How Many Stairs In A Flight?

Our life has become so easy with elevators and escalators now. But ever wondered how troublesome it was to get on top of high buildings in the past. Even now world’s tall buildings have stairs as the primary way to get on the upper floors. Sometimes it feels like it’s taking ages to get on the upper stores. The stairs seem endless. Then this thought may come to your mind how many stairs in a flight. To your surprise, that’s way less than you might be thinking. So here is a detailed article about the stairs in flight and according to the types.

Definition of a Flight in Stairs

When a set of stairs rise and continues to go without any landing surface or any obstacle, then it’s called a Flight in Stairs. The interesting fact is the size and gaps must be equal regardless of the number of steps. Only this feature in a set of stairs is marked as flight in stairs. 

Length of a flight means the total length of stairs without the landing surface. Usually, a flight has 12 to 14 steps on average, but there is no maximum or minimum if that is private property. And you can choose the design of your flight in stairs; it can be straight, spiral or whatever you wish. The only thing that matters all the steps are uniformly set in “rise” and “tread.”

Number of Steps in a Flight of Stairs 

The number of steps in a flight of stairs depends on various things. You will have to follow the rules of the government to make your house. And especially following the fire escape guidelines for the staircase.

Also, the location of stairs and height of ceiling get into the count. Suppose you make a straight flight of stairs that are going to be fewer in steps than curved. And landing will make the flight shorter in theory.

Let’s have some examples of how many steps you can keep in a flight according to IRC.

If your home is 8 feet high ceiling, then you may have 12 – 14 steps. If you have a 9 feet ceiling, you should have 15 – 16 steps, and for 10 feet ceiling, 17 – 19 steps. 

8’ Ceiling Flight of Stairs

If you have an 8 feet height ceiling, you will have a 10″ joist. That makes it 8′ 10″ in the total height of the flight. 

IRC allows a maximum of 7 ¾”  rise in each step. So that is 7.75 inches now the total height is 106 inches from bottom to ceiling. 106/7.75 is 13.7 that is near 14. So if you got an 8’ high ceiling flight of stairs must have 14 steps.

9’ Ceiling Flight of Stairs

On a 9′ ceiling home, you will have a 118″ rise for flight. This is including the joist and subfloor.

Taking the standard rise, you can have 118/7 ¾ or 7.75 that is somewhere 15.2. Now, if you think that you will make 15 or fewer steps for a 9′ ceiling, then you are miscalculating. Because if you take 15 steps, you will be short of 4 inches between the last and upper floors.

So you have to make 16 steps to be on the safer side. And to measure the rise of each step, take into account the 118″ and divide by 16. Then you will have 7.4 inches of rising in steps. 

10’ Ceiling Flight of Stairs

The measurement is also the same in the 10 ceiling homes. The joist remaining 10″ and ¾” of subfloors the total rise is 130″. 130 divide by 7.75 is 16.8, and that’s around 17. So you get the idea that you will need a minimum of 17 steps for a 10′ ceiling house.

But you will have to do some simple math. 130/17 is 7.7″, so that’s the rise you are looking for in your flight of stairs.

Minimum Numbers of Stairs in a Flight

A flight in stairs means the continuous rise of steps without any wide landing surface. And the building code doesn’t say what is the minimum. However, you can easily figure it out with the measurement of steps. And the height of the ceiling.

Here is a table of the maximum and minimum rise and tread of steps:

Min rise (inches)Max rise (inches)Min tread (inches)Max tread (inches)
Private stair47.75911.8
Utility stair47.49.815
General access stair46.79.815


Taking the safest maximum size, 7.75, we can determine the minimum number of stairs in a safe flight. IRC says 12 feet is the maximum safe vertical rise between two floors. So when you are making a home, you cannot go over that limit. 

Let’s try to figure out the minimum number of stairs using these metrics. 12 feet is 144″ inches. And the maximum rise is 7.75. Dividing 144 by 7.75, we get 18.5, so we can safely say it’s 19.

That means you can set a minimum of 19 steps in a flight in a home, or it can be dangerous without any landing. If you have less than a 12′ high ceiling dividing that by 7.75 will give you the approximate number.

Maximum Number of Stairs in a Flight

To measure the maximum number, we will use the previous metrics here too. An authoritative minimum riser is 4″ inches. Anything less than that is hazardous.

The maximum vertical rise allowed is 12′, which is 144″ in inches. Taking that 144 and divide by 4, we get 36. So, no matter which type of stairs you make, the maximum safe number of steps is 36. 


We hope that you got the idea of how many stairs in a flight. Sometimes we have to make stairs for our private property and general purpose in Banks or other official buildings. So keep track of that when you make a new home to be on the safe side. Also, keeping everything symmetric makes a home eye-pleasing.

Meta: Ever wondered how many stairs in a flight? Get a hint in this article for a brain teaser treat for yourself.

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