Home Addition Plus

Helping Homeowners Every Day

    Home How-To Store Ebooks    Bid Sheets HouseSight About Us Contact





Home Addition Bid Sheet



Home Improvement Tools from Amazon


Visit My


Tool Store







Stair Treads and Riser Requirements


The National Building Code has Specific Requirements for Stair Treads and Risers


By: Mark J. Donovan



When building a home or home addition that includes stairs, it is important that they are built to the National Building Code (NBC), and/or your local building code requirements. In 1993 the NBC updated the requirements for stair treads and risers.


Stair Treads and Noses


The NBC currently states that stair treads must have a minimum depth of 9”. In addition the nose of the stair tread cannot extend out more than 1” from the stair riser.


By having a minimum stair tread depth requirement of 9”, the NBC believes that there is sufficient surface area for a person to safely step on it. Also, by limiting the nose length to a maximum of 1” they believe that there is less likelihood of a person accidentally getting a toe caught on the stair tread edge and tripping. Stair treads wider than 9” are allowed.


Stair Risers


In regards to stair risers, the NBC specifies a maximum height of 8 ¼”. By capping the stair riser height at 8 ¼” the NBC believes that the disabled or elderly should be more capable of managing the staircase when climbing it. Note that this is a maximum height requirement on the stair riser. Shallower step risers are allowed, and when used in conjunction with wider stair treads, they can produce a set of stairs that offer a touch of elegance as well as increased functionality.


Stair Tread Width Requirements (Clear Width)


In residential building the NBC and most local building codes require stairs to be a minimum of 36” wide to allow two people to simultaneously ascend or descend them. This requirement is referred to in the building industry as the “Clear Width”.


Stair Headroom Height Requirements

In addition to stair treads and riser requirements the NBC also states that the minimum stair height to be maintained is 80” (6’ 8”).

Stair Treads and Riser Requirements

Photo by Mark Donovan


This height needs to be maintained throughout the entire length of the stairway.


Floating Steps and Spiral Stair Cases


Floating steps, and in many cases spiral stair cases, have no visible riser, however they too must meet the same 8 ¼”stair riser requirement per the NBC. In regards to the stair tread depth, they are allowed some flexibility, however in general they typically need to meet a standard depth approximately 12-14 inches in from the narrow side.


So before you start cutting your stair stringers make sure you follow the NBO and your local building code requirements for stair treads and risers.  


Find a Qualified Home Building Contractor in Your Area

Get Free Quotes.  Easy, Quick and No Obligations!


For the home improvement or home remodeling project that is too big for you, check out our partner NeedContractor. They are a national resource for finding pre-screened, insured, and licensed home improvement and remodeling contractors in your local area.

Find Local, Pre-Screened Home Buidling Contractor


Get Matched in 48 hours with Home Building Contractors!


For more help on how to build a custom home, see HomeAdditionPlus.com's New Home Construction Bid Sheet. The New Home Construction Bid Sheet provides you with the knowledge you will need on how to plan for the building of a custom home, and what to look for when hiring contractors for your new custom home building project. It also includes a detailed cost breakdown table and spreadsheet for estimating your own new custom home building costs.


How to Finance your Home Project -  can help provide funds for your new home improvement project if financing is required.



Additional Framing and Carpentry Resources


Framing and Carpentry Tools from Amazon.com








- Stair Treads and Riser Requirements -

[Back to Framing]




Follow HomeAdditionPlus on Twitter

to HomeAdditionPlusVideos / Subscribe to HomeAdditionPlus.com feed

Advertise / Favorite Links / SiteMap / ToS / Privacy Policy / Disclosure Policy

Copyright 2005-2015 by DIY HomeAddition Plus.com - A Do it Yourself Home Improvement Site



web metrics