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Old 03-27-2012, 01:56 AM   #1
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Pantry on Stair Landing? Can it be made to work or is it crazy?


First the picture. Explanation of what's going on below the pic.





What you're seeing is a quick and dirty mockup of a 2'+ deep cabinet inset into a wall on the landing of steps leading into the basement. The wall here is partially an external wall.

The steps leading up to the 2nd floor have to take a turn towards the wall for a run of 3 steps in order to clear the height of the first floor wall and reach the 2nd floor landing.

If I go with that stair configuration, I have two choices, the first is to place the stairs right up against the wall and then I have to create a notch in the top of the wall and have an external soffit in order to finish the run to get the stairs up to the 2nd floor and the second choice is to move the stairs 2'+ feet away from the wall and keep all of the stairs bounded within the first floor walls and thus have a clean vertical external wall with no protrusions near the entry.

If I follow the 2nd configuration, then I have a 2'+ deep wall cavity alongside the basement stairs. I could just cover the cavity or I could inset some cabinetry for storing items that I use only once or twice a year/decade.

Now my obvious concern is that building codes might generally frown on this because they don't want people's attention on anything but traveling up and down the stairs and stopping on stairs, or a landing, in order to open a door and extract something would increase the risk of falling. On the other hand, I'm putting this into my house, not some house I'm building to put on the market, so all the risk falls onto me.

My question is whether anyone has seen anything like this and is it generally a bad idea or could it be made to work.

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Old 03-27-2012, 05:56 AM   #2
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Pantry on Stair Landing? Can it be made to work or is it crazy?


Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexHouse View Post
My question is whether anyone has seen anything like this...
Sure.
Utilization of available space... go for it.

Quote:
...I have a 2'+ deep wall cavity alongside the basement stairs.
...or I could inset some cabinetry for storing items
If you go with the 24" depth (go as deep as you can)...
use much wider doors.

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Old 03-27-2012, 11:37 AM   #3
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Pantry on Stair Landing? Can it be made to work or is it crazy?


"Now my obvious concern is that building codes might generally frown on this because they don't want people's attention on anything but traveling up and down the stairs and stopping on stairs, or a landing, in order to open a door and extract something would increase the risk of falling." That answers the question, to me. Not the best idea from a safety standpoint.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:46 PM   #4
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Pantry on Stair Landing? Can it be made to work or is it crazy?


Are you gonna work handrails into this?
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:07 PM   #5
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Pantry on Stair Landing? Can it be made to work or is it crazy?


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Are you gonna work handrails into this?
The staircase width is 42". There would be an uninterrupted railing on the other side. When I go down stairs I've never used two railings at a time. How common is it that people hang on to two railings as they go up and down stairs?

I suppose if I go forward with this I could design the doors so that they open above and below a railing on the cabinet wall.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:21 PM   #6
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Pantry on Stair Landing? Can it be made to work or is it crazy?


May want to check your local AHJ.

"R311.7.1 Width.
Stairways shall not be less than 36 inches (914 mm) inclear width at all points above the permitted handrail height and below the required headroom height. Handrails shall not project more than 4.5 inches (114 mm) on either side of the stairway and the minimum clear width of the stairway at and below the handrail height, including treads and landings, shall not be less than 311/2 inches (787 mm) where a handrail is installed on one side and 27 inches (698 mm) where handrails are provided on both sides. " From: http://publicecodes.citation.com/ico...011_par011.htm

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Old 03-29-2012, 12:48 AM   #7
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Pantry on Stair Landing? Can it be made to work or is it crazy?


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Originally Posted by GBR in WA View Post
May want to check your local AHJ.

"R311.7.1 Width.
Stairways shall not be less than 36 inches (914 mm) in clear width at all points above the permitted handrail height and below the required headroom height. Handrails shall not project more than 4.5 inches (114 mm) on either side of the stairway and the minimum clear width of the stairway at and below the handrail height, including treads and landings, shall not be less than 311/2 inches (787 mm) where a handrail is installed on one side and 27 inches (698 mm) where handrails are provided on both sides. " From: http://publicecodes.citation.com/ico...011_par011.htm

Gary

You took the time to bold highlight "Clear width" references so I'm guessing that this is in reference to the handrail on one side not protruding too far into the staircase space or that the open cabinet doors would violate the clear width reference. Are either of my guesses closes?

With the handrail being permitted to extend only 4.5" into the 42" structure, that would still leave me with an unobstructed 37.5" and 33" if I had two railings, both giving 6" of space beyond the minimums.

As to the open doors, they're not permanent restrictions, so to my mind they're treated like a chair or other piece of furniture that is being moved up or down the staircase and thus blocking traffic.

Or am I missing something obvious?
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Old 03-30-2012, 11:55 PM   #8
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Pantry on Stair Landing? Can it be made to work or is it crazy?


The stairways are required to be kept clear for escape routes to the (front) egress door. An open pantry door, left in the open position would/could throw a fireman off-balance carrying someone unconscious, with dire results. It may be easy to see with the lights on, but dark inside, air filled with smoke and smoke alarms going off - under duress? Your local code may accept doors - self-closing, check with them.
The IRC says doors on a stairway:
"R311.7.6 Landings for stairways.
There shall be a floor or landing at the top and bottom of each stairway. The minimum width perpendicular to the direction of travel shall be no less than the width of the flight served. Landings of shapes other than square or rectangular shall be permitted provided the depth at the walk line and the total area is not less than that of a quarter circle with a radius equal to the required landing width. Where the stairway has a straight run, the minimum depth in the direction of travel shall be not less than 36 inches (914 mm).

Exception: A floor or landing is not required at the top of an interior flight of stairs, including stairs in an enclosed garage, provided a door does not swing over the stairs." From: http://publicecodes.citation.com/ico...011_par021.htm

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Old 03-31-2012, 12:44 AM   #9
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Pantry on Stair Landing? Can it be made to work or is it crazy?


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Originally Posted by GBR in WA View Post
The stairways are required to be kept clear for escape routes to the (front) egress door. An open pantry door, left in the open position would/could throw a fireman off-balance carrying someone unconscious, with dire results. It may be easy to see with the lights on, but dark inside, air filled with smoke and smoke alarms going off - under duress? Your local code may accept doors - self-closing, check with them.
The IRC says doors on a stairway:
"R311.7.6 Landings for stairways.
There shall be a floor or landing at the top and bottom of each stairway. The minimum width perpendicular to the direction of travel shall be no less than the width of the flight served. Landings of shapes other than square or rectangular shall be permitted provided the depth at the walk line and the total area is not less than that of a quarter circle with a radius equal to the required landing width. Where the stairway has a straight run, the minimum depth in the direction of travel shall be not less than 36 inches (914 mm).

Exception: A floor or landing is not required at the top of an interior flight of stairs, including stairs in an enclosed garage, provided a door does not swing over the stairs." From: http://publicecodes.citation.com/ico...011_par021.htm

Gary
Thank you for that information.

IIRC, there is a provision in the code for stairs that lead to attics and basements where there are no habitable rooms and to service areas and those stairs can be much narrower. Is this correct?

I suppose the worst case here would be open shelving, thus eliminating the concern of open doors over stairs altogether or roll-up doors, like tambours, which also solve the open door problem? Does that make sense?
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Old 03-31-2012, 01:43 PM   #10
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Pantry on Stair Landing? Can it be made to work or is it crazy?


I am not your local Building Inspector. A quick phone call is all it usually takes, as many jurisdictions supplement the prescriptive codes. My State has its own Energy Code, amendments to the IRC, and local City codes. In addition, each neighboring City and County has their local 2 cents added, to thoroughly confuse you. Best to ask before building, to warrant full coverage of your H.O. Insurance you pay yearly for.

Gary

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