Interior stairway residential code question


Old 02-04-18, 02:55 PM
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Interior stairway residential code question

I have a split level home, and doing some remodeling on the main level. My stairway going upstairs has a wall and railing on the left side that's to code, and is not changing. The right side has a builtin bookcase that enclosed the first 3 steps, then a wall for the remaining steps. The bookcase was falling apart, and I took it out so now I have the right side of the first 3 treads open. Therefore someone could step off the right side of the third tread onto the main level.

If we keep this open, do we need a banister and rail on that side, and would that rail need to be continuous to the top to meet the handrail continuity code? How many open treads are permitted? I'm not finding the code that covers this aside from 4 risers or more requiring a handrail.
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Old 02-04-18, 09:09 PM
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A picture would really help with the advice.

R311.7.8 Handrails. Handrails shall be provided on at least one side of each continuous run of treads or flight with four or more risers.

So do you already have a continuous handrail on one side?

And on the open side, is there the potential for a fall of 30" or more within 36" of the open edge? (Requiring a guardrail)

Last edited by XSleeper; 02-04-18 at 09:26 PM.
Old 02-05-18, 10:48 AM
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The below quote is just to provide you with info on child safety, it may or may not apply:

"Baluster Spacing (Sphere Rule): The general rule is to install balusters and newel posts between the handrail and flooring materials so that a 4” sphere (the head of an infant) cannot pass through.
With the decrease from 6" to 4" in the Sphere Rule, many installations of two balusters per tread will not pass the new, stricter building codes. When the 4" Sphere Rule is combined with the new 10" Tread Run Rule, most stair installations will require three balusters per tread".
Old 02-12-18, 10:20 PM
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Thanks for the guidance!
Finally getting back to this after the flu. Yes continuous handrail on opposite side. Exposed/free edge is 24 inches from floor. Looks like no rail on the open side is needed.
I'll get some pics up on it.
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