Basic Stair Code to Consider during Planning Basic Stair Code to Consider during Planning

Whether you are planning to build a stairwell for the interior of your home or one for your outdoor deck, you will need to understand basic stair code in order to build your stairs in accordance with safety guidelines and rules specified the local inspector's office in your area. Although building codes vary slightly by jurisdiction, they are roughly the same when it comes to major aspects of the code. So, this article will provide you with a little more detail on what is required by the code when building a set of stairs.

Riser Requirements

One of the first things you'll need to do when designing your new stair well is calculate the Rise and Run that will be used for your stairs. The rise refers to the height of the risers or vertical height of the wood used on the individual steps. Most building codes and municipalities around the country require that the riser height be short enough that people can easily negotiate the stairs when walking up or down them.

Although building codes vary slightly by location, the standard for the maximum riser height is about 7 3/4 inches. This means that you cannot create a vertical height for each step that is higher than this. This code is usually strictly enforced by local building inspectors and they will require that you tear down a stairwell (and start over) if your riser height is higher than the allowed maximum. Therefore, you should always check with the local building inspectors office to make sure what the maximum riser height in your area is.

Tread Run Rules

The depth of the tread, or the flat surface of the step, is another thing that local building inspectors take a close look at when inspecting a stairwell. Not only is the depth of the tread important, the number of treads on the stairwell is equally as important. A standard tread depth is about 10 inches. However, the depth of your tread should always be adjusted so that the tread depth is a little more than what one is required.

There are different formulas that are used by different departments in various areas of the country for calculating the depth of a trend. However, a good rule of thumb is that the tread depth should be about 1 1/2 times the height of the riser. However, again, you should check with your local building inspector to find out which formuloa is used in your area for calculating tread depth.

Other Rules To Know About

Local building inspectors also have other rules that you will need to be aware of when constructing a stairwell. In addition to the depth of the tread, you will also need to know local building codes regarding the minimum and maximum overhang allowed for the treads. This is the distance that the tread overhangs over the riser that is underneath it.

If the tread overhang is too short, it makes a stable and secure connection between riser since it's difficult, and if they overhang is too long, it may impede people walking up and down the stairs. In fact, an overhang that is too long is very dangerous and may cause some people to trip or fall when using the stairs.

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