Can You Place a Door at the Top of the Stairs?

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Can You Put a Door at the Top of the Stairs

People often worry about stairs, wondering if there is any way to insulate and keep them warm in winter. Of course, there is no problem placing a door at the top of the staircase.

It may not make your home look like a five-star hotel, but it will add value. This article will review the uses of having a door at the top of stairs. At the same time, the reason to have it and how to install or replace it on your staircase.

Yes, you can put a door at the top of another staircase. If the door swings over the stairs, you must have a platform at the top for security purposes. A landing is optional if the door swings into the bedroom or hallway at the top of the staircase.

Some might have differing views about considering a door at the top of the stairs. But there are other reasons why you should consider installing one. So, let’s look at the stages in installing one of them along the process.

Can You Place a Door at the Top of the Stairs?

In all seriousness, a door at the top of a staircase is acceptable.

To conform to safety regulations, a door installed at the top of the steps must open outward. You need to install a landing point at the peak if it swings opposite. In installing stairs, put a landing at the top. Since reaching the standard doorknob from the top of the stairs is inconvenient.

As you can see, the foyer is now the living room. When you wish to enter the bedroom, close the door so you can walk through it. There should be no trouble opening the door until it comes close to the lower ceiling.

The International Residential Code makes no mention of door swing direction. Yet, residential places in the province of Ontario have a statute that states:

An exit door can swing in the direction of egress when servicing a room with an occupancy of 60 people.

Before moving forward with this, there are three aspects to take into consideration.

  1. As a first step, you should see if the door won’t open and hit someone walking down the steps.
  2. Second, check that the door can open without hitting anything on the stairs. Before going ahead and doing that, there are some primary considerations to think about.
  3. Always ensure the front door isn’t blocking any walkways or creating any other hazard.

How Much Space Do You Need At The Top Of Stairs To Put A Door?

If the door does not swing out over the steps, it can be put right at the top of the stairs. The entry must have a landing beneath it to swing toward the steps. The distance between the lip of the dock and the doorsill on this landing should be at least 36 inches.

A bi-fold door stands in front of and pulls the knob to open. This causes the door to hinge and open in a manner that is parallel to the person who is pulling the knob. So while doing this, you are stationary without moving your legs in any direction.

Each door must have a childproof locking mechanism. It should be either for protecting one’s child or one’s privacy.

It is human nature to turn the door now and move simultaneously if it swings outward. But, when you stand over open stairs, you might risk creating a safety hazard.

Do You Need A Landing At The Top Of The Stairs?

Do You Need A Landing At The Top Of The Stairs

If the stairwell’s top door opens into the space above, you don’t need a landing. The landing must be at least 36 inches long if the door opens across the stairs. The landing must be more incredible if the door is more expansive than 36 inches.

You can think of a landing as the space between the bottom and top stairs. The landing denotes the change in level as one moves from the stairwell to the rest of the house. It also serves as a fall protection element.

Building Planning R311.4.3 (Door Landings)

Each outside door must have the floor or landing on both sides. Also, the floor or landing at the outer door must be no lower than 1.5 inches (38 mm) below the top of the threshold. 

The landing must have a slope of no more than 0.25 units in 12 units (2 percent).


1. A landing is optional when a stairway of two or fewer risers is set up on the outer side of a door. It is because the door does not cover the stairway.

2. The external landing at an outside doorway must not exceed 73/4 inches below the threshold (196 mm). Except if the door, other than an outdoor storm or screen door, swings over the landing.

3. According to R311.4.1, the floor height at exterior doors can’t be more than 73/4 inches lower than the threshold (186 mm).

4. Each landing must be at least as wide as the entrance it serves. Measured in the direction of travel, every landing must be at least 36 inches (914 mm) wide.

Building Planning R311.5.4 (Staircase Landings)

Each set of stairs must have a landing at the top and bottom.


A landing is unnecessary at the top of an interior floor of stairs. In the event of an enclosed garage and as long as a door does not swing over the stairs.

Can a Door Swing Over a Step?

First, swinging a door over a step is not a good idea.

The only reliable building code is IRC 311, which only covers exit points.

But if you install a door that opens over the steps, you must put a landing between the door and the top upper step. At least 36 inches of depth are necessary on this landing.

It gives you a safe place to stand while opening the door at the top of the stairs. As well as closing it behind you at the bottom is a stable place.

As you approach the top of the stairs, you push the door forward to match the acceleration of your ascent. And so when you open the door to go down the steps, you pull it back toward you. This is necessary, so you don’t have to worry about falling forward.

Is It Safe To Have a Door At The Top Of The Stairs?

Yes, placing a door at the top of the stairs is safe.

Staircases and landings demand dead space and are often overlooked in design. They can, but they serve storage capacity, comfortable hangouts, and central piece artwork.

The position at the top of the staircase draws a person’s attention to the bottom. So, if there is no door at the top of the stairs, you can make the place at the top a central point in your home.

Others also believe climbing from the ground to the first floor should be clockwise.

Keep in mind

Safety comes first, so keep your 36- 36 inches landing space free as you plan.

If you have a door at the end of the steps, be sure it can open completely. Also, ensure the pathway to the doorway is clear of any obstructions or dangerous objects.

What Do You Put At The Top Of A Staircase?  

At the top of the stairs, you may place a beautiful plant pot with shelving. You can also set a side table that brightens the space. It is also a means of providing storage for decorative goods.

  • If the space is small, an art piece such as wall paint will suffice. A wall with unique colors will improve the atmosphere without making it claustrophobic.
  • Additionally, you can also install shelves with precious books or special clippers. On either side of the window, try putting on photo gallery walls that give a unique touch to the interior.
  • As well as that, paint the wall behind the shelves with a unique bright color. Display a particular collection, such as first-edition books or porcelain figurines.
  • As you can see, adequate lighting is necessary to keep the room clear, open, and attractive. This is beneficial, especially from environmental or manmade light sources.
  •  Include a focal point at the top of the stairs, such as a gorgeous chair or a specialty exhibit on a bookshelf.

Keep in mind

Since stairwells tend to be dim, you may transform the area from a basic visual into a design feature. You can do this by installing appropriate lighting to illuminate your furnishings.

Can You Have a Door At The Bottom Of The Stairs?

Yes, you can build a door at the end of the stairs. 

Remember that national construction rules must be 36 inches from the bottom of your stairs (3 feet). This is especially necessary if it is right through your front door.

In rare cases, it’s unusual to find a door leading to the second level at the bottom of a first-floor home staircase.

If a stairway has a door at the top or bottom, it usually establishes a barrier. It usually serves as an aversive environment, such as an unfinished basement.

The Door at the Top of the Stairs Original Ideas

1. Sliding Doors

Sliding doors are great for the staircase – they save space and look good.

2. See-Through Doors

3.  Hidden Doors


Jaimee is an experienced writer, and Home Improvement is one of her favorite topics. Home improvement isn't just her niche; it's her passion. Jaimee's on a mission to empower readers to squeeze every drop of potential from their living spaces. Jaimee's not just your average writer—she's your go-to guide for all things home-related, ready to turn your house into the ultimate dream home. 🏡✍️🔧

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