at 42″. Conventional stair building doesn’t have a good solution for this rail post attachment problem. If a large person presses on the railing in traditional stair framing, it can easily give way.

So, for your next stair building project consider using the EZ Stairs adjustable bracket method.  It will save you time, materials, and a lot of unnecessary stress.

Building stairs that are easy to install.

Cut your labor in half with EZ Stairs’ adjustable brackets.