Question about door at top of stairs

An entry-way into the house also provides the access to stairs to the basement. A bifold door was installed, but in reverse so that it hinges over the top step. This allowed for more room in the small entry-way. I had not seen this before and am mainly concerned for anyone who leaning on the door might cause it to open and possible injury occur. It would also open over a step…What do you think?

Does not seem like a concern to me ,but picture please.

It sounds like a fall hazard to me…

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).


  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 73/4 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 73/4 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.

R311.5.4 Landings for stairways.
There shall be a floor or landing at the top and bottom of each stairway.
Exception: A floor or landing is not required at the top of an interior flight of stairs,
including stairs in an enclosed garage, provided a door does not swing over the

That’s my thought as well Larry. Thanks

And just to add a little note to Larry’s post, the 36" is clear space when the door is in the open position. A picture would help. Please send if you got one.

I did not get the impression this was a exterior stairway.
Am I wrong or is this a stairway that is leading off a vestibule or foyer type area.?

if this is a bifold door, why is 36 inches required? The door is less than one quarter the size of a normal door when open?

I have one like that in my house. It extends 11 inches maximum over the first 10 inch tread when opened.

Interior stairway to basement from main floor. Reverse mounted bifold at top of stairs. Located within small entry-way with exterior side door. No pic. Door does not prevent someone from accidently putting weight against and the door would open. It wouldn’t matter where in the house this was found…

David, what type if any latching devise do you have installed to prevent the door from opening accidently? It would seen if a door is installed it should be secure…

A proper landing is required if door opens into the stairs which you say if does.

Thanks for the graphic Marcel. Care if I add it to my library? Looks like a NACHI graphic but not sure.

is that a bifold door?

The full arc of its swing shall be over a landing where a door swings towards a stair; in that case Gerald mentioned that the bifold doors hinges are over the stairs when opened.

Pic is from The Illustrated Home.

IMO you guys are off base.
The purpose or intent of needing one should be examined if no example really exists for a bi-fold door.

Reading the link from Inspect NY the purpose of a landing is to make sure you do not over step the top stair tread.

This could occur with a swing out door but not a side shoving bi-fold.
(conclusion) Landing is not needed.

If you have to open a “normal” door over stairs you have to take two steps backwards. Not so with a bi-fold.

Are you all assuming that the code also requires bi-fold and required egress doors to adhear to the same code?

Show me where they say that.

If not, quit making stuff up.

Hay Kelly, more conjecture on my part ??!!

Ya’ll quit bull ****ting me and show me the written facts.

Where is it required that a door must withstand an certain point impact load (like a staircase rail) for safety?

More conjecture here?

I’ll shut up when you come up with the facts…

I think this is what you are all talking about.



A Bi-Fold door one stands in front and pulls the knob to open in which the door hinges and opens in a side ways fashion, and while you are doing that, you are basically stationary without your legs moving in any direction.
The doors can be equiped with a safety locking device for either privacy or safety for a child.

A swinging door, it is common nature to turn the door know and walk at simaltanuously which is where the safety hazard is created when you find yourself over open stairs instead of a landing.

Give me a break, soon it will be a hazard to open a cupboard door without a safety net to keep a glass from falling out. :):wink:


Marcel, thank you for not making me take pictures of my house!

My bifold doors are four panels so yours are actually a greater hazard than mine! :slight_smile:

I open my doors 10 or 20 times a day, I have never felt a safety issue coming on!

I can differentiate Riser elevations with my toes that are less than 3/8 of an inch in variance (then I get out the supporting test equipment (a measuring tape)). I am quite aware of these safety concerns, but this is absolutely ridiculous!

Somebody showed me in writing where this is in fact even a code violation.

What is posted here about 32 inch doors is not the same thing.

Dave, that is my own house and been like that for 20 years, and not about to change it. Can’t anyways, that is the way it was when I bought the house.
Why is a two panel more dangerous than a four panel Dave?:slight_smile:

Four panels divided by 32 inches are smaller then two panels divided by 32 inches. Less swing over the stair tread.

Now this is if in fact these things are a safety hazard. This has yet to be determined however.

I don’t intend to change my door for anyone either!

If I were to identify it as a potential safety concern , I would definitely consider it. However, after 16 years I have not observed such an incident nor have I received any complaints from visitors to my house.

Dave, never heard of a 32" four panel bi-fold nor is it available in this area.
Brosco is a distributor over here and have no such size.
Four panel is usally 4’.
Curious as to how and why. :slight_smile: