Dutch type of door at top of stairs

I did an inspection 3 days ago, and found this oddity. My first reaction was that this is all wrong. I told my client that I don’t know if this is in violation of code or not, but that in my opinion, it could be a health/safety issue. We then joked about flipping over the door in the middle of the night and cartwheeling down the stairs. I haven’t found anything that specifies whether the door into the basement needs to be a full length door or not. Can you help give me some clarity on this? I’ve attached a picture of the door.

I’ve seen some people put those on basement stairs to keep their kids out. These were older homes that when you walked in the back door, you either went up a couple stairs to the kitchen or down the stairs to the basement. I don’t see a problem with it as long as they don’t swing over the stairs.

Thanks for your insight on this. The door does not swing over the stairs, but it did strike me as odd. The door appears to have been cut in half, and my client wanted to make sure of the code issue on this. However, I’m not able to locate anything specific. Maybe someone else has an idea on this. Until then, I’ll just put this under the “guess what I saw today” file, and tell her to replace the door if it is a concern.

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I don’t know of anything in the IRC that would deal with this issue.

I have one in my house (built in the 60’s) just as Bobby described. There is a top and bottom to it and they pin together so that it works just like a normal door. It works well to keep the kids up stairs, but allows the cat to jump over it and go into the basement. As long as they operate properly I don’t know why there would be any problems with them.

As long as the 1/2 door heighth was 36" ± I don’t see a problem with it.

Not on stairs but this home made Dutch Door had me lagging for a while.

I can’t find anything in the IRC that says a door to the basement is required. If there is one it has to meet certain requirements, but as to requiring one… I can’t find it. I think they’re usually installed because it’s often unheated space.

I guess technically this would serve a a guard and should be a minimum of 36" tall to avoid trip hazard.

Since the door is not required why is below 36" a trip hazard.
Have you ever tripped over a 34" wall ? :slight_smile:

That’s got me laughing pretty good!:slight_smile:

Thanks everyone for all of your ideas on this one. It’s nice to know that common sense still lives on in this world.

That’s the minimum height for a guardrail. If I were a building inspector and had any problem with this, that’s the only problem I can see.