Stairway Landing Requirements

For Front Door Access

Richard from Maine writes:

"I am going to be rebuilding my front steps out of wood soon. My question is how deep should I make the top step (stairway landing) or platform that I step out onto. I have five steps to get into the house".
mosaic steps on front porch
Mosaics add beautiful color and interest to these porch stairs
Photo courtesy of seattle-daily-photos



Adhere to Code Requirements

The minimum depth of a stair tread is 11 inches. However, this can vary by code so check with your local building codes department; they are usually most helpful.

There is usually no maximum depth but if going larger than 12" I recommend you make it so you have to take two steps on each tread to reach the next one; otherwise, it gets too uncomfortable to use.

According to Inspectpedia.com: The minimum recommended stair landing length is 36" (or greater if the door is wider than 36"). However, they also go on to say that a landing for a stair top is not necessary if the door at the top of the stairs opens away from the stairs.

If you have both a front door and a storm door, then we suggest a landing that accommodates at least the width of your storm door.

If you simply have a front door (no storm door) that opens inward, then you may not need as much of a landing, although it's comfortable and convenient to have one.

We highly recommend that you check with your local building codes to get the definitive answer for your locality and situation. That is always the best route to ensure safety and meeting codes.

For example, in our area, landings must be at least 48 inches if the door opens outward.




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