What is a staircase opening - and how big does it have to be?

Stair opening and stairwell are not the same. The stairwell is defined as a clear space enclosed by the staircase, which can only be located inside opposing and spiral staircases. However, the staircase opening is already present before the construction of the stairs. Where is the opening and how should it look to ensure sufficient security?

Other names for the stair opening

The stairwell has several other names that are commonly used in construction. Here is a small list of the most commonly used terms:

  • the stairwell
  • the ceiling hole
  • the stairway breakthrough
  • the stairwell
  • the ceiling recess
  • the ceiling opening
  • the ceiling breakthrough
  • the substitution

How is the staircase opening defined?

The staircase opening is therefore a hole in the ceiling, which serves to install a staircase across floors. It is already planned in the shell, but can also be retrofitted to move the stairs.

The ceiling breach must meet fixed static requirements so that its edges can safely carry the staircase including the payload on it. The staircase transit light must also have certain standard dimensions, which are in proportion to the staircase size.

The statutory provisions also specify the minimum distance to other structural elements of the building, for example, for roof pitches and door openings.

This is what the staircase opening looks like

Stair openings can emerge in many forms: they are often round in a spiral staircase or spiral staircase, while in other staircase forms they can also be rectangular or square. In addition, there are many other, even irregular shapes.

The user of the staircase should always be able to use at least 2 m head height, accordingly, the stairwell is to be planned. For a usable stairway width of 90 cm, a breakthrough of at least 15 cm is recommended.

Tips & Tricks

In any case, consult a construction specialist who calculates the statics and knows the legal regulations for creating the staircase opening.

Video Board: WE’RE BACK! (Framing Sub Floor Stair Opening)