Sustainable Temporary Stairs - Fine Homebuilding

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Editor's Notepad

Editor's Notepad


Sustainable Temporary Stairs

comments (5) May 23rd, 2012 in Blogs
ChuckB Charles Bickford, senior editor


The age of the do-it-yourself inventor/entrepeneur is not dead. A few months ago, I called a local stair-builder about writing an article. Richard Walston has built stairs for probably close to forty years, I'm guessing, so he's just the guy I wanted to contact. After I introduced myself, he said, "Hey, you have to see my new invention - it's a set of temporary stairs that can be moved from job to job. And it's completely adjustable!" That raised my curiosity a couple of notches.

Now, temp stairs are a fixture on job sites, and they usually slapped together so that everyone can get from floor to floor with a minimum of fuss. The real stairs are usually one of the last things to be completed. Richard said he was tired of seeing stairs that were shoddily built job-ste hazards with no railings. Plus, it was a task that ate up a couple of days worth of labor to erect and pull down. And a waste of lumber. So Walston came up with the idea of a temporary stair system made of interlocking parts that went up and came down in less time than it takes to cut a set of stringers.

The system, called TeleFlight (www.teleflightstair.com), is made from structural-grade aluminum. An adjustable pair of telescoping stringers are mounted in the stair opening, and a combination tread/riser assembly is dropped into slots in the stringer. The tread angle can be adjusted to compensate for the run. Handrails and balusters complete the package, which is both code-compliant and UL-classified. The day I went to one of Richard's jobs, his son Ed set the whole thing up in about 30 minutes, with only a little help from his dad. And when they're done, they'll dissasemble the stairs and take them to the next job.

The system is in production, and he hopes to attract both residential and commercial builders who want to streamline their production. And the price is surprisingly low - for more info, check out the website.


posted in: Blogs, framing, finish carpentry, stairs

Comments (5)

Edward1234 Edward1234 writes: Great Article. Thank you for posting this. You might be interested in checking out fine luxury homes by Brejnik Fine Homes(www.brejnik.ca). They build fine luxury houses. Brejnik team consists of qualified and trusted: Architects, Interior Designers, Appraisers / Lenders, Trades & Suppliers, Geo-technical engineers, Structural Engineers, Arborists, Landscape Architects, Pool & Water Feature.
Posted: 5:44 am on May 15th

woodlandbeauty woodlandbeauty writes: That price is about 1/3 of the amount I'll use to build a 14' x 53 2-story deck with a pergola above and dry/waterproof on the first level. I'm sticking with my "ladder/steps" made with (2)2x12s and steps screwed at intervals between. Easy enough to use future pickets for the balusters of a hand rail and more 2x4s at right angles for the grip. If your a DIY'er, you can use the lumber afterward for a floor/ridge or other framing member for a shed. No way I'd spend more than $1,500 for a temporary stair system. But then, I'm not a contractor on jobs costing $2ooK+
Posted: 1:40 pm on June 6th

patrick_mccombe patrick_mccombe writes: $8600 good gravy!
Posted: 7:44 am on June 5th

renosteinke renosteinke writes: Maybe I'm too cynical ...

80% recycled? Just where did the recycled aluminum come from?

Why, it came from the same scrap yards that will joyfully buy your brand-new telesteps ... from the meth-head who steals them from the jobsite the first day.

Good heavens ... can't they at least anodize the things to look like rusty steel? Cover them with wood-grain contact paper? Or, paint them black?
Posted: 11:34 am on May 30th

joe_the_pro joe_the_pro writes: Interesting idea. I've done some temporary stairs that were able to be mostly reused, but it certainly took a lot more time. Can I use one of your photos for a blog post at BeThePro.com?
Posted: 1:52 pm on May 24th

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