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swinging doors at the top of basement steps?

Posted by ninefoursixfour (My Page) on
Tue, Dec 8, 09 at 9:39

I have a small finished door opening that leads from the kitchen down to the basement. I'm replacing the standard door and I would like something that doesn't block traffic as much. I've looked at wall mounted sliding doors, but there's not enough space. I've found a place that makes custom-sized closet doors and I could buy 2 swinging doors (think cafe doors but full height) with either full or half glass inserts. The doors would remain open when opened completely, but they would otherwise swing and remain shut. A friend is raising safety concerns, thinking that someone coming up the steps could be knocked backwards if someone were simultaneously opening the doors to go down the stairs. With each door being only 14" wide and being partially glass, that shouldn't be an issue unless the person opening the door was in a big hurry. I'd appreciate any feedback. (I wasn't sure where to post this since there's no "door" forum option.) Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: swinging doors at the top of basement steps?

A friend is raising safety concerns, thinking that someone coming up the steps could be knocked backwards if someone were simultaneously opening the doors to go down the stairs.

If there's no landing at the top of the stairs, the door(s) should not swing inward to the stairs.


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RE: swinging doors at the top of basement steps?

Please don't do that. One doesn't need to be in a hurry to injure someone, and that would be the worst place to be surprised by a door swinging inward. Many folks and children do not look forward to the door until the moment they reach for it.


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RE: swinging doors at the top of basement steps?

Basement doors are a problem if one uses the basement regularly. Originally, the builder installed a 6-panel door to ours which opened into the main floor hallway. No one could walk past when it was open nor could anyone see through in the event people were on both sides.

We have a landing and below is a picture of our solution - a glass door installed there. All of the trim was removed from the hallway just an open drywall entrance created. A glass door could be installed at the base of the stairway too. Or perhaps, a bi-fold door might work but with 28" opening the remaining pass-through space would be reduced to around 24" which is tight. Hope you find a workable solution.

Glass door in stairway landing


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RE: swinging doors at the top of basement steps?

It is a building code violation to have a door at the top of stairs opening directly onto/into the stairs. Hinges on the stair side of the door is prohibited. Such a door can open onto a landing. Otherwise the door must open away from the stairs.


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RE: swinging doors at the top of basement steps?

Thanks for the feedback. We're going to go with swinging doors that swing away from the stairs. They may get in the way, but our contractor can cut down a solid wood door we had and weren't otherwise going to use. If we end up not liking that approach, we can go back to the drawing board.


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