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Old 09-18-2011, 07:54 PM
 
114 posts, read 307,762 times
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Question Ideas on how to make staircase, and upstairs landing, safe.

Hi,

We just bought a house that has a second floor that we plan to block off, for safety reasons for our disabled son. We will put a gate at the bottom of the staircase, but I'm worried that, if the gate is ever left open that he could get upstairs to the open second floor landing. Does anyone have ideas on how to safely block an upstairs landing, sort of a bridge that goes across the upstairs, looking down at the lower level (soaring ceilings). We've thought about putting floor to ceiling railings, replacing the waist high railings that are currently in place, but that will look a lot like a jail (been there, done that). We're trying to be creative with some way to block the upstairs landing, but still let the light flow. Is it possible to have strong glass framed and placed in the opening above the existing railing? Are there other fixes that I'm missing?

I'd love any input on how to make our new house safe for our 19-year old disabled son, who will hang out over the edge of the upstairs railing, given the chance.
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Old 09-19-2011, 07:20 AM
 
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You could look into putting in plexiglass or similar. I would think that even adding higher railings would help-maybe chin height on your son or so, or would he climb them? What about filling in the walkway with drywall and leaving some openings that are higher up on the walls-window type openings without the windows?
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
15,820 posts, read 30,869,110 times
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Safest bet = move to a ranch style home.
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:45 AM
 
Location: Knoxville
3,295 posts, read 10,411,264 times
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Safest bet = move to a ranch style home.

I have to agree. This sounds like something you should have considered BEFORE you bought this house. Especially since your son will climb things if given the opportunity.

Anything with openings could be climbed, or at least attempted to climb. To make it the safest, you will have to have smooth surfaces, such as drywall, plexiglass, or glass blocks.

You could put a self closure on the gate at the bottom of the stairs.
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:27 AM
 
21,477 posts, read 35,351,953 times
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Sounds like the OP already closed on a home that does not meet all their needs. I would investigate something that was durable but still easy to remove. Pretty much any glass shop will be able to use the minimal brackets theynuse for "frameless" shower enclosures to solidly affix a polycarbonite (Lexan) panel just inside the existing railing. 3/4" Lexan will stop a bull. Probably want to leave a two inche gap so that you don't create a situation where the HVAC Is fighting to move air. When it is time to sell the panels can easily be removed and any holes from mounts easily patched. Lexan has far less "flex" than plexiglass or even regular tempered glass. It also has better acoustic properties. Downside is that it will inevitable get scratched over time (which is why it is not preferred for glazing at homes / commercial locations) but lots of athletic facilities use it (think hockey rinks and indoor soccer arenas). It ain't cheap, but it has to be less than dumping the house you just bought and moving to a ranch...

Hopefully things work out. No fun worry about a child's safety...
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:34 AM
 
20,798 posts, read 31,338,303 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barking Spider View Post
Safest bet = move to a ranch style home.

I have to agree. This sounds like something you should have considered BEFORE you bought this house. Especially since your son will climb things if given the opportunity.

Anything with openings could be climbed, or at least attempted to climb. To make it the safest, you will have to have smooth surfaces, such as drywall, plexiglass, or glass blocks.

You could put a self closure on the gate at the bottom of the stairs.
Sounds to me like they DID consider this before they bought and knew they would have to do something to improve the safety of this area .
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Old 09-20-2011, 07:06 AM
 
Location: southwestern PA... where the nest is now empty!
11,337 posts, read 12,976,396 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
Safest bet = move to a ranch style home.
Exactly what I thought when I read the OP!
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:57 AM
 
114 posts, read 307,762 times
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We currently live in a ranch home, in Florida (the 'land of ranch homes'), and we've discovered problems with ranch homes and our son (low ceilings that he can reach, ceiling fans that he can reach and pull down, small-sized rooms, bathrooms that are not large enough to bath him in - you need one adult with him, at all times, layout of home needs to allow him to walk out to the back yard, with no steps, enough bedrooms for our two daughters as well, etc.). No home is perfect, taking our son's needs in mind, but this new house, that we just bought, but won't move in to for at least one year, came very close to ticking all the boxes that we needed ticked. The only 'problem' areas are the open staircase and second floor bridge. We were actually quite pleased to find a home with 2 bedrooms and a bath on the main level, so that we could ignore the upper level. And, yes, we'll be putting a self-closure gate in, at the bottom of the stairs. I just don't trust that it will always be closed properly, so want to ensure that there is a second safety measure in place for the upstairs open bridge area.

Thank you, golfgall, for your helpful suggestions. These were some of the ideas that I came up with, too. I appreciate your help and your positivity! Thanks.
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Old 09-22-2011, 01:44 PM
 
114 posts, read 307,762 times
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Excellent suggestions, Chet Everett. Thank you. Actually, many of our American Embassies use Lexan so it must be strong. It would allow the light to come through, which is a bonus. Thank you for taking the time to offer helpful advice.
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Old 10-05-2011, 07:41 AM
 
Location: Nawth Carolina
568 posts, read 698,069 times
Reputation: 447
When we were home hunting in Florida we found several that were just as you described. I worried about my little ones climbing the rail and falling so I also researched options to prevent that. The most economical one I found was a thick strong net secured from ceiling to floor. You got light..and air flow. It's been years so I don't remember what company did it but I'm sure you could google it. Best of luck to you!
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