Stairs with landings

Stairs with landings are very common when designing and building stairs. There are several reasons why you would need to add a landing, or series of landings, to your stair plan.

Deck with Landings
Deck stairs with landing

International Building Code states that a flight of stairs shall not have a vertical rise greater than 151 inches (3835 mm) between floors or landings.

Calculating Stairs with Landings

Sometimes the Total Height of your stairs exceeds the building code limitation and a landing is required.  Or you may want to break up a long run of stairs with a landing as a place to rest or take in a particular view of a room or outdoor scene before continuing on.

Stair Landings
Multi-Level Deck using stairs with landings - Fairfax Station, Virginia (1987)

There are also situations where the slope of the terrain changes from point to point and a series of level walkways will be required between runs of stairs.

In the following sections, I will explain both scenarios in more detail. Please note that this page assumes you already know how to layout and cut stair stringers. If you need a refresher, read the building stairs tutorial.

Scenario 1 - Stair landing between floors

In this scenario, our design requires access to be built from a first floor landing to a second floor landing. A mid level landing is required as per design specifications. The height of the second floor is 110 inches above the first floor. Enter this number into the stair calculator in the Total Rise field. Since the default values in the remaining input fields are ideal, we will leave them alone. Click Calculate Stairs.

Stair Calculator Results

Note that since there is a mid-level landing in this design, the Total Run results do not apply. The Total Run only applies to a single straight run of stairs.

The height of each step is 6 7/8 inches.  The mid-level landing counts as a step in this design. Both upper stair stringers and lower stair stringers have the same number of treads.

It doesn't have to be this way, you can place a landing anywhere along the stair run that serves your needs. You can move it to where you have one more step at the top and one less step at the bottom.

The height of the landing is determined by where it is located along the stair run. In this design, since it is half way from the top level, it is 8 steps high (8 x height of each step (6 7/8) equals 55 inches).

The horizontal positioning of the mid-level landing is determined by the number of treads on the stair run. In this case, it is 7 (7 x tread depth (10.5) equals 73.5 inches).

Stair Landing Detail

Build the landing at the specified height and distance and add the stringers as shown in the above drawing. For more information about building stairs with landings, visit building stairs and stair calculator.

Scenario 2 - Level landings (walkways) between stairs

In this scenario, the horizontal distance between the lower level (A) and the upper level (D) is far apart, making the tread depth in a typical stringer design, uncomfortable for walking and impractical to build.

Multi Level Stair Landings

The height between the lower slab/landing (A) and the upper deck/landing (D) is 58 inches. Enter this number in the Total Rise field. Accept the other default input values and press Calculate Stairs.

Stair Calculator Results

The results from the stair calculator indicates that the typical step height is 7 1/4 inches, and a total number of 8 steps (risers). In the diagram shown above, you may have noticed that the landing is in the middle, and that the height between the lower level (A) and (C) is the same between (C) and (D).

You could have placed the mid-level landing (C) at the same level as the third step, leaving 5 steps between (C) and (D). It all depends on your terrain and design requirements.

If you have any questions about building stairs with landings, don't hesitate to contact us for more information.

** Note: Building Code information was obtained from the 2018 International Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings - Section 311 - MEANS OF EGRESS.

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