Raised nose on the stairway tread

I have a contractor that is telling my client that it is okay to have a raised lip (nose) on the edge of the stairway tread. This is a trip hazard and I can’t find anything in the code that specifically states that a stairway tread must be level.

I believe up to 3/8" is allowed, but anything over 1/4" should be beveled.

You don’t have to fight the fight, just report the hazard. Once informed, the client can mak their own informed decision as to how big an issue it is for them,


Zackty… :cowboy_hat_face:

Not trying to fight the fight. The client had carpet removed and wood installed on the stairs well after the inspection was completed. They do not like the raised lip and want the tread to be level. The contractor is refusing to change it. They have reached out to me to ask if a raised stairway tread is allowed.

Rick, I would report it as a potential safety hazard and we are not code inspectors. Maybe your clients could touch base with the local AHJ?

Just a thought… :smile:

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I would tell them it’s a hazard. Your opinion is not going to force the contractor to do anything. Only the AHJ and the client can do that.

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What Chuck said above and I would also comment on the lack of proper nosing on the leading edge. The minimum projection should be 3/4".
The stair as is creates a safety hazard as was mentioned.

You can site the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 which defines a “trip hazard” as any vertical change of over 1/4 inch or more.

More info here:


Thanks, I have also reached out to the Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association. I appreciate the help from everyone.

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Since when do we know or care what code says? I report to my conscience, only. Some agents don’t care for that, but I sleep well, my client sleeps well, and insurance and lawyers are not even on my horizon.

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Hear! Hear!

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Chuck, that seems to be a difficult concept for too many home inspectors these days. Wannabe code inspectors who don’t know the codes in the first place run to their computers to get on forums for others to explain building codes for them.

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I have always called these out. It is always followed up by the agent as “how can it be wrong if they sell them at Lowes.” Last spring, I was doing an inspection and it was one of the first things I mentioned when I got inside the home. We all discussed it and the agent said that “Jeff has to call it out, but it really is not a hazard”. About a half hour later, I heard someone fall down the stairs. Sure as hell, the female buyer tripped on it and fell. It’s kind of like the agent that always disagreed with me recommend adding a cover or railing to open egress window wells. He wasn’t paying attention on an inspection and fell into one, breaking ribs. You don’t have to justify yourself for calling things out that others disagree with. But sometimes, seeing things actually play out justifies doing it.


That’s for sure, Jeff.

How do you go down these stairs in these and not trip? Everyone takes their shoes off and crawls up and down stairs, right :smiley:

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Especially after a few adult beverages :grimacing:

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Yes sir, what the op’s picture Is showing is like installing one of these on the nosing edge and calling it good. Those shoes would like that coming down with the heels catching on that lip.

The top on is installed on the surface and the bottom one gets installed in concrete on metal stair pans or similar.
It is just plain obvious what the OP posted is just plain wrong, and code has nothing to do with it.
Code just happened to be written to control the advent of this safety installation to happen.
I’d be the first one in line to tell this contractor to;

Now fix it. LOL


George, Thank you for your professional reply is regards to the stair tread question. If you would have read the complete thread you would have known this was not in regard to a current inspection. I received a call from a past client (first time homebuyer) that I had done an inspection for six months ago. Recently the couple hired a contractor to remove the carpet and install wood flooring. When the project was complete, they were not happy with the raised nose on the stairway tread. Seems the contractor did not think this was a trip hazard and he refused to make any changes, he further stated that this was not a code violation.

I am not a code inspector and I do not inspect to code. I report what I see and recommend qualified (licensed) professionals be contacted to further inspect deficiencies. When I perform inspections I always encourage clients to reach out if they have questions, and that is why I received the call earlier this week. I posted the question on the forum because I was not able to find anything in regard to stair treads that wasn’t somewhat vague. Thank you, fellow InterNACHI members, for the useful information you provided. I also reached out to the Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association for an answer. Needless to say, they were also stumped that nowhere does it specifically address a raised nose issue.

So George, before you run to your computer and assume that someone is a wannabe code inspector looking for someone else to answer questions you should try and at least understand the actual question in the first place.

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As a builder for 44 yrs. I can tell you that will not pass at all. It should be flush with tread, my dad or grandfather would have punched that guy for being one of those that give contractors a bad rep.
That so called builder is a Lessron looking to get sued and should be if someone trips.
( Lessron) = Someone lacking the common since of a Moron.
I agree with the guys above they should complain to contracting board, he will fix it quick.