Safe stairs: din rules and tips for planning

Used daily, the safety of a staircase is especially important. Stairs can be a source of danger and accidents not only for children and elderly people. A comfortable step size, ergonomic handrails, slip resistance and good lighting are the basics for a safe staircase that all family members can use safely.

Here we present an overview of the most important DIN rules and requirements for safe stairs according to DIN 18065.

Learn more in this article:

  1. Legal basics when planning staircases
  2. Stair width and stair rise
  3. Staircase forms
  4. Rail
  5. Child safety and anti-slip
  6. Exposure and lighting

Legal principles in the design of stairs

The most comprehensive basic work on staircase construction is the DIN 18065, in which, for example, the size of the steps or the height of the banister is regulated. It formulates the accepted rules of engineering and is considered the basis for the provisions of state building codes. For building owners, however, the only legal requirements are those specified in the applicable State building code anchored.

Legislation differentiates between public and private spaces: for example, there are more specifications for stairs in apartment buildings than for private spaces, as in a single-family home. In order to be sufficiently safe, a staircase should also meet the minimum dimensions of DIN 18065 in single-family houses.

Necessary and non-necessary stairs

Another distinction in the building code is between two basic types of stairs: necessary and non-necessary:

  • Every staircase that provides access to a residential floor – i.e. including a newly converted attic floor – is necessary.
  • Stairs leading to an attic used only for storage, on the other hand, are not required. If a storey is already reached by a necessary staircase, any additional staircase is considered to be a not necessary.

For necessary stairs, strict rules apply according to DIN 18065, the dimensions of the steps as well as the gradient must be within a certain range. One folding staircase is allowed only for the development of unused attics in a one- or two-family house.

And also for so-called Space-saving stairs, For staircases that are often used to access a residential gallery or an inhabited attic, the minimum dimensions for rise, step width and depth are as follows.


Our overview Roof conversion: planning the staircase helps with the planning of a staircase into the attic: What are the standard dimensions and rules, how do I plan the ceiling breakthrough and which staircase form comes into question??

Stair width and stair rise

By definition, an uninterrupted sequence of at least three steps is a staircase. Here are the most important DIN rules for the width of the stairs, the rise and the tread.

  • For stairs required by building law in residential buildings with a maximum of two apartments, the stair width must be at least 80 cm are.
  • Better still are 90 or 100 cm, so that even bulky objects can be transported without problems.

Stair rise: Rules according to DIN 18065

  • The stair rise is calculated with the help of the so-called Step size rule planned: 2 s (stair rise) + a (stair tread) = step dimension (590 to 650 millimeters). The slope may be 140 to a maximum of 200 millimeters.
  • Additionally there is a Safety formula, oriented to the safe tread area when descending a staircase. It is: a + s = 460 mm and should prevent too small tread widths.
  • Another rule is the so-called Convenience rule for a pleasant walkability of stairs. It reads: a – s = 120 mm.

Both rules are fulfilled with a rise ratio of 170 mm rise height to 290 mm step depth.

It is important in staircase construction that the steps all the same height have. At the beginning and end of the stairs, therefore, the floor structure with screed, the construction height for any underfloor heating and the floor covering must be taken into account accordingly.

Staircase forms

Turning landings, which interrupt the staircase after a number of steps, provide space for safe resting and make walking easier.

Safety starts with the stair layout: Falls often happen at the beginning of the (downward) walk and even more often at its end, just before the lower floor level is reached.

Next to straight stairs are sufficiently wide, spiral staircases are also easy to walk on and are most often used in single-family houses.

For the development of a newly converted attic, custom-fit solutions are particularly in demand. The staircase should be comfortable to walk on and at the same time fit harmoniously into the living space. An elegant way are spiral staircases.

Particularly space-saving variants are Spiral staircases or. spiral staircases: However, it is precisely these that are the most difficult to climb due to the extremely narrow tapered stair treads towards the stair eye. Under no circumstances should spiral and spiral staircases be planned too narrowly. In addition, you should ensure that the steps are evenly spaced to avoid tripping hazards.


Railings offer more safety when climbing stairs, not only for children and the elderly. Especially going down the stairs is made much easier by a handrail. It should be from the beginning to the end of the flight of stairs Continuous its.

If you even want to install a second handrail on the stairs for adults with walking difficulties or elderly people, then according to DIN 18065 a Handrail height from 80 to 90 cm be chosen. It is particularly easy to grip and ideal for support while walking.

Are stairs without handrails permissible?

If you do not want to install a banister for design reasons and prefer it to be light and airy, you can also choose a glass wall as a fall protection.

In modern single-family homes, stairs without railings are increasingly being planned and installed for design reasons. They should look airy, light and elegant. But is a staircase without fall protection allowed at all?

While handrails on both sides are required for stairs with more than three steps in public areas, there are no generally applicable rules for architects, staircase builders and manufacturers when planning staircases in private buildings in this respect. The state building codes do not allow for vertical braces when it comes to railings or. Handrail allows certain leeway, which varies from country to country. If you want to do everything right with your staircase, it makes sense to check the state building code that applies to you before building a new staircase or remodeling an existing one. Local building authorities provide information on this topic.

If owners choose not to use fall protection on their private stairways, however, they must be aware of the risk that they may be held liable in the event of an injury. For reasons of accident safety, it is therefore advisable to install a fall protection should be installed in any case.

However, security is not only provided by a railing with handrail. Alternatives: A fall protection also looks airy as a rope bracing, a close-meshed net or a satinized or softly colored glass wall.

Child safety and slip hazard

For child-proof stairs, railings should be 90 cm high and the distance between the bars should be no more than 12 cm.

The legislator prescribes in some state building codes special rules for the "presence of children. Special consideration is given to the age group up to five years of age of children, who still need to be specially protected from dangers such as climbing over railings or falling through openings on stairs.

The most important rules:

  • Handrails should be as low as Height of 90 cm are installed.
  • The distance between the bars should be not more than 12 cm amount. Even a child’s head will not fit through.
  • Vertical bracing that invites climbing should be avoided.
  • An additional handrail set low on stairs ensures the safety of young children who do not reach the normal height of the handrail. Also a smaller diameter for the children’s grab rail fits better in a small hand.

Child safety gates, safety gates and safety nets prevent small children from falling down stairs.

The clear distance between two steps should also be no more than 12 cm for open staircases. If, however, the staircase has a greater distance for constructional reasons Child safety rails, Be fitted with so-called "building law strips" – these are bars placed under the steps.

Stable Child safety rails or child safety gates installed in front of stairways provide safe protection against falls. Their height must be at least 90 cm and they must be able to be locked so that children cannot open them alone, while adults can open them with one hand.

Also Anti-slip coating of the stairs makes sense – not only in terms of child safety. From anti-slip coatings to stick-on anti-slip strips to stair foils to step carpeting, there are very different options that also vary in effort and price.
Slip-resistant paints are a simple solution, but they must be applied in the workshop before the staircase is installed. Stairs can be retrofitted with nonslip coatings (z.B. of stair masters) are made safe for walking. They are suitable for painted and oiled stairs made of wood as well as for stone and granite. This almost transparent anti-slip coating can be applied at the factory if desired, or later by the installer. If you are a little talented with your hands, you can also do it yourself.

Exposure and lighting

Orientation or marker lights at foot level should be installed approximately every three steps.

Not only at night, but also during the day and at dusk, all areas of a staircase should be well lit. Each step edge must be clearly visible, even at the beginning and end of the stair run. Daylight and well-placed lights provide brightness on stairs.

  • Light switch must be placed at the beginning and end of the staircase and be easily accessible. Motion Detectors, that automatically set the lighting in motion can be practical.
  • For a uniform staircase lighting is suitable Ceiling or wall lights. As general lighting, they need to be set so that they shine down from the top landing of the stairs, provide short, soft shadows, and clearly set the steps apart from each other.
  • Another option are built-in Orientation or marker lights at foot level. A light should be installed approximately every three steps. Spot lights should be placed parallel to the staircase, above the treads and landings, and should not be dazzling. Hard shadows from spotlights should be avoided. If the light comes from the wrong direction, shadows are missing and the steps do not stand out clearly from each other.
  • Light strips on the handrail or on the edges of the steps are another option and turn the staircase into a design object. In addition, equipping a wooden step with a solid edging that can be distinguished by color improves the visibility of the front edge of the step – even in dim light.

Cleverly installed lights provide orientation, reduce the risk of accidents and also put the apartment stairs in the right light in terms of design.

At the Illuminants there are numerous possibilities, basically halogen spotlights, energy-saving lamps or LEDs are suitable for staircase lighting. LEDs have a low glare effect, which reduces the risk of accidents especially at night. They also offer an aesthetic advantage: the light color can be adjusted as desired.

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