What kind of stairs are you allowed to build in your home?

stairs4_opt-300x1641One thing we have to keep in mind is that the Municipal Code plays a big role in the approval of your home design. The stairs are a vital part of your home and we need to remember they do need to comply.

There are standard clearances and dimensions commonly used which are the minimum required by the construction code like tread and riser minimum dimensions, or stair width but one thing people do not know which is worth mentioning here, is the importance of the stair style.

The Municipal Code is very picky when it comes to shapes and styles so, on this article, I am going to show the most common stair styles so you have an idea about what is allowed. But first, here are some standard dimensions to keep in mind:

– A riser shall not be less than 4 inches or more than 7 inches high
– The tread shall not be less than 11 inches
– The difference between the largest and smallest tread shall not exceed 3/8 inches; the difference between the highest and the lowest riser shall not exceed 3/8 inches
– Headroom, landings and handrails shall comply with all building code provisions

Straight Stairs

A stair style where the flight between the landings is straight, with rectangular treads of uniform size.

 

Winding Stairswinding-stairs_opt1-291x300
A stair style where special shaped treads known as winders are used to change the direction of the stairs. They are permitted in single and multi-family residential projects and here are some of the allowed conditions:
– The winders shall have a tread no less that 9 inches deep 12 inches from the narrow edge of the tread
– The minimum tread depth or run shall not be less than 6 inches
– The treads and riser shall be uniform in size and shape
– The width shall be no less than 36 inches

Spiral Stairs

A stair having a closed circular shape in plan which radiates about a minimum diameter supporting column. They are permitted in single and multi-family residential projects and here are some of the allowed condition:

– When used as the main means of egress component, the area shall be limited to 400 sq. ft.
– Treads must provide a clear with of at least 24 inches from the outer edge of supporting column to the inner edge of the handrail.
– Treads shall have a minimum dimension of 7-1/2 inches at a point 12 inches from its narrow edge.
– The rise shall be sufficient to provide a headroom of no less than 6 foot- 6 inches
– Risers shall not exceed 9-1/2 inches
– Treads and risers shall be uniform in shape and size
– Headroom, landings and handrails shall comply with all building code provisions

spiral-stairs_opt-300x2931Circular Stairs
This style of stairs is permitted often as a means of egress
– The minimum radius shall be twice the stairway width.
– The minimum width of run (tread depth) shall not be less than 10 inches
– Headroom, landings and handrails shall comply with all building code provisions

General Requirements:
In general, stairs that serve less than 50 people shall be no less than 36 inches wide. The landings shall be no less in depth than the width of the stairs and they shall be at the beginning and at the end of the flight of stairs. Landings shall be level except when exposed to the weather where it can have a slope of no more than 1/4 inches vertical in 12 inches horizontal (2% slope.) Handrails must be continuous, but can be interrupted by a newel post at a stair landing. Headroom shall be 6 foot 8 inches measured vertically from the edge of the tread nosing to the soffit, ceiling or any other construction along the stair.

 

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