Mike was able to eliminate a tread and riser and use the headroom gained to create more floor space and an interesting nook in one of the bedrooms, using a rise of 8” and a run of 9 ¼”, for r+R of 17 ¼” and 2r+R of 25 ¼”, well within the comfort zone. You can cheat a bit up or down, but below 17” and more than 19” will result in steps that require strides either too big or too small for most people. A stair riser is the back, vertical part of a step. (1) and 9.8.4.2. You should measure riser heights vertically, between the leading edges of two consecutive steps. You have probably had the experience of using stairs, often in an institutional setting, that felt ridiculously shallow, possibly even requiring stutter steps, or inducing the strong desire to take two steps at once. The riser shall be measured vertically between leading edges of the adjacent treads. A step tread is the flat, horizontal surface that you walk on. Adjacent flights shall be connected using a landing. I'm pushing for 7'' - 11'' but there are consequences..more floor space needed. If stairs are more than 1000mm wide it must have a handrail on both sides. https://www.aricgitomerarchitect.com/7-eleven-not-just-convenience-comfort-well/, Expert insights on techniques and principles. Rise, Run and Tread Depth for Rectangular Treads. If they are not circular the perimeter of the sides must total 4 to 6 ¼ inches with a maximum cross-section dimension of 2 … This code specification was developed to prevent stairs from being too high if walking upstairs or too low if descending. Can someone further explain? © 2021 The Taunton Press, Inc. All rights reserved. Maximum stair step riser height (<= 7.75") or in some codes <=8" Minimum stair step riser height: >= 4" Step riser height uniformity <= 3/8" variation between successive step surfaces, or … If it meets neither number, it will not be comfortable. Stair riser heights shall be 7 inches (178 mm) maximum and 4 inches (102 mm) minimum. Aside from the treads being too small for safety, the rise would have been about 12” and the run about 4”. rise r = 12" If you want to pass spiral staircase building regulations, for example, you will have more homework to do. In order to eliminate tripping hazards, the dimension of a Riser should always be a minimum of 4” and a maximum of 7”. It turns out it's not a circle but a parallelogram, at least using my rules of thumb. What if situation allowed for keeping the maximum rise of 8 ¼” and we expanded the run to 10 1/2”? Knowing what kind of headroom or winder you can use is very, very important. Staircase riser height translates to the distance you move your foot either up or down from one step to an adjacent step. I had designed the stairs with a 7 7/16” rise and 10” run (r+R≈17.5”, 2r+R≈25”, good numbers). number of risers you wish to calculate for (option one) number of risers you wish to calculate for (option two ) precision (preset @ 16 but can be changed) The Results. The minimum width for stairways shall not be less than 36 inches clear. The greatest tread depth within a flight of stairs cannot be more than 3/8 inch larger than the smallest tread depth. I designed and built it many years ago, but recall using a stepladder for dimensional inspiration. Austinindian, the rise and run your architect designed is well within the comfort zone, though a run of 10 1/2" might be slightly more comfortable. It also happens to be the dimension of one of the cuts on each of the actual stair stringers–the framing members that hold up the stair treads. For more information, see Section 1011 of the 2015 International Building Code for a more in-depth look at commercial stair requirements. To overcome this you can simply add an extra handrail, newel and spindles to divide the staircase. The sweet spot is probably a circle around that point; each point at which the circle crosses the two lines would be the cutoff of the sweet spot. Just be aware that some building codes specify a maximum number of risers from landing to landing, and that shorter risers results in more treads and greater tread depth, extending the overall run of the stairs. Start your subscription today and save up to 52%. How about a minimum run of 9 ½” but keep the riser down at 7”? Awkward positioning of these items may lead to falls. (1) for fire escapes, steps for stairs … The riser height shall be measured vertically between the leading edges of adjacent treads. The maximum riser height shall be 7 3/4 inches (196 mm). The riser shall be measured vertically between leading edges of the adjacent treads. You could change that to 17 risers at 6.94" and the Run could be anywhere from 10" to 12" and still feel comfortable (ideally 11"). 2r+R = 28" (too high) It is not just about the angle of the staircase or its rise, but these seemingly small details as well, details that will ultimately determine if you end up with regulation stairs or not. But 2r+R is only 22”, pretty far from 25”, and results in the stairs feeling like you need to take them two at a time, or that you are shuffling up them one step at a time. For example, your floor-to-floor height as designed might be 118" (16 risers at 7 3/8"). IBC 1011.14.2 requires that alternating tread devices have a maximum riser height of 9 1/2" (241mm). 9.8.4.4. Uniformity and Tolerances for Risers, Runs and Treads 1)Except as provided in Sentence (2), risers shall be of uniform height in any one flight, with a maximum tolerance of a) 5 mm between adjacent treads or landings, and b) 10 mm between the tallest and shortest risers in a flight. Staircase riser height translates to the distance you move your foot either up or down from one step to an adjacent step. At the same time, staircase code measurements do allow for some flexibility, since most measurements are accompanied by minimums or maximums. On the ProHOME, Mike Guertin used Rhode Island’s amendment to his advantage. It might be best described using a graph of run vs. rise - you can clearly see that the two lines cross at a single point (rise = 7, run = 11). Further, the tread measurement of every tread in a stairway should be as close as possible to identical. 2r+R = 22" (too low) 27.2 TREADS AND RISERS On any given flight of stairs, all steps shall ha ve uniform riser heights and unif orm tread w idths. The maximum of 18 risers in a flight. run R = 10" The IRC (International Residential Code) calls for a maximum rise (“r”) of 7 ¾” and a minimum run (“R”) of at least 10”. The greatest riser height within any flight of stairs shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3/8 inch (9.5 mm). r+R = 17 1/4" (good) PHOTO 6. Rectangular tread depths shall be 11 inches (279 mm) minimum measured horizontally between the vertical planes of the foremost projection of adjacent treads and at a right angle to the tread's leading edge. Table 9.8.4.1. See Stair Component Type Properties. On my first stair, r+R was roughly 15 inches—way too far from 18” to be comfortable or safe. A not-too-extreme example of that would be something like a 4” rise and a 14” run. → won't be comfortable. Riser Height and Tread Depth (IBC 1011.5) The step height, also known as the riser height, must be no less than 4 inches and no greater than 7 inches. Spiral Stair Riser Height Requirements. Very tall people may find stairs with those dimensions comfortable, but the vertically challenged among us would not. Not all staircase measurements are universally the same in all parts of the country, though. Trusted, in-depth guidance from the pros for framing a durable, code-compliant house. A stair riser is the back, vertical part of a step. Stairs with more than 36 risers in consecutive flights should have at least one change in direction between flights. run R = 4" You could change that to 17 risers at 6.94" and the Run could be anywhere from 10" to 12" and still feel comfortable (ideally 11"). The rise has to fall between 150 and 220mm. Since then, I’ve built and/or designed many stairs, and every time I think about the lessons I learned on that first one. Most straight stairs have a typical riser height between 7” – 7.5” whereas spiral stair riser height has a maximum riser height of 9.5”. Riser height shall be from 6 to 7.5 inches (15.24 to 19.05 cm), stair width a minimum of 22 inches (55.88 cm) between vertical barriers, tread depth a minimum of 12±2 inches (30.48±5.08 cm), and tread nosing shall be straight leading edges. 1.2. run R = 14" Not only do the suggested standards help you build a safe staircase, but they also assist in building a comfortable staircase that you can use day in and day out, for years to come. Molasseskat commented with a good idea; here is a graph that shows what I consider the “sweet spot” for stair design. Minimum 11 inch stair tread depth. In other words, the space must be slightly less than 4 inches high. :). Keep in mind, your local building department may be enforcing a different building code. https://www.aricgitomerarchitect.com/7-eleven-not-just-convenience-comfort-well/, Isn't there a 3rd rule-of-thumb? A single step with a maximum riser height of 7 inches (178 mm) is permitted for buildings with occupancies in Groups F, H, R-2, R-3, S and U at exterior doors not required to be accessible by Chapter 11. Twice the rise plus the run (2r+R) should be within an inch of 25”. For anyone not familiar with the terms, “Rise” refers to the vertical distance from the top of one tread to the top of the next tread. → won't be comfortable, Steep stair example: Why? It’s the horizontal distance from the face of one riser to the face of the next riser, or from nosing to nosing, and the other stringer cut—it’s NOT the size of the tread itself, which includes a leading edge overhang of ¾” to 1 ¼” (according to the IRC for most residential stairs). 2r+R would be 24 ½”, pretty good, but r+R is only 16 ½”, not enough, and the stair would feel diminutive. It may be a little busy but the yellow area represents a stair that most people will find comfortable. Stair riser heights The riser height shall be measured vertically between the leading edges of adjacent treads. Run x rise = (70 to 75), Any idea how to add it to the graphic representation? → stairs will be comfortable, Shallow stair example: If the stairs have open risers, the open space between the steps cannot be large enough to allow a 4-inch sphere to pass through. Become a member and get unlimited site access, including the The following staircase code requirements pertain to straight-run stairs. 1.1. For buildings other than dwellings, the maximum number of risers between landings should be 16 for utility stairs and 12 for general access stairs. They use the term “tread” instead of “run” but I think that’s the cause of some confusion, so I’ll use the standard term “run.”. Stairs that are too narrow are a hazard in many ways. run R = 9 1/4" Every staircase should have a landing at the top and bottom. Stair riser heights shall be 7 inches (178 mm) maximum and 4 inches (102 mm) minimum. Anyone walking up or down the stairs should have plenty of clear headroom without having to duck down. By using The Spruce, you accept our, Staircase Riser Height: 7 3/4 Inches, Maximum, Staircase Tread (Run) Depth: 10 to 11 Inches, Minimum, Staircase Headroom: 6 Feet, 8 Inches, Minimum, Deck Code Guidelines for Guardrails and Stairway Railings, 17 Staircase Ideas That Stop Us In Our Tracks. My architect has done drawing for our stairs and they now stand at Rise 7 3/8" - Run 11". Nosings must project at least 3/4 inch and no more than 1 1/4 inches beyond the riser below. I usually end up having to squeeze the stair for one reason or another, but on the rare occasions I can include a 7-11 stair, it ends up being very comfortable. Or if your design allows, you could have 18 risers at 6.56" with a Run of 12". There should not be any single steps. On the first stairs I built, I sized them for a 1×8 riser and a 2×8 tread. Dimensions for Risers (1) The rise, which is measured as the vertical nosing-to-nosing distance, shall conform to Table 9.8.4.1. International Building Code for Stair treads and risers 1009.3 Stair treads and risers. r+R = 18" (perfect) Staircase Riser Height: 7 3/4 Inches, Maximum . Most importantly, stairs that are not wide enough can be dangerous during a fire, as they might impede escape. Maximum rise height: 7.875" Maximum tread depth: 13.975" What do "riser height" / "rise height" and "tread depth" mean? r+R = 17 3/4" (good) At any point on the staircase, a user should have a full 6 feet, 8 inches minimum vertical distance between the top of the stair tread and the bottom of the ceiling. In your case, if you'd like a shallower but still-comfortable stair, you'll need to add one or more risers to what is currently designed, then adjust the tread depth (aka Run), staying within the yellow zone on the new graph at the end of the article. R311.7.5.1 Risers. rise r = 7" Rhode Island amended the IRC to allow a maximum rise of 8 ¼” and a minimum run of 9”. The r+R, then, was 16” (too low) and 2r+R was 28” (too high). number of risers : modify the Maximum Riser Height stair type property. Maximum 7 inch stair riser height and minimum 4 inch stair riser height. 1. Lee has over two decades of hands-on experience remodeling, fixing, and improving homes, and has been providing home improvement advice for over 12 years. What about something like this? Is there a rule of thumb for taking stairs around a corner. Be sure to check with your permitting agency about building codes that apply to your locality. Handrail grips may be circular, 1 ¼ to 2 inches in diameter. Per the 2018 International Residential Code the maximum stair riser height is 8-1/4″. The largest nosing projection cannot be more than 3/8 inch greater than the smallest nosing projection. Forming Part of Sentences 9.8.4.1. Many communities adopt the International Building Code wholesale, while others make modifications. Exception: Private stairways serving an occupant load of less than 10 and stairways to unoccupied roofs may be constructed with an 8 inch maximum rise and a 9 … OSHA 1910.25(d)(2) requires spiral stairs to have h ave a maximum riser height of 9.5 inches (24 cm). The greatest riser height within any flight of stairs shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3⁄8 inch (9.5 mm). The Ontario Building Code | Dimensions for Risers 9.8.4.1. For example, your floor-to-floor height as designed might be 118" (16 risers at 7 3/8"). run R = 11" 2. This should be no more than 7 3/4 inches. A prime example is the standard stair width. After trying to decide which rule really was better, I settled on the idea of using both. My ideal stair has a 7” rise and an 11” run. Fortunately, the stair is used primarily for storage. The going must be betwee… If it meets only one of the numbers, it will be less comfortable. Staircase measurements are determined by common practice and by building code, which itself is often informed by generally approved practices. Winding stairs and spiral stairs have several different code requirements. The maximum variation in riser height and tread width is 3/8 inches to maintain uniformity in the flight. The reason for this is that as all the treads are set to a near 30 degree angle. The maximum riser height shall be 7 3⁄4 inches (196 mm). Stair Riser Height Measurement. Rule one says that rise plus run (r+R) should equal 18 inches. rise r = 8" Handrails shall be provided on at least one side of stairways of four or more risers. → stair will be comfortable, Mike Guertin's ProHOME adjusted dimensions: The “Run,” however, seems to cause some confusion. For public buildings the length of a staircase is limited to 16 risers maximum. The width of the landing, measured perpendicular to the direction of travel, must be no less than the width of the staircase. Although the rise itself wasn’t terrible, something about using it felt very cramped, and I set out to find what went into a safe, comfortable stair. This distance must be at least 10 inches. The minimum riser height shall be 4 inches. The riser shall be measured vertically between leading edges of the adjacent treads. Stair riser heights shall be 7 inches (1 78 mm) maximum and 4 inches (102 mm) minimum. The riser height shall be … Keep in mind the straight stair riser height and spiral stair risers height is different. All treads must be within 3/8” of each other. Or if your design allows, you could have 18 risers at 6.56" with a Run of 12". Become a member and get instant access to thousands of videos, how-tos, tool reviews, and design features. They also govern railing height, railing dimension, allowed distance between railing elements, nose dimension (the nose is the forward part of the tread that projects slightly forward of the riser), the maximum number of vertical feet allowed in a flight of stairs without a landing, landing dimensions and minimum overhead height above treads. The minimum tread depth is 10 inches, with a 1-inch nosing. A stairway in which there is a noticeable variation between the risers is a safety hazard. Yes. total rise converted into decimal feet; total rise converted into inches; the height of one riser (result of option one) the height of one riser … I wonder if the graph should be a curve not a line? The Stair layout remains the same, including the Actual Tread Depth, and Total Actual Number of Risers values. In any case, the local code is what you must follow to pass inspections. Hi Irene. The greatest riser height within any flight of stairs shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3/8 inch. This distance must be at least 36 inches and does not include handrails. 1009.7.2 Riser height and tread depth. By "squeeze the stair," I mean that on my jobs space is usually at a premium, so we cheat the stair to be steeper than ideal, often with code-minimum 10" Run and approaching the code-maximum 7 3/4" Rise. The value for the Actual Riser Height property changes to accommodate the stair height change. rise r = 4" 2r+R = 25 1/2" (within range) Narrow stairs make it more difficult to carry items up and down the stairs. IBC 1011.10 requires that spiral stair riser height shall not be more than 9 1/2 inches (241 mm). The tread depth is the distance from the front edge, or nosing (a tread projection that overhangs the riser below), of one step to the front edge or nose of the next step, measured horizontally. Now when … 1-1/2" Min 34-38" Above Nose of Tread Guardrail @ Side of Stairs 2" Dia Max Handrail Guardrail: (Picketts) Not Shown for Clarity HANDRAIL DETAILS 1. The IRC limit gives an r+R of 17 ¾”—pretty darn close to 18. Staircase code states that stairs must be 3 feet wide or wider. The maximum width of a public staircase is 1800mm. The treads and landings of all straight-run staircases should have an artificial light source capable of lighting the treads and landings to no less than 11 lux (approximately 1-foot candle). With an r+R of 17 ¼” and a 2r+R of 25 ½”, both numbers are close enough to the ideal to be comfortable for most people. I relied on the 18” rule for several years, until I met another carpenter who insisted that a better measure was that twice the rise plus (2r+R) the run should be 25 inches. Have a maximum riser height of 9.5 inches (24 cm); 1910.25(d)(3) Have a minimum headroom above spiral stair treads of at least 6 feet, 6 inches (2 m), measured from the leading edge of the tread; Additionally, the riser measurement of all of the treads should be as close as possible to identical. The problem is when you have a small space in your ground floor like 40 square meters floor area placing your stair with that measurement (7" - 11") is really a challenge. I'm curious what is meant by the words "squeeze the stair" in this article. Except as permitted for dwelling units and by Sentence 3.4.7.5. The maximum riser height shall be 8 inches. That would give an r+R of 18”, right on the money for stride length. (1) Staircase risers should be adequately deep to allow a majority of your foot to have enough room to rest on the stair. The minimum tread depth is 11 inches. The result was a disastrously uncomfortable stair, with treads too short for adult feet. 2r+R = 25 1/4"" (almost perfect) R311.7.5 Stair treads and risers. Molasseskat, I'm sorry I missed your comment (six months ago!) Risers – the vertical faces of each step – should be 6” whenever possible under typical conditions, as this dimension provides the most ergonomic function. but I thought you had a great idea so I created a graph. Here’s a good example of a stair I don’t think anyone would mistake for being comfortable. This should be no more than 7 3/4 inches. STAIR WIDTH. My first stair had a 2r+R of about 23. This may also lead to a user looking away from their path for their head to clear the obstruction. Stair " rise height" is the vertical height or distance between the surface of two stair treads (what you actually step on). r+R = 16" (too low) To be able to fit mine in there would need to be three stairs on the corner. The riser height shall be measured vertically between … Length of Staircase. Framing Project Guide. Then r+R would be 18 ¾”, acceptable, but 2r+R would be 27”, which is more than ideal. I’ve typed a small portion of the code I’m referencing below. I think about the lessons I learned on that first one. On the ProHOME, Mike Guertin used Rhode Island’s amendment to his advantage. Buildings codes have been created to control the minimum and maximum measurements of risers and treads. R311.7.5.1 Riser height. The maximum riser height is 7 ¾ inches; all risers must be within 3/8” of each other. For a standard straight run of stairs in a residence, the maximum stair riser height is 7 3/4 inches, and the minimum tread depth is 10 inches. Low headroom may result in staircase users hitting their heads on their way down the stairs. I included icons for each of the stairs described in this article: Sign up for eletters today and get the latest how-to from Fine Homebuilding, plus special offers. I call it a lazy stair, because it seems to take no effort to use (but you still feel like you’re getting somewhere). If the stairs have nosings, you measure from the leading edge of the nosing to the edge of the next step’s nosing. Critical measurements such as standard stairway width, riser height, and tread depth are not a matter of guesswork when you are remodeling or building a home. That’s what most people find to be a comfortable stride on most stairs. r+R = 18" (perfect) Outside of the yellow zone represents a stair that most people will find uncomfortable in some way. If a stair meets both numbers, it will be comfortable. These rules are aimed at making staircases as safe as possible, so they should never be ignored or bypassed. 1917.120(b)(2) Stair landings shall be at least 20 inches (50.8 cm) in depth. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series. The Spruce uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. The greatest riser height within any flight of stairs shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3/8 inch (9.5 mm). Stair tread depths shall be 11 inches (279 mm) minimum. Its r+R is 18” and its 2r+R is 25”, right where they should be. Looking for a little more info give this blog a read... However, if the steps do not have nosings, and the steps have solid risers, not open risers, the minimum tread depth is 11 inches. Stair tread depth is more of an issue for descending, rather than ascending, stairs. The Perfect Stair (in my opinion): Watch this video to learn how to lay out accurate stair stringers. The minimum depth, measured in the direction of travel, is 36 inches. A nosing is not required where the tread depth is 11 inches. As long as the 3-foot width standard is met, you can expand the stairs' width as far as you wish. rise r = 7 3/4" Measures should be taken to preventing a person from falling more than 36 risers, this can be done by a barrier, or a landing ≥ 2m in length, or a change in direction of the stairway of ≥90°. Get complete site access to expert advice, how-to videos, Code Check, and more, plus the print magazine. For any staircase that has six or more risers, there must be a wall switch at each floor level to control the light source. 2r+R = 25" (perfect) The greatest riser height within a flight of stairs cannot exceed the smallest by more than 3/8 inch. → Stair will be comfortable, IRC code limit stair: PHOTO 7. Staircase width refers to the side-to-side distance if you were walking up or down the stairs. Watch this tutorial to see how to layout a basic set of deck stairs. The IRC limit gives a 2r+R of 25 ½”. actual tread depth The rise plus the run (r+R) should be within an inch of 18”. 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