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Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
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Title: Design values for domestic wood species used in stairway construction

Source: Research In Progress FPL-RIP-4719-040. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory. 2 p.

Author(s)Seale, Dan R.; Cooper, David; Ross, Robert J.

Publication Year: 2018  View PDF »

Related Publications: view

Category: Research In Progress

Abstract: This work seeks to develop engineering design values for domestic species that are at present limited to appearance, nonstructural grading. To date, with input from project cooperator Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association, red oak, white oak, hard maple, yellow poplar, and Southern Pine have been identified as the major species of interest. These species groups have the greatest volumetric and economic impact in stair and guard construction. These appearance-grade domestic hardwoods and Southern Pine do not have engineering design values associated with them. Similarly, lumber less than 2 in. thick also in general lacks structural design values. The opportunity to retain and increase domestic and worldwide demand for high-value U.S. lumber for structural and architectural millwork is current and pressing. U.S. building regulations are striving to enforce structural code requirements with more than an approving jump on the stairs or bump of the rail, as has often been the case for years in residential construction. Inspection officials in municipal building departments are asking for engineering calculations or testing that proves compliance with accepted standards. On large commercial projects, these analyses are routine and expected, but in typical home construction, it is a barrier to the use of many U.S. species of wood. When engineering design properties for U.S. wood species are not available, other nonwood materials, such as steel, concrete, drywall, and glass, are often substituted for hardwood stair and balustrade systems.

Keywords: Stairways; design values; mechanical properties; wood

Publication Review Process: Non-Refereed (Other)

File size: 1,024 kb(s)

Date posted: 05/14/2018
RITS Product ID: 90190
Current FPL Scientist associated with this product
Ross, Robert J.
Supervisory Research Gen. Engineer

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