Like mentioned before, we have one deep lot house plans, but we still had some space for a spacious patio, which we added in mid-summer. But, right from the start, the grade of our backyard was quite a bit lower than where the breakfast room patio doors opened. So, when the patio was put in, several stairs had to be constructed in order to get to the patio level below.
We didn’t want one of those raised deck designs over our yard. We really wanted to open up the door and feel like we were in our yard, not on a deck above it. So, we had no choice but to have four stairs going down to our patio. It looked nice and it was designed with “wedding cake” style stairs that are a little more decorative than a plain straight down staircase.
It wasn’t long after our patio was in that we had a decent rainfall. After stepping out onto the top step covered in water, it became apparent to me that these stairs definitely needed a railing. Their steepness was a little daunting and actually kept several older family members from going to our patio when we had some family over for a visit. And, with even the slightest amount of moisture, these stairs were a slick as ice. Even our pups had a few crash landings when they were a little too excited to head outdoors. One thing that could’ve been done when installing the staircase was to add sand. Adding something with some grit would’ve made the concrete or the glaze applied at the end more resistance when wet. I’m not sure if concrete patio companies do such a thing, but I do know they add sand and silicon beads to paint in order to make it less slick for garage floors. So, it might have been a wise option for the safety of everyone. Or, I know commercial buildings often have sandpaper-like strips at the edge of a stair to offer a little traction. I’m not sure such a thing exists for exteriors stairs, but it may be a good idea if it does exist to add it to your exterior stairs if you’ve noticed a similar problem like ours.
Well, since we didn’t have a gritty additive put in the glaze, and there aren’t any sandpaper strips on the edge of the staircase, I felt we definitely needed a staircase that offered stability and easier balancing when using our patio stairs. Luckily, there are attractive aluminum stairs that can adjust to any rise available at most home improvement retailers. A contractor friend actually installed the railing, but it seems like an easy project for any homeowner. We were most concerned with the strength of the railing in case someone really ends up relying on it to avoid a fall. He secured the railing to the house in two places and the base of the staircase is anchored deeply into the concrete. I feel much better myself when using the stairs since they were pretty steep now that the railing is in place. It is extremely strong and offers so much support when leaving or entering our house. I highly suggest if you have exterior steps of two or more to consider adding a railing for extra safety. I know guests to our home will be much safer and I believe that it would be a liability to have kept those stairs without a railing in place. In most regions of the country, to meet code, a staircase with three or more stairs must have a railing. Luckily, retailers are carrying them for easy installation and in attractive styles that look great with any type of outdoor area.