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Need Advice on Basement Stairs

4 years ago
last modified: 4 years ago


We are remodeling our lower level and replacing the straight staircase. The original staircase is 36" wide, up against a wall and open tread with no nosing, 9" treads, a 7.75" rise, and a 42" landing. The stringers and treads are both carpeted and we want to add risers, add 1" nosing to a 9" tread, paint the stringers, and carpet the steps. When we took the carpet off the stringers they were in terrible condition, hence the desire to replace the whole staircase.

We wanted the same dimensions with risers and a 1" nosing added to the tread. When the contractor built the staircase, he built it with 9" treads and 1.5" nosing (total tread depth 10.5"), 7.75" risers, and a 29" landing. Obviously this wasn't ok so he tried to "fix" it by reducing the top step to an 8" tread with a 1.25" nose (total tread depth 9.25") and he left the rest of the treads/nosing the same. He then reduced the bottom of the stringer such that the distance from the bottom tread to the end of the stringer is 1/16", which is not going to work with 1/2" thick carpet. And for some reason the top step now has an 8" rise instead of a 7.75" rise. There is now a 38" landing.

I am quite sure the top tread is not to code but he is arguing it is, they are fine, they don't need to be rebuilt, is refusing to rebuild them, and demanding payment. He said they can not be built with the same dimensions because there are code restrictions on how close you can move a tread forward to the edge of the stringer (but 1/16" is ok on the bottom step?). The code in our area follows the 2018 Residential Code of Ohio which requires a 9" tread plus requires a nosing of no less than .75" (unless the tread is 11" to begin with) for a total tread depth of 9.75".

I just want to make sure we are not missing something here - does this sound right? I know it doesn't feel right!

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