What Is Proper Commercial Stairs Maintenance?

Stairwells are rarely used in commercial buildings with elevators. More often than not, people only take the stairs when necessary. Regardless of how frequently people use them, though, commercial stairs maintenance is an important part of upkeep. Regular maintenance will ensure people’s safety in the event of emergencies.


The First Step in Commercial Stairs Maintenance: Cleaning

There are three important parts of commercial staircase maintenance: cleaning, inspection, and repairs. Each one plays a vital role in maintaining your commercial stairs. Regular cleaning and inspection are part of preventive maintenance and can boost the staircase’s longevity. Meanwhile, repairs happen less frequently and only arise when you spot a structural problem.

In this section, let us tackle an often neglected part of maintenance: cleaning. It’s one of the most important as it can reduce the repairs you need to make down the road. Here’s how to clean commercial stairs.


1. Dusting

The stairs of a commercial building require regular cleaning to prevent deterioration. Like other parts of a commercial structure, it’s best to begin from top to bottom. Start from the uppermost floor and work your way downward. The first step is to dust the stairwell using a long extension duster. If the stairs are filthy, you may need to focus on dusting for hours before moving on to the next step. Dust the steps, rails, walls, and exit doors.


2. Handrail Cleaning

Maintenance staff may also need to clean the commercial handrails with detergent and a clean microfiber rag. This step is crucial as rails have the most contact with human hands.


3. Nose and Rising

Pay attention to the nosing and rise of the stairs. These often attract dirt and grease. Sometimes, chewing gum is stuck underneath. You may use a razor blade or scour pad to remove stuck-on gum. If the chewing gum is stubborn, you may need to apply a product like Goo Gone and let it sit for a while beforehand. Afterward, wash the area and let it dry.


4. Landing Areas and Steps

The landing areas and steps may need regular sweeping and mopping to prevent dirt buildup. If they are carpeted, consider using a vacuum to thoroughly clean the debris from each area. If there is too much ground to cover, you may need to hire a professional carpet cleaning company. Remember also to put up a sign that the area is being cleaned to prevent accidents.


How to Inspect Commercial Stairs

A periodic commercial stairway inspection is highly recommended. This helps you spot any issues with the stairs before they get worse. The cleaning staff or professional cleaning contractor should be able to help you conduct inspections. Watch out for the following problem areas:


1. Pests

Excessive pests, such as spiders or roaches, can be a sign of infestation. If the stairs are wooden, you may also need to watch out for signs of termites. These may compromise the staircase’s structural integrity and lead to accidents.


2. Noticeable Cracks in Risers or Treads

The treads are the parts people step on, while the risers are the vertical parts that connect each tread. When there are visible cracks on either, it may be a sign that they are due for repair or replacement. These cracks often form when humidity levels change. It’s essential to address them quickly to prevent any mishaps.


3. Loose, Detached, or Broken Posts and Handrails

Commercial handrails provide support to whoever is using the stairs. However, wobbly, broken, or detached handrails pose a huge safety concern. Take them as a sign that the handrails need repair or replacement.


4. Creaky Steps

You often hear creaky steps in older buildings. While they are not always signs of structural issues, they can be bothersome and lead to other problems. Property owners can often fix them by using wood glue to fill empty spaces between treads and risers. On the other hand, you may need to repair the risers or treads if the gaps are more pronounced.


5. Water Damage

Water damage is a silent killer for many commercial structures. It can jeopardize the structural integrity of almost anything, including the stairs. Look for any rotting or warping along the staircase.

Unfortunately, water damage cannot be remedied by simple repairs. It is often a sign that you need to replace parts of the stairs. For this reason, it’s important to fill in any cracks or correct unevenness to prevent water from pooling during rainy weather.


Commercial Stair Repairs

While some minor gaps and cracks can be filled, hiring professional contractors to repair commercial building staircase structures is generally advisable. The contractor should have the right license and insurance requirements and comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) standards.

The OSHA requirements for stairs ensure commercial building stair safety. Here are some of the standard requirements property owners must follow:

  • For standard stairs, the riser height must be no more than 9.5 inches, and the tread depth must be not less than 9.5 inches. Meanwhile, the minimum width should be 22 inches. Slopes must be between 30° and 50° from the horizontal.
  • For guardrails, the top edge height of the top rails must be 42 inches, while the handrail height must be 36 inches. Baluster spacings must be 19 inches, while finger clearance must be 2.25 inches. Furthermore, the guardrails must withstand at least 200# of force.
  • There must be a minimum vertical clearance above each tread of at least 6’8″. Landings must be at least the width of the stairs and at least 30 inches deep. Door swings must not reduce the usable depth below 22 inches. Moreover, the stairs must support the normal anticipated load five times, but never less than 1,000 lbs of concentrated load.


Prioritize Commercial Stairs Maintenance

Property owners often overlook commercial stairs maintenance because they are rarely used. Nonetheless, keeping them in good condition is vital. People use the stairs if the elevators are busted, need to travel only a few floors, or if there is a fire. Property owners must ensure the stairs are always safe.

Maintenance Specialists, Inc. helps property owners maintain their buildings and other facilities. We provide various services from cleaning to repairs. Call us now at 704.405.6000 or contact us online for more details!



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