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Old 09-16-2016, 06:38 AM   #1
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Maximum exterior staircase length/height in MA


Hi All.
The best I could find, is a maximum of 12 feet vertical height before a landing is required.

http://inspectapedia.com/Stairs/Stai...ifications.php

It doesn't state exterior or interior. Don't know if that matters. I have a deck on the back of a house that is about 9'8" from ground to deck surface. There is an existing staircase that is fairly long, then has a landing and only 3 steps below that. For space reasons, Id like to ditch the landing, and just make the staircase one run to the ground.
The surface of the stairs would be a little under 16 feet, and the height a little less than 9'8".

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 09-16-2016, 07:08 AM   #2
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Re: Maximum exterior staircase length/height in MA


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Originally Posted by MikePukmel View Post
Hi All.
The best I could find, is a maximum of 12 feet vertical height before a landing is required.

http://inspectapedia.com/Stairs/Stai...ifications.php

It doesn't state exterior or interior. Don't know if that matters. I have a deck on the back of a house that is about 9'8" from ground to deck surface. There is an existing staircase that is fairly long, then has a landing and only 3 steps below that. For space reasons, Id like to ditch the landing, and just make the staircase one run to the ground.
The surface of the stairs would be a little under 16 feet, and the height a little less than 9'8".

Thanks,
Mike
There's a reason for length restrictions.
Probably something to do with someone not as fit as yourself getting tired on the way up/down and having a place to stop and rest.

If it were me, I would put in a landing in the middle.
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Old 09-16-2016, 09:57 AM   #3
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Re: Maximum exterior staircase length/height in MA


I'm always glad if there's only a step or two left when I trip going down the stairs, can't imagine having 35 left....
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Old 09-16-2016, 09:27 PM   #4
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Re: Maximum exterior staircase length/height in MA


Thanks, everybody. I didn't want to go over the length limit, whatever it is, just didn't know. The drop doesn't sound so long, but the staircase as it is looks really long from the top. Trying to fix stuff that wasn't done right when the house was built is a bummer.

What about a thick rope with big knots tied every foot or two. People could shimmy down like when we were kids? A lot cheaper than stairs and landings!
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Old 09-17-2016, 07:26 AM   #5
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Re: Maximum exterior staircase length/height in MA


Want the 100% sure correct answer ask your local building dept.
There the only ones that are going to be able to pass or fail any projects your working on now or in the future.
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Old 09-17-2016, 08:16 AM   #6
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Re: Maximum exterior staircase length/height in MA


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Want the 100% sure correct answer ask your local building dept.
There the only ones that are going to be able to pass or fail any projects your working on now or in the future.

Thanks, yeah, I've been dreading the inevitable meet with the town inspector. These were inexpensive houses built in the 1990's, by a guy who inherited literally thousands of acres from a relative. I want to do it "right", i.e. to code, but so many codes have changed, Im worried that if we touch anything, whatever we work on might no longer be grandfathered in, and the inspector will go hog wild and we'll be into a project 10x what we have budgeted.

Its a big opus:
There's a landing. The staircase above the landing is too long. The landing sits on 4 concrete pylons. The landing is about 26" from ground level. 2 of the pylons are frost heaving which has tilted the landing and staircase, so the pylons can't be anywhere near down 48" like they should be. Below the landing is a small set of 3 stairs. The newel posts at the bottom of the small staircase were not contact rated lumber and set into a concrete pad. The bottom of the posts rotted and the concrete pad broke apart where water got in around the posts.

So, I hired a masonry guy to replace the pad, and I pulled off the bottom staircase so he could get in there, and found the heaving pylons, and one of the stringers are split. OK so I have to replace 2 pylons, the concrete pad, the newel posts, but do I trust the other two? And I have to basically replace the bottom staircase, since one stringer is split. And so it goes.


The man noticed a thread hanging from his old jacket sleeve. He pulled on the thread and then the arms, and pockets and collar fell off the jacket. Should he have the entire jacket sewn back together, he still would have an old beat up jacket, or just have a new one made.
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Old 09-17-2016, 09:07 AM   #7
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Re: Maximum exterior staircase length/height in MA


Quote:
Originally Posted by MikePukmel View Post
Thanks, yeah, I've been dreading the inevitable meet with the town inspector. These were inexpensive houses built in the 1990's, by a guy who inherited literally thousands of acres from a relative. I want to do it "right", i.e. to code, but so many codes have changed, Im worried that if we touch anything, whatever we work on might no longer be grandfathered in, and the inspector will go hog wild and we'll be into a project 10x what we have budgeted.

Its a big opus:
There's a landing. The staircase above the landing is too long. The landing sits on 4 concrete pylons. The landing is about 26" from ground level. 2 of the pylons are frost heaving which has tilted the landing and staircase, so the pylons can't be anywhere near down 48" like they should be. Below the landing is a small set of 3 stairs. The newel posts at the bottom of the small staircase were not contact rated lumber and set into a concrete pad. The bottom of the posts rotted and the concrete pad broke apart where water got in around the posts.

So, I hired a masonry guy to replace the pad, and I pulled off the bottom staircase so he could get in there, and found the heaving pylons, and one of the stringers are split. OK so I have to replace 2 pylons, the concrete pad, the newel posts, but do I trust the other two? And I have to basically replace the bottom staircase, since one stringer is split. And so it goes.


The man noticed a thread hanging from his old jacket sleeve. He pulled on the thread and then the arms, and pockets and collar fell off the jacket. Should he have the entire jacket sewn back together, he still would have an old beat up jacket, or just have a new one made.
You've described exactly what you'll need to do.
New, proper footings for the relocated landing, that is, if the building dept/code requires it. After that, you'll never worry about frost heaving and stairs going out of whack again.

A PITA, yes, but there's nothing better than doing a job right.
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Old 09-17-2016, 03:31 PM   #8
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Re: Maximum exterior staircase length/height in MA


If memory serves, you can go to 12' from deck to deck without the need for an intermediate platform. Section 311?? Of the irc.
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