What is the building code for the minimum height of stair steps (risers)?

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Both the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC) and the International Residential Code (IRC) do not list a minimum height for stair risers. The codes only state a maximum riser height of 7-3/4”. But the FBC specifies “ANSI A117.1-09 Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities” as a reference standard, which does have 4” as a minimum riser height. Also, the International Building Code (IBC), which is the commercial edition of the International Code series, specifies 4” as a minimum riser.

    So it is likely that a municipal inspector would hold you to a 4” minimum riser using these secondary code references, because it really does make sense. Anything less, like the 2” step shown below, is more of a trip hazard than a step.

    For an overview of stair construction standards, see our blog post What do home inspectors check when inspecting stairs? 

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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about STAIRS:

What is the minimum headroom clearance for stairs?

Is a landing always required at the top and bottom of stairs? 

When is a railing required at stairs?

When is a nosing required on a stair tread?

What is the building code requirement for receptacle outlets at stairs and stair landings?  

Are open stair risers acceptable?

What is the steepest residential stair allowed?

Why is a single step dangerous in a house?

 Do I need stairs at all exit doors from a mobile home? 

The stairs feel too steep. What's the building code? 

• What is the longest stair run allowed? 

• What is the lighting requirement for stairs?

• A light is required over a stair after how many steps/risers? 

• When is safety glass required for windows at stairs and stair landings?

    Visit our STAIRS page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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