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  1. #1
    TIM MASTICK's Avatar
    TIM MASTICK Guest

    Default Maximum step down for a french door

    We have an outswinging french door with a 6" step and was told this can be no more than 1 1/2" step down. I just wanted to clarify before I rip out the door and have it swing inward. This door goes out to a patio and the other door in the room goes to the garage. This door is also the only one on this floor that takes you outside of the home without going up a flight of stairs.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,828

    Default Re: Maximum step down for a french door

    This should help

    From the 2006 IRC.
    R311.4.3 Landings at doors.
    There shall be a floor or landing
    on each side of each exterior door. The floor or landing
    at the exterior door shall not be more than 1.5 inches (38
    mm) lower than the top of the threshold. The landing shall
    be permitted to have a slope not to exceed 0.25 unit vertical
    in 12 units horizontal (2-percent).

    Exceptions:
    1. Where a stairway of two or fewer risers is located
    on the exterior side of a door, other than the
    required exit door, a landing is not required for the
    exterior side of the door provided the door, other
    than an exterior storm or screen door does not
    swing over the stairway.
    2. The exterior landing at an exterior doorway shall
    not be more than 7
    3/4 inches (196 mm) below the
    top of the threshold, provided the door, other than
    an exterior storm or screen door does not swing
    over the landing.
    3. The height of floors at exterior doors other than the
    exit door required by Section R311.4.1 shall not be
    more than 7
    3/4 inches (186 mm) lower than the top
    of the threshold.
    The width of each landing shall not be less than the door
    served. Every landing shall have a minimum dimension of

    36 inches (914 mm) measured in the direction of travel.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
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    3,747

    Default Re: Maximum step down for a french door

    That is correct.
    The landing on an outswing door can be no greater than 1.5 inches below the threshold.
    I have included the code that addresses this.

    R311.4.3 Landings at doors.
    There shall be a floor or landing
    on each side of each exterior door. The floor or landing
    at the exterior door shall not be more than 1.5 inches (38
    mm) lower than the top of the threshold. The landing shall
    be permitted to have a slope not to exceed 0.25 unit vertical
    in 12 units horizontal (2-percent).

    Exceptions:

    1. Where a stairway of two or fewer risers is located
    on the exterior side of a door, other than the
    required exit door, a landing is not required for the
    exterior side of the door provided the door, other
    than an exterior storm or screen door does not
    swing over the stairway.
    2. The exterior landing at an exterior doorway shall
    not be more than 7
    3/4 inches (196 mm) below the
    top of the threshold, provided the door, other than
    an exterior storm or screen door does not swing
    over the landing.
    3. The height of floors at exterior doors other than the
    exit door required by Section R311.4.1 shall not be
    more than 7
    3/4 inches (186 mm) lower than the top
    of the threshold.
    The width of each landing shall not be less than the door
    served. Every landing shall have a minimum dimension of

    36 inches (914 mm) measured in the direction of travel.


    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  4. #4
    Bob Spermo's Avatar
    Bob Spermo Guest

    Default Re: Maximum step down for a french door

    Tim,

    Could you build a platform on top of the patio to reduce the drop? Of course the platform would have to be big enough to accomodate the outswing door.


  5. #5
    TIM MASTICK's Avatar
    TIM MASTICK Guest

    Default Re: Maximum step down for a french door

    Thanks so much for the info...


  6. #6
    TIM MASTICK's Avatar
    TIM MASTICK Guest

    Default Re: Maximum step down for a french door

    A platform was my 1st thought until I layed it out. It was so big it impeded the walkway so that is out. Just going to have to flip the door.....


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
    3,747

    Default Re: Maximum step down for a french door

    If you flip the door so that it opens inward, be sure that the door does not block a light switch.


    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  8. #8
    TIM MASTICK's Avatar
    TIM MASTICK Guest

    Default Re: Maximum step down for a french door

    thanks for the heads up


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Maximum step down for a french door

    Quote Originally Posted by TIM MASTICK View Post
    A platform was my 1st thought until I layed it out. It was so big it impeded the walkway so that is out. Just going to have to flip the door.....
    Make sure the door is suitable to be switched around like that - most exterior doors are not suitable to just turn around and use backward - the door, weather strip, and threshold are designed to be installed with the exterior side facing the exterior. Switching the door around will likely defeat all those weather resisting features, besides, doors are rated for given wind pressures and if the door is installed backward there is no rating.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
    TIM MASTICK's Avatar
    TIM MASTICK Guest

    Default Re: Maximum step down for a french door

    Didnt even think of that thanks


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    OH
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    2

    Default Re: Maximum step down for a french door

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    That is correct.
    The landing on an outswing door can be no greater than 1.5 inches below the threshold.
    I have included the code that addresses this.

    R311.4.3 Landings at doors.
    There shall be a floor or landing
    on each side of each exterior door. The floor or landing
    at the exterior door shall not be more than 1.5 inches (38
    mm) lower than the top of the threshold. The landing shall
    be permitted to have a slope not to exceed 0.25 unit vertical
    in 12 units horizontal (2-percent).

    Exceptions:

    1. Where a stairway of two or fewer risers is located
    on the exterior side of a door, other than the
    required exit door, a landing is not required for the
    exterior side of the door provided the door, other
    than an exterior storm or screen door does not
    swing over the stairway.
    2. The exterior landing at an exterior doorway shall
    not be more than 7
    3/4 inches (196 mm) below the
    top of the threshold, provided the door, other than
    an exterior storm or screen door does not swing
    over the landing.
    3. The height of floors at exterior doors other than the
    exit door required by Section R311.4.1 shall not be
    more than 7
    3/4 inches (186 mm) lower than the top
    of the threshold.
    The width of each landing shall not be less than the door
    served. Every landing shall have a minimum dimension of

    36 inches (914 mm) measured in the direction of travel.
    Hello, I'm planning a project that requires a step down out of a french door (swings inward) and was wondering what your opinion was on the "comfortable" distance to step down would be? I understand it can't be more than 7 3/4", it won't be, as it will only be 2 steps down to grade level, which is only 1'7" to the bottom of the threshold. As you see in the photo, I'm imagining a 4" drop to the landing. What are your thoughts?
    Thanks!
    Beth

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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Maximum step down for a french door

    The "comfortable" riser height varies from person to person.

    Your drawing shows 3 risers, all 3 risers need to be the same, with a maximum difference of 3/8" between the tallest riser and the shortest riser.

    Also, the top landing is shown radiused and needs to be, minimum, the width to the door x 3 feet ... then it can be radiused for the semi-cirular look you drew.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    OH
    Posts
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    Default Re: Maximum step down for a french door

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The "comfortable" riser height varies from person to person.

    Your drawing shows 3 risers, all 3 risers need to be the same, with a maximum difference of 3/8" between the tallest riser and the shortest riser.

    Also, the top landing is shown radiused and needs to be, minimum, the width to the door x 3 feet ... then it can be radiused for the semi-cirular look you drew.
    Thanks for the quick response! I had a few questions about your answer... Are you referring to the "3rd" riser as what is actually the face of the house below the threshold? I don't believe it is high enough off the ground (soon to be patio) for 3 outside steps. Also, the width of the door is 6'4", I had the depth of the tread at its widest point as 36", is that supposed to be 38" because of the width? Our frost line is 32" so we will probably dig footers with rebar added for the steps. Is all this decision making about the riser heights technically finalized after the footings and stone are in?
    Thanks Again!
    Beth


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    27,246

    Default Re: Maximum step down for a french door

    Quote Originally Posted by Beth Wilson View Post
    Are you referring to the "3rd" riser as what is actually the face of the house below the threshold?
    Yes.

    I don't believe it is high enough off the ground (soon to be patio) for 3 outside steps.
    The maximum for each riser is 7-3/4".

    If the height is greater than 7-3/4", a minimum of two risers is required.

    If over 15-1/2", then a minimum of three risers is required.

    Every increment over a multiple of 7-3/4" means another riser is required.

    Divide the total height in inches by 7.75, ANY amount over a whole number means you go to the next higher whole number. Divide the total height by that number (the number of risers) and you get the riser height of each riser.

    Also, the width of the door is 6'4", I had the depth of the tread at its widest point as 36", is that supposed to be 38" because of the width?
    Go a minimum of 36" out perpendicular from each side of the door width - that is the required minimum landing size.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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