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  1. #1
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    Default Exterior Door - Internal Step(s)

    Hi all,

    Location: California.

    Building type: single occupancy, residential.

    What are the requirements for an enclosed porch (non-living space), with a locking screen door (opening outwards), and an internal step down from the threshold of about 11"? Of course, it will require an intermediate step down to the interior, but is a landing required?

    Additional information: there is access from the house to the porch, and a second exit from the porch to the exterior.

    Thanks,

    Colin.

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  2. #2
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Exterior Door - Internal Step(s)

    The minimum recommended stair landing length is 36" (or a length and width sufficiently greater than the swing of the door if a wider door is present). This stairway landing or platform dimension is often also expressed as "a minimum of 36-inches in the direction of travel. But note that not all model building codes explicitly require the 36" dimension and instead commonly state that in the direction of travel the landing dimension shall be no less than the width of the stairway.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Exterior Door - Internal Step(s)

    Hi Billy,

    Does this apply to a porch door? The main door to the house is not within the porch, but the porch does contain the second exit from the house. The problem is that this second exit is near the porch door I mentioned, but at a lower level (spit-level house - the second exit is probably about 5" lower than the porch door, with its own step down to the porch - approx 6"). I am pretty sure there is not enough space to allow for a 36" landing for the porch and a 36" landing from second exit door (the two doors are at right-angles to each other).

    If it is not clear from my initial post, the porch door does not open inwards over the internal step of the porch; the door opens outwards.

    It will be tight (if not impossible) to accommodate a 3' landing for each door. Is there a requirement for the landing to be wider than than the door opening?

    I'll try to visit the property today to take further measurements and some photographs.

    Thanks.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Exterior Door - Internal Step(s)

    Please post the pictures.

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Exterior Door - Internal Step(s)

    Not every door needs a 36" landing, and there are different requirements for egress doors vs. other doors. IRC R311.3.1, R311.3.2, R311.3.3, R311.4 and R311.7.5 are the important sections in this regard.

    I'm having a hard time picturing what you're saying, but here's what I think is happening.

    From the house to the enclosed porch there is an approximately 6" step down from the threshold of that door. The floor in this case provides a suitable landing for this exit if this door swings inward to the dwelling. This is provided for in the exception in R311.3.1.

    From the porch to the exterior is a different question. If this is part of the required egress path then it may be somewhat problematic. You say it's a screen door, which means the exception provided by R311.3.3 might apply and allow that door to swing over stairs. The wording for R311.4 is interesting, because it implies an exception to R311.2, which is to say if there is not an egress door in compliance with R311.2 then egress stairs in accordance with R311.7 are suitable. Except I'm not entirely sure this section is truly applicable to your situation.

    What is the exterior grade relative to the enclosed porch floor? Is the floor of the porch below grade? As Billy mentioned, pictures sure would help.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Exterior Door - Internal Step(s)

    I'm trying to wrap my head around what an "internal step" is ...

    I've attached a drawing, is an internal step anything like I've drawn?

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Exterior Door - Internal Step(s)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I'm trying to wrap my head around what an "internal step" is ...

    I've attached a drawing, is an internal step anything like I've drawn?
    Hi,

    Sorry, I meant interior step. When entering the porch, there is an 11" step down. The porch door (it is just a screen door) swings out from the porch.

    I will visit the property tomorrow and will take some measurements and photographs.

    Thanks.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Exterior Door - Internal Step(s)

    I note your stated location is "California". California overall, and its home-rule modifications can speak specifically to requirements in this topic. Your best, and specific, resources, would be your local AHJ & fire official/authority offices.

    Do any of the EEROs open to the enclosed porch? How large (sq. ft.) is the residence/ configuragion of the floor plan i.e. does it require more than one egress exit (no pathway via kitchen, garage, bath, etc.each occupied area direct to egress without obstruction). Finished grade level beyond this porch screen door is...?

    The entire stairway not just individual flights of stair(s) must meet continuity requirements for egress, only the door itself if not required as a primary exit may be less in width. If EERO access i.e. porch is access & escape pathway, must still be maintained.

    I'm picking up that the off-the-porch door-to-the-outdoors threshold is 11" above this landing and 7" above the "porch" (or covered/enclosed patio) floor, which makes one wonder if same is opening to an upsloping yard (hillside). More appropriate to alter same for proper drainage, and grade/slope away from home & patio for egress, stability, drainage and bring that patio door opening down where it should be and adjust finish grade outside same to accomodate the means of egress requirements.

    Unless the door from home is overly tall, even with door from home opening out to enclosed porch or patio, there would be a headroom compromise without there being a minimum 36" deep {and as wide as that riser (step) or 36" wide whichever is greater} landing ahead of the first riser inside the passageway door between the occupied enclosed porch or patio and the residence. A flight of stairs always start at the bottom (going up), means of egress and EERO applications are both exit/escape and egress/rescue/entry.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 04-17-2013 at 10:07 AM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Exterior Door - Internal Step(s)

    Hi all,

    I took some photos, but there was quite a lot of stuff in the way for clear shot. I can upload one if my plan is not clear enough. The house is about 800 sq ft (not including porch) and single story.

    Porch-Step-3.jpg

    I'd appreciate your input about how to construct a step down into the porch from outside. At present, there is an 11.5" drop from the outside, and an 8" drop from the living room (which I understand is acceptable).

    I suppose I might construct an 8" platform (to living room height) to cover both doors, but I hope to avoid this if possible.

    Thanks,

    Colin.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Exterior Door - Internal Step(s)

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin M. View Post
    I'd appreciate your input about how to construct a step down into the porch from outside. At present, there is an 11.5" drop from the outside, and an 8" drop from the living room (which I understand is acceptable).

    I suppose I might construct an 8" platform (to living room height) to cover both doors, but I hope to avoid this if possible.
    This is what I see (attached), am I correct or incorrect?

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Exterior Door - Internal Step(s)

    Hi Jerry,

    Thank you for your reply.

    Yes that's it. I thought it might require a platform along the lines you have suggested. You appear to suggest bisecting the height of the living room step in two. Is this correct? Actually, that step also has a threshold strip about 1" high. Would I include this or ignore the strip when dividing the height of the step in two?

    I don't think I can have the platform go around the boat winch. Would I simply cut short the platform from that part of the porch, or would I have to add a barrier/rail between the platform and winch?

    Thanks,

    Colin.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Exterior Door - Internal Step(s)

    Doors are not to open to a set of stairs A landing is needed and width does not have to be wider than the door does not matter if it is conditioned living space


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Exterior Door - Internal Step(s)

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin M. View Post
    You appear to suggest bisecting the height of the living room step in two. Is this correct?
    That is correct.

    Actually, that step also has a threshold strip about 1" high. Would I include this or ignore the strip when dividing the height of the step in two?
    Typically, and depending on the height of the threshold, you would ignore the threshold.

    I don't think I can have the platform go around the boat winch. Would I simply cut short the platform from that part of the porch,
    Cut the platform short, about where I put the " 36" minimum " should work.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by frazier jeffery View Post
    Doors are not to open to a set of stairs
    Depends.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Default Re: Exterior Door - Internal Step(s)

    Hi Jerry,

    Thank you for your reply and clarifications to my questions. You (and the others) have been very helpful.

    Colin.


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