Outdoor steps can be not just a fall waiting to happen, but also a daily hassle for yourself and your visitors, especially in wintry weather. Full basements are common in our part of the country, however, and that typically means the first floor is 18 to 36 inches above the ground. Stairs at the front door and back door have been the usual way to handle that.
If you’re building a new home, you can avoid the problem through one or more design techniques: Take advantage of any natural slope in the land to make at least one of the doors at ground level. Weigh the costs and benefits of digging a deeper basement so the first floor is at or near ground level. Consider the landscaping solution of grading the yard to create a slope or “berm” of earth leading up to the door, on which you can place a straight or gently curved walkway. (Be sure the slope is very gradual – ideally no more than 1 inch of rise for each
20 inches of walkway.)
If you’re remodeling or buying a home, a wooden or concrete ramp is the most common and sometimes most cost-effective solution
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