Are open risers alright at outside steps and stairs?

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Open risers are acceptable on short stair runs where it is 30-inches or less to the ground. So the open risers on the stairs to the low deck shown above are acceptable. But when stairs go higher, like in the photo below, the International Residential Code (IRC 1011.5.5.3) allows open risers only as long as “the opening between the treads does not permit the passage of a 4-inch diameter sphere.” 

    Although the code does not differentiate between requirements for interior and exterior stairs, we rarely call out open risers on interior stairs, but see them regularly at exterior stairs to wood decks and porches.

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

When is a railing required for the edge of a deck or porch?

What do home inspectors check when inspecting stairs?

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

What are the warning signs of a dangerous deck?

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

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?  

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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