Basement Stair Railing

This is a recent basement stair railing project.  To comply with the City of Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections, Client Assistance Memo #604,  Seattle Tip #604, landlords must keep rental units up to code.

This landlord was flagged in a lottery, or somehow made it onto the Inspections radar.  A building inspector came to his rental house and looked around.

The old handrail to the basement didn’t comply with current standards and needed to be replaced.   Current stair railing standards require an opening of no more than 4 inches at any point in the railing.  This is the best standard for keeping railing effective for small children.  The idea is to keep openings smaller than children can get their heads through.

We removed the existing handrail and bolted new posts to the existing stair stringers.  We also reinforced the stair stringers so they could better withstand pressure from the railing posts.

The new railing material is Fir, and the finish is a clear satin wipe-on polyurethane.

Basement Stair Railing – After Construction


These are the pictures from before construction.  You can see how much safer the new version is.  The old railings lack of coverage provided a location where a child could potentially fall over five feet.

Since basement stairs are generally steeper than a “comfortable” stair, it is good to have a solid railing in place.  This stair was close to the minimum rise/run, with the treads measuring 9 inches and the rise being close to 8 inches.

Before Construction


This project took a little over one day to finish, and definitely doesn’t qualify as a remodel.  Since we are a smaller general contractor, odd jobs like this are an integral part of our business.  Projects like this are usually pretty easy to schedule between our larger jobs.

You can find more information about Seattle Landlord Tenant Ordinances on the Department of Construction and Inspections website.

If you have a similar project, and would like a bid, give us a call!  206.745.0284.

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