DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum (
-   Building & Construction (
-   -   Framing Door at Bottom of Stairs (

kothep 08-02-2009 10:38 PM

Framing Door at Bottom of Stairs
I would like to frame a door at the bottom of a set stairs. The stairs are framed and finished on the inside but not around the outside. Could the last step at the bottom of the stairs be the door floor? Or do I need to go out another step size on the actual floor below the last step to put the frame for the door? I've looked in several books and on the internet but can't find a decent picture to follow. If anyone can help I would appreciate it.

Gary in WA 08-02-2009 10:53 PM

You need to go out 3' past the bottom tread's nosing to the wall with the door.

Landing at top & bottom of stairs . . . . . . . . . . . . .[312.1] {1003.3.3.5}
Landing min. 36in. deep x width of door or stair . . .[312.2] {1003.3.3.5}

Be safe, G

kothep 08-03-2009 12:22 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Thanks G, but there is only 4' 10' to a wall going straight from the steps. The left side at the bottom of the stairs is another wall and to the right is opened space. The floor plan is attached if you care to view it.

Scuba_Dave 08-03-2009 07:22 AM

I have seen doors on the bottom step, and just past the bottom step on the floor
Most of these (if not all) were older homes -no room or just the way they did it
And many led to walk up attics
Was there a door there before?
Where do the stairs lead?
Is this part of a permitted renovation?
May want to check with your local building Inspector


kothep 08-03-2009 09:59 AM

Thanks Dave, great pics!
My drawing is of an unfinished basement that I am trying to finish. The plumbing for the bathroom was put in an ackward spot (bottom of stairs on left) when the house was build 4 years ago and I am trying to work around what is there without digging up the floor. I've owned the house for one year. There was never a door at the bottom of the stairs before and the stairs lead up to the first floor of the main house. There is a door at the top of the step. I am working on getting a building permit and the framing for the bath is already completed.

Gary in WA 08-03-2009 11:26 AM

Stair codes in most jurisdictions are pretty basic, sticking to this older code:

Why not extend the wall (to the right of the stairs) enclosing the stairwell landing, with a new door to the open space?

Be safe, G

kothep 08-03-2009 08:26 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Thanks G, your suggestion would be ideal if it wasn't for the bathroom door on the left (at the bottom of the stairs) which would be blocked if I put a landing at the bottom of the stairs with a door off to the right. But given what I have, I don't see any other way then to put a door flush with the stairs without a landing, similar to the second picture that Dave posted. This picture shows the stairs off to the right with the bathroom door straight ahead.

I don't know what to do.

Scuba_Dave 08-03-2009 08:50 PM

Is there a reason you want a door top & bottom?
Kids, dog?

kothep 08-03-2009 09:10 PM

Once completed, the lower level will probably be rented and I thought it would be a good sound barrier and I think it would look better with a door. Also, there is a private entrance there too so the stairwell will probably not be used much.

Gary in WA 08-03-2009 09:34 PM

The landing is a floor/space at the bottom of stairs to stand before/after using the stairs. You can have doors off of it, swing both away from the stair landing. Just extend the wall, and put a door in. The landing (space at the bottom of stairs is there already) . The new wall will run with the stairs, like the bath wall but on the other side of the stairs. Be safe, G

kothep 08-08-2009 10:15 PM

Thanks G but I think it would be kind of odd to have to go through two doors to get to the bathroom, don't you? Am I understanding you right, put the door parallel to the bathroom door?

Gary in WA 08-09-2009 09:01 PM

That is correct and the only way to close off the stairs from the open room opposite the bathroom. There is no room to do another way. Ask the Inspector at frame inspection if you need 5/8" drywall on the stair side of both door walls or just at the top wall/door of the stairs for fire. Because it is a two family residence, there will be other requirements as well, extra smoke detectors, possible weather striping of the top stairway door, possible self-closing, etc. Egress out of the basement, windows in the bedroom, air supply for the mechanical room, separate sub-panel for the upstairs or basement, etc. Your local Building Department will tell you only if asked.
You may need solid fire blocks over the stairway walls in the joist spaces. Be safe, G

Termite 08-09-2009 10:26 PM

Unfortunately, I can tell you with 100% certainty that the local building department will not allow the door at the bottom of the stair without the requisite 36" landing, if they're doing their job. No modern building code permits the installation that is being proposed. It just isn't safe or even easy to operate in that configuration.

I'd suggest having the door placed in a wall to the right of the landing as you come down the stairs, in a vestibule of sorts.

Gary in WA 08-10-2009 11:57 AM

Thanks KC, you must be talking about Dave's pictures being the wrong suggestions. That's why I told him 4 previous times to put the door where you stated. Are there any other concerns for a two-family dwelling fire separation, KC? Be safe, G

HABSFAN2006 08-10-2009 12:53 PM


Originally Posted by GBAR in WA (Post 312553)
Thanks KC, you must be talking about Dave's pictures being the wrong suggestions. That's why I told him 4 previous times to put the door where you stated. Are there any other concerns for a two-family dwelling fire separation, KC? Be safe, G

I am faced with a similar problem in the design where I do not have 3 feet in front of the stairs to put in a door, unfortunately this is one of those little details that needs to be known before construction starts.

There is a good point here, where there is a lot more that needs to go into dividing up two living spaces, for many reasons.

No one has asked yet, but on the floor plan there seems to be a yellow hallway, would it be possible to put the door on top of the stairs in that
yellow hallway? The stairs would be hidden to the up stairs occupants, and visible to the lower occupants.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:29 PM.

User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2016 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1