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Old 03-05-2014, 05:51 PM   #1
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3 Questions about building stairs out of back door


Hi guys,

I recently bought my first new house and this is the first project I want to tackle. I would like to build stairs out of my back patio door in my kitchen to backyard. The distance to the ground is exactly 22 inches so I'm thinking I only need one or two steps.

Do I need to get a building permit to complete this work? I've scoured over the code and cannot find a definitive answer (I live in Virginia). I did however find that if I have no more than 2 steps I do not need a handrail.

Do I need some type of footers for the stairs?

If I need a permit to build the steps can I remove the safety railing installed by the builder? It's low enough to the ground that I can just step out until the steps are built. However, I don't want to do this if it affects building code or my homeowners insurance.

Thanks a lot guys, If anyone has advice, examples, or pictures please post.
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Old 03-05-2014, 06:03 PM   #2
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#1, stop and think before doing anything about what your long term plans will be.
A deck, patio?
At that height you need a stoop before any steps.
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Old 03-05-2014, 06:17 PM   #3
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Probably a deck eventually. When the time comes to build it (not soon) I will just take the steps off and use them for steps off the deck if I can. If not I will use them for scrap wood. Is the landing needed to comply with code in Virginia or were you just suggesting it for looks? I just looked at the building code in Virginia again after posting and I can't find anything relating to building these steps... Am I looking in the wrong place? Thanks
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Old 03-05-2014, 06:30 PM   #4
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Ok, I found what I think may be the code. R311, says I can space my risers at 7 3/4" and I only need a stoop if I have more than two risers. I should only need two risers at that height so I don't need a stoop. The question still remains, do I need a permit to build these and do I need footers or is there another way to do it. Any suggestions?
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Old 03-05-2014, 06:37 PM   #5
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What is the code for the maximum rise per step, divide that into the height, you get the necessary amount of steps.

And I would suggest calling your community building inspector for advice.

As they will want to know What, Where, When, so they can adjust your taxes. It is better to get them involved in the beginning, than it is for them to discover any non-compliance by accident that you may have, and fine the holy heck out of you.

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Old 03-05-2014, 06:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tec498 View Post
Ok, I found what I think may be the code. R311, says I can space my risers at 7 3/4" and I only need a stoop if I have more than two risers. I should only need two risers at that height so I don't need a stoop. The question still remains, do I need a permit to build these and do I need footers or is there another way to do it. Any suggestions?
Ayuh,... If ya need a permit to build a 2 step set of stairs for yer own home,.....

I'm probably goin' to jail for Life,....

Go get yerself some 2x6s, 'n have at it,...
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Old 03-06-2014, 12:10 AM   #7
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If you have two steps and a landing, that is three risers. I would pour a pad for the steps to rest on and just go ahead and build then. Here you would not need a permit for that amount of work.
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Old 03-06-2014, 12:22 AM   #8
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After having my patio poured we built these steps with the "stoop area" on top. Just built 2 rectangular boxes and used the composite decking for the lower tread and upper landing. This is not even attached attached to the house. Figured why worry about flashing it incorrectly and then having water issues. Been there 2+ years and they still havent blown away.
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Last edited by hammerlane; 03-06-2014 at 12:26 AM.
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Old 03-06-2014, 12:29 AM   #9
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Heres what we had before
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Old 03-06-2014, 08:26 AM   #10
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Here is what I would use.













Google "Precast concrete steps"
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Old 03-06-2014, 12:29 PM   #11
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Here is what I would use. "Precast concrete steps"
I considered the precast concrete but was told by others in my house that they are ugly.
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Old 03-06-2014, 12:39 PM   #12
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I considered the precast concrete but was told by others in my house that they are ugly.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. They look a lot better than some I have seen built. (not you Hammerlane). And you could resell (or reuse) them when you build a deck.
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