When it is springtime again, it is time to start thinking about outdoor stairs, safety, and maintenance. Some stairs may have been used all winter, for example ones to the door of your house or apartment, but other ones may only have seasonal use. These can include staircases at a seasonal property, ones to a dock, ones in an outdoor garden, and more.
For staircases that have been in use all winter, there is not that much to do. Obviously you should check periodically for anything such as banisters or stair treads that are lose or damaged, nails that may be protruding, and take care of the sometimes endless work of keeping them clear. This isn’t necessarily seasonal, but springtime is a pleasant time to do these chores.
For seasonal stairs, there is a bit more work to do. They may have been cover by snow, subjected to alternately freezing and thawing water, and covered with debris. Early spring, before they start to be used heavily, is the time for this.
The first step is to remove any debris, be it leaves, branches, dirt, sand, or anything else so the stairs can be examined.
Check all of the stair treads. Are they worn? Perhaps rotting and in need of replacement? Replace any that need it as well as any that may be borderline. I have started replacing all outdoor wooden stair treads with synthetic wood that does not rot and should last a lifetime. This is certainly something to consider.
For concrete, stone, and metal stairs, similarly inspect them, however any repairs will of course be different. Fortunately these are fairly robust materials are need repairs less often than wood.
Consider whether a non slip surface is warranted. These range from rubber stair tread toppings that easily attach with glue or tacks, to non slip tape, to toppings that are applied with a brush like paint. Your local hardware store will have plenty of options.
Also check any banisters. Are they worn or otherwise in need of repair or replacement? Are they still rigidly attached?
You might also want to consider outdoor lighting. I already have instant on lighting, but found that two bulbs had not survived the winter and needed replacement.
Every year, many people slip and fall on outdoor staircases. Often it is because they haven’t been maintained appropriately or often enough. Do yourself a favor and give them a quick check. Nothing may be necessary, or a few repairs may help protect friends and loved ones from possible injury, as well as help protect you from lawsuits!