How Many Steps in a Flight of Stairs?

If you are replacing a staircase in your home or you’re involved in creating a new staircase, then you will need to know how many steps are in a flight of stairs. As with most elements of property building, there are building rules and regulations that need to be followed, and this will largely dictate how many stairs you can have in a single staircase.

Other factors that will affect your decision include the height of your ceilings, the height of each riser, and the depth of the stair treads. Here, we look at the rules surrounding the number of steps in a flight or stairs and explore the most common measurements and dimensions for staircases.

The average flight of stairs in a residential property will have between 10 and 18 steps, though this number can vary depending on various factors. The building regulations for stairs will be different from one state to the next and one country to the next, but generally, residential properties have much less stringent codes to follow regarding stairs compared with commercial or public buildings.

For private staircases, the maximum amount of steps most building codes allow in a single staircase is 36, though most homes will not have anywhere near this many. For utility stairs, the maximum number of steps in a staircase is 16, and for a fire exit, the maximum number of stairs is 12.

How Many Steps in Private Staircases?

How Many Steps in Private Staircases

If you are building a staircase for your home, then you are limited by building codes and regulations when it comes to how many stairs you can have on each flight. Fortunately, building codes regarding stairs for private residences are usually quite generous, and most will allow up to 36 steps per flight of stairs.

This is far more than most private residences need, and the average amount of steps you’ll find per flight in a modern home is between 10 and 16.

The height of your ceilings will largely determine the number of steps you have, as this will be the distance from one floor to the floor above. You’ll then have to factor in the size of your treads and risers, giving you the number of steps you can fit into the space.

How Many Steps in Public Staircases?

How Many Steps in Public Staircases

According to most building regulations, public staircases should have no more than 16 steps in each flight. If the flight has a fire exit, the maximum number of steps should be 12 or 16 in exceptional circumstances. Bear in mind when designing stairs for public spaces that a large number of stairs can present a safety hazard.

People may get tired after walking up many stairs without a break, which could cause them to become unsteady. Some people may also feel disorientated after climbing a large number of stairs. This is why it’s crucial to think about how your stair design will affect the users, as well as take building codes into account.

Size of Treads and Risers on Staircase

Stair Tread Size

The size of treads and risers on stairs will play a big role in determining how many steps you can fit into a single flight of stairs. These parts of a staircase also need to follow building codes in both private and public buildings. The stair tread is the part of the step that your foot will tread on when walking up and down a staircase. The depth of each stair tread must be the same so as not to confuse anyone walking on the stairs and cause accidents.

Most residential building codes dictate that stair treads should measure between 9 and 11 inches in depth or between 22 and 28 cm. This will be big enough to accommodate the main portion of a person’s foot sole to give them stability when using the staircase while small enough to accommodate a natural stride.

The average depth of a stair tread in private homes is 10 inches. For public buildings, the regulations are slightly different. Stair treads, in this case, would need to have a depth of between 9 ¾ inches and 15 ¾ inches or between 25 and 40 cm. These stair tread measurements also apply to stairs with a fire escape.

Stair Riser Size

The stair riser is the vertical part of each step that holds the next tread in an elevated position. To find out how many stairs you can fit in a space, you would divide the height of the ceiling by the height of each riser.

For example, if you have an 8-foot ceiling which is equivalent to 96 inches, and each stair riser is 6 inches tall, then you could fit 16 steps in your flight of stairs because 16 multiplied by 6 is 96.

The minimum height of a stair riser in private homes is 6 inches or 15cm. The maximum height of a stair riser on a private staircase is 8 ½ inches or 22cm. For steps on a fire exit staircase, the maximum height should be 6 ¾ inches or 17cm.

Staircase Size According to Ceiling Height

Staircase Size According to Ceiling Height

The ceiling height in the room where you are installing a staircase is crucial to the number of steps you are going to need. A tall ceiling will mean more distance between one floor and the next floor, which in turn means you will need more steps to get from one floor to the next.

In a room with an 8-foot tall ceiling, the average number of steps in a single flight of stairs is between 13 and 15. In a room with a 9-foot ceiling, the average number of steps in a single flight of stairs is between 15 and 17.

In a room with a 10-foot ceiling, a single flight of stairs usually has between 17 and 19 steps. If you have more shallow risers, you will need more steps, whereas taller risers will equal fewer steps.