Frequently Asked Questions About Stairs

Thursday, January 9, 2020

The building code has lots of specifications for stairs and home inspectors look at them very carefully. That’s because stairs are dangerous. 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. Here’s links to answers for our most commonly asked questions about stairs: 

 What is the minimum headroom clearance for stairs?

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

 When is a railing required at stairs?
 
  Do I need stairs at all exit doors from a mobile home? 

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

• What do home inspectors check when inspecting stairs?

• 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?

• What is the difference between a handrail and a guardrail? 

Can a door swing out over the top of interior stairs without a landing?

What are the building code requirements for a handrail at stairs?

• When are solid risers required on stairs? 

How many exterior steps require a handrail? 

 

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