Building Codes and Inspections/sliding glass doors


I live in NJ and was wondering when installing sliding glass doors off a dining room,can you just build steps to go up and down to the backyard with handrails or do you have to have a platform/deck of a certain size that extends out and then put in the steps and handrails. Thank you

At doors other than the required exit door from your dwelling, you're looking at a maximum step down of 7-3/4" to a minimum 36" x 36" landing, then stairs down from there to grade.  The International Residential Code exempts the landing requirement if there are 2 or fewer risers on the stairs down from the door to grade. If you decide to go with French doors where both side can open, then the landing need to be as wide as the operable doors, generally 3' x 6'.

What you need to do is contact the building official of the municipality in which the building is located and confirm this with them.  There can be differences between the year editions and the code used there, and you want to be sure there are no local amendments to the code that you need to be aware of.

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Keith Fuller


I'm an ICC Certified Master Code Professional fielding general building code questions. My experience has been heavy in fire related issues.


I've been employed since 1985 as an inspector and plan reviewer, and am a municipal Assistant Building Official and Deputy fire Marshal. I've had fire service experience since 1972, having served as a three time Fire Chief and Fire Marshal in years past. The increasing workload, mandatory certifications, and continuing education requirements in recent years have caused me to concentrate my efforts on code related issues. I hold national fire service certifications as well.

ICC Master Code Professional

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