What is the lighting requirement for stairs?

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Stair safety is a serious concern because the statistics on stair-related injuries are so grim. About 1,400 people die in the U.S. each year as a result of a fall from a stair, and just under a million people are hospitalized yearly due to stair falls--over half of them in their own home. Falls are also the leading cause of hospitalizations among children and the elderly.

   Adequate illumination of both the stair steps and landings is big part of stair safety and here is what’s required by the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC) and the International Residential Code (IRC):

1) All stairs must have illumination.

2) Interior stairs with six or more risers require a switch for lighting at the top and bottom of stairs. The riser is the vertical part of the steps and the horizontal part is called a tread. The type of switch necessary is called a three-way switch, which controls the light from two locations. Each switch throw turns the light from off to on, or vice versa, from either stair landing. As an alternate, central or automatic (motion/llight-sensor) lighting is acceptable.

3) Minimum light level is one footcandle at center of treads and landings of interior stairs.

4) Lighting for exterior stairs must be switched from inside the residence. As an alternate, central or automatic (motion/llight-sensor) lighting is acceptable. 

5) Interior stair lighting must be at both landings of a stair run or above the middle of the stairs. Exterior lighting should be a top landing, and basement stairs at bottom landing. 

    Incidentally, the 2017 edition of the Florida Building Code has separate definitions for “stair” and “stairway.” A stair is defined as “A change in elevation, consisting of one or more risers.” A stairway is “One or more flights of stairs, either interior or exterior, with the necessary landings and connecting platforms to form a continuous and uninterrupted passage from one level to another within or attached to a building, porch or deck."

 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

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

What do home inspectors check when inspecting stairs?

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

When is a railing required at stairs?

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

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.

Water Heaters

Water Heater Age

Wells

Septic Tank Systems

Structure and Rooms

Plumbing Pipes

Termites, Wood Rot

& Pests

Sinkholes

Stairs

When It First

Became Code

"Should I Buy A..."

Park Model Homes

Site

Shingle Roofs

Safety

Stucco

Remodeling

Wind Mitigation Form

Roof and Attic

"Does A Home

Inspector...?"

Pool and Spa

"What Is The Difference Between..."

Radon

Brick

Plumbing

Concrete and

Concrete Block

Metal Roofs

Foundations

Modular Homes

Rain Gutters

Mold, Lead & Other Contaminants

Condominiums

Older and

Historic Houses

Crawl Spaces

Mobile/Manufactured Homes

Building Permits

Life Expectancy

Clay Soil

Insurance

Floors

Insulation

Toilets

Exterior Walls & Structures

Generators

Common Problems

HUD-Code for

Mobile Homes

Garages and Carports

Flat (Low Slope) Roofs

Electrical Panels

Sprinkler Systems

Electrical Receptacle Outlets

4-Point Inspections

Hurricane Resistance

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Home Inspection

Heating and Air Conditioning

Building Codes

Fireplaces and Chimneys

Inspector Licensing

& Standards

Energy Efficiency

Washers and Dryers

Electrical

Kitchens

Doors and Windows

(placeholder)

Cracks

Electrical Wiring

Click Below  

for Links

to Collections

of Blog Posts

by Subject

Plumbing Drains

and Traps

Appliances

Smoke & CO Alarms

Aging in Place

Top 5 results given instantly.

Click on magnifying glass

for all search results.

Bathrooms

Lighting

AFCI, CAFCI,

DFCI, & GFCI

Sinks

Air Conditioner & Furnace Age/Size

Attics

Electrical Switches

Siding

Search

This

Site

Water Intrusion

Electrical - Old

and Obsolete

(placeholder)

Foundation Certifications

Tiny Houses

How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes

About Us