changing basement stairwell door to french doors?

scrappy25October 11, 2011

I'd like to change my single 30 inch basement stairwell door (outswings into the kitchen) to two 15 inch non-glass outswing french doors so that there is less interference with the walkway in the kitchen. I am pretty sure that the current door is a hollow core masonite 6 panel door installed when the house was built in 1979, and that there are current 15 inch closet folding panel doors which could be modified into what I need. However, I was concerned about fire safety and building codes and though you all might know the answer to the following questions.

1. Does the door at the top of a basement stairwell need to be fire rated in a single family residence? Does the answer change if we decide to rent out a bedroom in the basement (unlikely and this question is not about that, but for inquiring minds, we do already have the proper egress in place.

2. If the fire rating is necessary does that prohibit the use of the double folding doors (that do not lock)

3. If the fire rating is necessary should we really have a solid core door at this location anyhow.

4. If we can't use the double doors I would consider converting the current door to a single outswing glass french door (so one could see if anyone was coming to avoid collision) , can this be within code?

thank you in advance!

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I don't believe there are any fire code restrictions on a basement door. Most people would be in violation if it were the case.
Could you get a pocket door in there?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 5:36PM
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I believe the answer does change if you rent out a basement apt. I think that you need to have fire separation in a legal apt.

As for a glass door. A glass door (or windowed door) can be within code, but all glass will have to be tempered.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 4:07PM
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I do believe the code requires the door to be insulated and weatherstripped.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2011 at 8:01AM
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Ok I know this is an old post of mine but does anyone know where in the world 15" wide double french doors (to fit a 30 inch opening) can be found? Home depot has bifolds but I don't want bifolds. I'm looking for ones similar to those posted by lagrant at the bottom of this thread. Prefer glass with lites but even solid 3 panel doors would be fine.

Here is a link that might be useful: prior narrow french door posting

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 2:43PM
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By wood sidelites, they will be essentially the same thing.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 3:57PM
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A gardenweb member that I emailed very kindly told me that the bifolds at home depot will work mounted as center opening french doors and they are under $300 for the pair so i am very excited!

Millworkman, just curious- can the sidelites be used as actual doors?

thank you!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 10:45PM
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Yes as they are essentially the same thing as doors. Bifolds from HD will more than like be 1 1/8 which I believe will be a little flimsy for what your looking to use them for and you will not be able to weatherstrip a Bifold worth a dam.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 8:51AM
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