Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Winter Prepping With Handi-Treads

Winter is like the Christmas holiday season, sometimes it barely lets Halloween by before making it’s appearance.  Since it’s November and half of our trees have all dropped their leaves, I’ve officially resigned to seeing the white stuff soon.  Mostly because the trees this fall we’re killing it in the color department.  I don’t ever remember our neighbor’s hydrangea tree ever looking this good.

Hydrangea Tree

Now that we don’t have any large projects going on at the moment, we’ve tried to be diligent in our cold weather prep around here.  Full house duct cleaning – check.  Full house wipe down from said full house duct cleaning – check.  Deck and patio cushions stored – check.  Installing stair treads – check.

So, a couple weeks ago I was contacted by a company called Handi-Treads that wanted to give us some of their non slip treads to try out. 

HandiTreadsLogoR

Now, this was the first company that has contacted me because of this blog that wanted to give me free things for a review so to say I was a little excited is an understatement.  But, while everyone loves free stuff, this blog doesn’t make us any money, and is still just my little hobby, so I was only going to say yes if it was something that we actually would purchase ourselves.  And, while I’m a little less discerning about things I buy (I’m talking to wobbly bedside table) Mike is very particular about the quality and functionality of things he buys, especially for our home. 

I showed him the website and he was impressed with the material, design, and the fact that they are made in the USA.  He agreed that it would be something he would purchase himself, so I ordered 6 treads in the plain aluminum color, 30” wide. 

Handitread

You see, from the first email, I knew exactly where to put them.

Deck-Before

While I love our deck, and really love our step design, I’ve fallen down these stairs.  Numerous  times. 

It’s kind of silly to write about, but once, the day after I brought my wedding dress home I called up one of my girlfriends/bridesmaids to meet up and show it to her.  It was drizzling that day and I ran out of the house in some rubber flip flops, I literally was running because I was so excited.  I hit the third or fourth step and went down. Hard.  It was horrible.  Everything I was carrying flew from my hands and I fell down hitting my tailbone, my hands, and my heels and then the momentum carried me down a couple more steps until my feet hit the driveway, stopping me.  It was awful.  I cried from embarrassment and pain.  I was shaking and in pain by the time I made it over to meet up with my girlfriend to show off my dress. 

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been known to fall down.  Usually it’s from wearing socks on the hardwood stairs, or running down these deck stairs too quickly when it’s wet or snowing out.  But this time was different.  It’s been about 2 1/2 years since it happened and it took a good 18 months until my tailbone didn’t hurt anymore.  18 MONTHS!  I read on Handi-Treads website that injuries from falls are the most common cause of emergency room visits (Source: National Safety Council).  And, I believe it!  I thought about going to the doctor’s after 2 weeks of being sore, but all that I read said you can’t really do anything for a tailbone injury, except live with it.  Well living with a sore tailbone for over a year and a half sucked.  And it made me very cautious of these deck stairs when ever there was any kind of inclement weather.

We had actually talked about getting some sort of tread system for these stairs (Mike can only tell me so many times to slow down and hold on to the railings) but we weren’t really excited about the options.  We both work in construction and know most of the commercial options out there, but we thought we were stuck with the old sticky treads, or painting something on for our wooden deck.  We both knew what those options would look like after one or two Northeast Ohio winter seasons. 

TreadsComparisonB

This is exactly what we were imagining those options looking like.

We had actually hoped to stain our deck before winter hit (oh how I wish we had dropped an extra $3,000 on Trex – not really, but we wouldn’t be stuck staining every couple of years) but like I said, once Halloween is over, the weather just goes downhill from here.  Nice weather days are far and few between but we finally had a couple hours of decent weather yesterday and just enough free time to install the treads. 

In true Danks fashion, neither Mike nor I took the time to read the directions.  Screws were included and I’d call Mike more an advanced DIY'er.  After installing I’d say these are pretty self explanatory and even the most amateur of DIY’ers can handle it.  I read over the directions after the fact and we were right and installed them correctly, so here’s some picture directions of how we did it.

We first cleaned the steps off with a broom (important step since our yard doesn’t last 5 minutes without leaves falling on it). 

Deck-Cleaned

We decided they would best be utilized right next to the handrail since that’s where I walk up and down, as well as our guests.

Deck-Cleaned-2

We laid them out to get the right spacing on the left side.

Handi-Treads-Layed-Out

They are a little bowed straight out of the package, but once screwed down they sit perfectly flat.

Mike first measured from the side.

Measuring

Then measured from the edge. 

Measuring-2

Mike then drilled a pilot hole for each of the 8 screw locations on each tread.  He drilled one pilot hole first, then screwed that screw in, then moved on to more pilot holes.  It’s much easier to hold it in place once one or two screws are in.

Predrilling

Then screwed everything in place.

Drilling

Repeat for each step until done!

Handi-Treads-After-2 Handi-Treads-After

Handi-Treads-After-3

We decided not to do the top step since that usually gets shoveled pretty well and for some reason I’ve never fallen off the top one before.  We’re thinking of installing the extra tread on our step in the front of the house.

Of course it’s been pretty nice weather (55 and sunny – wahoo) so I haven’t really notice a difference when I walk down them.  But I’m sure I’ll feel better once the rain returns and when the snow finally makes an appearance.  And, once we really started looking at the safety of these stairs, were even thinking of adding some lighting under the stair nosing. I’ll have no excuse to fear these steps!

One thing we really like about these treads are that come next year when we’re finally forced to stain the deck again, they can easily be removed while we stain and put back after it’s dried.  And, while I sometimes care more about the look of something (these are pretty easy on the eyes, especially for a safety feature) Mike always cares about the function.  He’s impressed, especially with the fact that they include screws (such a small detail but super important when you are trying to install something) and he already thought of an instance where he was installing a boat ramp several years ago that these would have been perfect on.  

We have more winterizing left and leaf pick-up has become a weekly chore around here, but I’m happy to have this task checked off the list before I can do myself any more harm.  My poor tailbone can’t take another fall like that. 

To help prevent any more broken tailbones or bruised hands and feet to anyone reading this, Handi Treads is offering a 10% discount using the code blog2014 that can be used to purchase Handi Treads at http://www.handiramp.com/shop/.

Thanks to Handi Treads for providing the non slip treads to help make our deck stairs safer.  All opinions, and embarrassing stories are our own.

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