Thursday, December 02, 2010


I've been meaning to do this post for a while. Like since the end of September. I guess I was waiting to finish some touch-up painting. I finished the major touch-up work a few weeks ago, and now that the rainy season has started I probably won't do anything more for a few months. So this post's time has come.

The front stairs to our house were not a work of beauty when we moved in. First, the steps just weren't very pretty. Second, each step sloped about an inch down from the rear of the step to the front (you want something more like 1/8 of an inch—just enough for drainage). This, combined with having only one handrail (and one that didn't even go all the way to the base of the stairs), meant the stairs didn't feel completely safe. You can't really see the slope in these, but here are two pictures from when we moved in, in August 2008.

It's been on our to-do list to get these stairs fixed, and with Baby #2 on the way, we figured it was time to deal with it.  So in August, while Sigrid and Anders were in Canada, we had a contractor come in and fix things as best as possible. Here's what things looked like by mid-August:

On top of the concrete substrate went some pre-fabricated granite treads and risers. The treads have a nose on them, which makes them a bit deeper, and the nose on the bottom tread is now flush with the wall rather than inset about seven inches, which allowed us to get maybe another half-inch of depth per tread. The end result is that the treads are effectively more than an inch deeper than they were before. That, combined with the rough surface and the proper slope, means the stairs feel a lot safer now. The new handrails (on both sides) help a lot, too.

There's also a new light about halfway up the stairs. That light, in combination with the light at the top of this run of stairs, makes for much better lighting at night.

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