Return to the Building a Home Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Stair Height/Depth

Posted by johnstaci (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 23, 08 at 19:04

I currently show a 7" rise with an 11" depth on my stairs. Does this seem right??? I want them to be wide, but not abnormal. I think the 7" is ok, but does 11" seem like too much?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Stair Height/Depth

The local code probably provides an allowable range. I know ours did but I can't remember it. I ended up with 7 and 5/16 rise and 9.5 run. My current house is 7.5 and 9 and 1/4. Both are open stairs and don't look narrow or cramped. Here's a picture of the new house stairs.

RE: Stair Height/Depth

Per code (IRC2003, R311.5.3), tread depth has to be a minimum of 10".
For tread depths <11", the profile has to have a "nosing" of 3/4" to 1 1/4" for stairs with solid risers.

What's your stair design? Does it have a nosing? If no, then the treads must be >=11" deep.

RE: Stair Height/Depth

Stair treads must be measured excluding the overlap with the tread above and yes, an 11" tread is the appropriate size for a 7" riser.

There is an ideal ratio between the riser height and the tread depth of a stair that allows climbing to be natural and comfortable. In other words, you don't find yourself leaning forward or backward as you climb. As the riser gets shorter the tread must get longer even though that seems like an inverse ratio.

In a private residence a 7 1/2 to 7 3/4" riser is typical with a tread depth of 10 and 9 1/2" respectively (the shorter riser gets the longer tread). For ideal comfort a 7" riser should have an 11" tread. (In a building accessible to the public a 7" riser is the maximum allowed by code and the tread must be at least 11" for ease of use by the physically disabled.)

If the risers are open and the International Residential Building Code is in effect the vertical space between treads cannot allow a 4" sphere to pass.

RE: Stair Height/Depth

Stairs are not designed by building codes they are merely restricted by those codes.

Here is what I use to design a stair:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

RE: Stair Height/Depth

Per code 2006 IRC R311.5.3.2 the minimum tread depth shall be 9 inches. Also, there can be no variance of 3/8" between the treads within a flight of stairs.

RE: Stair Height/Depth

Many jurisdictions use one of the earlier IRC editions which require the min. tread depth to be 10" and some jurisdictions that have adopted the 2006 edition have revised it to be the same as those earlier codes.

RE: Stair Height/Depth

I found this document on-line and used it to design our stairs.

Here is a link that might be useful: IRC

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Building a Home Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here