staircase landing and tread depth

ontariomomApril 13, 2012

Hi all,

My DH and I are debating if it would be better to increase a staircase tread depth or increase the landing size at the bottom of the staircase (it is an either or as the house has been framed so no more inches available). If we go for a slightly deeper tread depth (I think it was to be 10" which exceeds code), than we are left with a landing of 43" square at the bottom. From this landing you can turn right into a great room, or left into a short hallway that leads to a laundry room and bathroom. We want to be able to grow old in this house and you never know what mobility issues might come our way in the future (i.e. needing a chair lift). Also, we want to minimize tripping on the way down the stairs as the 14 steps are a straight run (carpeting on steps, but hardwood at landing). We have four kids so don't want them tripping either.

Please let us know if you have any opinions to offer.



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Hi again,

Just spoke to my DH. He said the stair guy was going to increase the stair depth to 7 1/2", and our code is 7 1/4 (not 10" like I stated above). So would slightly deep treads be better or a landing that is 3 - 4 inches larger? There are 14 steps in total.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 5:25PM
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The rise or run would be 7.5"?

If the run is 7.5, then go with a longer run. 43" is big enough for a landing (and 7.5 is tiny, so am thinking you mean the rise is 7.5")

I am confused after your second post. Renovator will be the best to answer this question.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 6:22PM
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So sorry Kirkhall and others for the confusion. The tread depth that we are considering is 9 1/2 (the code is 9 1/4)". The landing at base of stairs is 43" square if we go with a 9 1/2 tread depth. Obviously, I didn't edit my second post so ignore that one!


    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 7:10PM
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If you are concerned about mobility in your old age you should provide space for a future elevator and use that space for storage now.

During the interim time as you get older but before you need an elevator, a 10" tread will be very helpful - that's why it is now the minimum tread depth in most states (International Residential Code) and why buildings open to the public must have 11" deep treads.

Typically risers today must be a maximum of 7 3/4" for residential stairs (IRC) and 7" for public-use stairs. But a building code is not a design recommendation but a minimum safety standard. I recommend 10" treads and 7 1/2" risers for comfort and safety especially if you want to live there as long as you are able. My house was designed in 1891 with 7 1/2" X 10" stairs.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 10:36AM
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Thank you very much for your good advice Renovator8! We will keep with the plan to have deeper steps than code, and try for closer to 10". A future elevator location is good to plan for as well.



    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 1:49PM
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