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How Much Floor Space Do Stairs Typically Take? (Explained)

Stairs are structured bridges that are used as a complete flight of steps between two floors. Stairs come in different designs and patterns to make the design look more attractive. Depending on the height, steps are added. 

In this article, we will discuss the space-taking capacity of stairs.

How much floor space do stairs typically take? 

Determining the number of spaces required to ascend from one floor to another, determines how much space a staircase will take up. Usually, a standard staircase requires around 30 square feet of space above and below the staircase. This is considered the most commonly used dimension for a staircase. 

Stairs are commonly used structural designs used to climb floors. The stairs consist of a different design and size based on the requirements that would be suitable to use inside the house. 

Sometimes the stairs are built considering the steps required to reach from one floor to another. That is why the correct measurement for the stairs is important. 

Stairs require certain designs and heights for each step to make them comfortable when climbing up them. Generally, each step of a staircase should be 7.75 inches high. 

So, staircases are easier to build than others because they require a very simple type of design, maybe for vertically climbing up the stairs. 

On the other hand, some stairs require difficult designs, such as they may be designed as twisted due to lack of space in certain areas. 

You can ensure that by creating a balance of comfort and efficiency that will satisfy the building code as well as enhance the space of the project. 

Since the staircase is a part of interior designing, you must make sure that you properly utilize the entire space you’re taking up to build a staircase. In front of the staircase, you must keep a landing area of a minimum of 36 inches on both sides. 

If there are 10 feet of total rise of the ceiling from the ground, then you must make sure to build the staircase keeping 9 feet ceiling height in mind. 

Depending on the space you might need to increase or decrease the number of risers you’ll be adding to the staircase.

What is the building code for stairs? 

The building code for the stairs varies in different regions. Building code means some basic rules and regulations that should be followed when building stairs. 

As per the International residential code, to comply with the stairway requirements, for a residential stair, the width should be at least 36 inches. In addition to that, the riser for the stairs, the code is up to 7.75 inches. 

Although having a 6-inch riser is the standard and most used in residential purposes. The trades should be at least 10 inches long. 

And one more thing that is to keep in mind is that the stairways must be installed at a minimum of 30 degrees and the slope can be a maximum of 50 degrees horizontal. 

Following these rules, regulations, and measurements will provide you with a perfect build for the staircase project. If there is a lack of space, they generally use spiral staircases, which are also perfect for linking two floors inside a tiny home.

How much room do you need for stairs to the second floor?

Depending on the design and space, the space-taking capacity of the stairs varies. Certain constants are needed to be taken into consideration when building a staircase. 

The first thing is the rise, also known as the staircase height used to determine whether a landing should be placed. Most of the stairs are 12 feet high. That means the stairs can rise to 12 feet vertically. 

The next thing that you need to keep in consideration is the staircase length. Standardized codes with requirements help develop the design of the staircase. Finally, the number of steps. 

When building a staircase, you need to keep in mind the ceiling and the length of the staircase. Depending on the length, the staircase uses at least 30 to 40 square feet of space.

How to plan stairs? 

Since the design of the staircase is very essential and complicated, a slight number of mistakes and the measurements and the calculation might cause the staircase to become difficult to implement in your project. 

Generally, it is recommended to keep a 30 square feet space for the staircase. You must also consider the design of the staircase based on the space. 

Depending on space, there are different types of designs available for the staircase, such as the twisted or spiraled. You need to make a plan to build a staircase inside the house. 

These things are to be kept in consideration when doing this. The following is a discussion about what to keep in mind when designing a staircase:

Measure the area, height:

You need to have a clear picture of the area where you will be setting up the staircase. 

In case of that, keep a proper measurement of that area. Measure the ceiling, floor, and length of the desired staircase. This will help you choose the right type of staircase for your project.

Calculate total steps of rising:

Once you have prepared the design, now it’s time to calculate the rise. If space is not an issue, then you can add as much as you can to make the staircase comfortable to use it. 

But in case you have a problem having space, you can simply increase the rise of the staircase and reduce steps.

Consider the design:

Now it’s time for the right type of design. The staircase can be designed in a different type of style. You can use a straight-line staircase, a spiral, or a twisted staircase. If there is a lack of space. This will make it look more attractive.

How to calculate the floor space needed to install a stairway? 

Calculating the floor space needed to design or install the stairway is important because it will help you to decide whether the stairway is suitable for the project or not. 

You might have to keep the height of the ceiling, the width of the staircase, and the height of the rise in mind. Considering all of that, you need to make a calculation on which specific part will be. 

The following is an instruction on how to calculate the floor space needed to install a stairway:  

Measure the distance: 

The first thing you need to do when calculating the floor space needed for a staircase is to measure the distance. It means you need to measure the floor at the bottom of the stair location to the floor at the top of the stair location. 

Calculate the height between the floors: 

Once you’re done measuring the distance you will be building the staircase. Now it’s time to calculate the height between the floors. Measure from the bottom of the floor to the ceiling of it. This will help you to calculate the rise. 

Divide the height by the number of rises: 

Once you are done measuring the height of the floors, now decide how many rises you want to add to the staircase. Adding more rise will help to make the staircase comfortable.

What is the maximum rise for a step? What is the minimal headspace required for stairs? 

The rise in the stairway is considered as the height of each step you take in the stairway. It means each time you step in the stairway, you will be climbing a certain height to reach the top level of the stairway. 

The height of the rise varies. Generally, the standard height of a rise is 6 inches. As per the IRC standard, a rise can be as high as 7.75 inches

The headspace of the stairway means when you reach the top of the stairway, you’ll need a certain place or certain height to hold yourself standing. 

So as per the IBC and OSHA standards, the minimum head clearance for the stairs is 80 inches or six feet 8 inches. It is measured vertically from the edge of the stair tread or the nosing.

What stairs take up the least space? 

Based on the designs, there are certain types of stairs available that take the least space. These stairs are mostly known for their compact structure for tight spaces. Although you will need 36 inches of space at the bottom of the stairs. 

And in the case of loft stairs, you will need 2-meter headroom. The following is a list of stairs that take up the least space:

  • Ship stairs
  • Spiral stairs
  • Alternating tread stairs
  • Crossover stairs

Final thoughts 

Generally, based on design and space, a standard staircase occupies 30 square feet of space above and below the staircase. This is the most used dimension for the stairs based on an 8-foot ceiling. In addition to that, the stairs require at least three feet of width.