Welcome to Unitcare

Maintenance: Stairs

In this chapter we explain some building terms in relation to stairs, along with commonly encountered problems. We also look at preventative maintenance.

Legislation – Strata Titles Act

Click on Legislation above, to view strata title legislation and hints.

Legislation – Community Titles Act

Click on Legislation above, to view community title legislation and hints.

The following picture is a view of a timber & steel framed balcony. Click on the picture for a detailed image including terms.

Click on picture for large image

Common Problems

  • Weathering – external stairs are by their nature, out in all weathers. The regular repainting of timbers and steel can help extend the life of a stairs.
  • Timber rot – rot is a common problem in external stairs. This is caused by fungi developing where water settles into joints in the timber.
  • Rusting of steel work – a significant problem in seaside locations, rust should be ground out and treated promptly.
  • Concrete treads – spalling of concrete caused by the rusting of reinforcing, especially in seaside environments.
  • Internal staircases – timber treads need repainting or varnishing on a regular basis.
  • Noisy stairs – some groups apply a rubber finish to the treads – see photo below.

The following pictures illustrate many of the common problems with stairs, leaving them in a poor or dangerous state.

Rusting balustrade support

Rusting treads – some with ragged holes.

Spalling cement treads

Rusting steel and spalling concrete

The following picture shows the use of a rubber product applied to the treads. This reduces the wear on the tread and reduces noise. This can be very useful where there is a lot of foot traffic.


Best Practice

Arrange for an annual inspection of any common property stairs. Attention needs to be paid to the state of the treads and the hand rails. For external timber stairs see the check list for Timber Balconies.


The following tools may assist in the maintenance of your group’s stairs.

Caring for concrete

Click on picture for printable version