How To Look At A House
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What is the minimum headroom clearance for stairs?
Thursday, June 14, 2018
Headroom at stairs cannot be less than 6 feet 8 inches, as “measured vertically from the sloped line adjoining the tread nosing or platform on that portion of the stairway,” according to both the International Residential Code (IRC) and the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC R311.7.2).
There are also a couple of minor exceptions:
- When the nosings at the side of a flight of stairs extend under the edge of a floor opening that the stair passes through, they cannot project more than 4.75 inches into the required headroom. (FBC R3188.8.131.52)
- Headroom for spiral stairs is allowed to be slightly less, at 6 feet 6 inches (FBC R3184.108.40.206)
The 6’-8” standard has been in place since the inception of both building codes. For an overview of the key stair safety standards, see our blog post What do home inspectors check when inspecting stairs?
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