How To Fix Steep Stairs Little Headroom (4 Brilliant Solutions)

Some houses have steep stairs leading to the basement. Furthermore, the owners have to drop their heads down each time to prevent the main floor’s joists. So, many people must question how to fix steep stairs little headroom after banging their heads so many times.

How To Fix Steep Stairs With Little Headroom?

In short, it would be excellent if you lengthen your stairs by relocating them backward, which will require removing a portion of the top landing’s floor. 

If there isn’t much headroom, that’s the best method to solve the problem. You can also extend the steps deeper into the basement if headroom is not a big deal.

This article will provide you with some detailed instructions to get things done. Let’s get started!

What Is A Steep Staircase?

According to today’s building regulations, any staircase with a rise of more than 7 3/4″ is referred to as a steep set of stairs. Interior stairs must have no more than 7 3/4″ and a run of at least 10″. 

Even though the climb is reasonable, a set of steps with a run of at least 10″ might appear “steep.” For many reasons, stairwells in older homes are steep. 

For beginners, many houses and apartments did not conform to any design codes since there was no design code at that time, which is far less common today because of more stringent enforcement and the anxiety of incurring costly violations.


But why did ancient homebuilders desire steep staircases, to begin with? Aren’t they dangerous? In a nutshell, yes and no. 

To begin with, a steep series of steps is advantageous in that it minimizes space, much like a spiral staircase does. Steep stairs have a far lower footprint than code-compliant steps.

Also, because proper headroom within the stairs was not as significant, steeper stairs were more prevalent. Individuals were smaller back then, so lowering your head as you stepped down a flight of stairs was not a big issue. 

Your stairs are excessively steep if they ascend higher than 7 3/4″. If you have steps like that, notice that the treads are not less than 10″ wide. Having railings on both sides will be much safer.

How To Fix Steep Stairs With Little Headroom (4 Methods)

More Treads Means Higher Distance

  1. Dismantle and rebuild

This solution might not be the greatest one if you want to make the steps safer. Notice that it requires time, and you are likely without stairs for a period while you rebuild, which is a significant disadvantage. 

However, dismantling down is a superb option since you will have a correctly constructed set of stairs that meet today’s regulations. It is also ideal for blending your new stairs from your entire home because you can customize them to your liking from scratch.

  1. Create a landing

Create A Landing

If your design prevents you from removing a whole flight of stairs and replacing it with a wider one, consider expanding horizontally rather than vertically. That is, you lower the rise and extend the treads to make a landing at the end of your original stairwell.

Stairs that continue at a correct angle in an L-shape are available from that landing. It would be best if you made your topmost tread thicker to do this. So, if its rise was initially 8 1/2″, put down 0.5″ thick tread right below that rise. 

As a result, your initial increase will be 7 3/4″. Create a landing, or a smaller stair flight, once you have elevated each step to a consistent 7 3/4″ rise on each. 

It is the most excellent solution if you can’t remove the old steps and replace them with a more extended flight. Remember to create a landing and a replacement set of steps off that landing, even if you’re retrofitting.

As a result, it saves more time than if you built a new set of stairs and tore out the old ones.

  1. Gain more headroom on the staircase

Indoor Staircase Standards

You have some labor-intensive possibilities if you want to retain your stairs as is and raise the height above your head to create an additional room or a code-compliant minimum of 6′ 8″. 

Examine your floor layout first. What is right behind the area you’d like to enlarge? Is there any room behind it? You may remove portions of the wall and floor to raise headroom if you have extra space, whether a utility room or a kitchen. 

To begin, remove a few floor joists and reinforce the cut joists with heavy-duty bolts. Then there’d be the matter of completing the area, which would need a new wall.

It’s a big task, and most people would hire a contractor to finish the floor framing because it is essential and dangerous. You could enhance your headroom rather than changing the space you have above if you do not want to modify it. 

The higher part of the steps’ roof and floor behind the stairs re-frame the old joists to build a new frame. The space beneath the steps would next need to be finished with a stair and other finishing touches. 

You may make your steps steeper if they were exceptionally shallow to start with. If so, the only approach is to eliminate physical headspace, which commences with the time-consuming task of modifying your floor joists.

  1. Make your stairs deeper

How To Make Your Stair Deeper?

The only way to make your steps deeper is to remove the current treads and modify the stringers. To do so, cut each tread using either a circular saw or reciprocating to obtain the correct riser height. 

The trouble is that you may wind up with a sidewalk that’s significantly lower than the others. While you may not care, it will render your stairs non-code compliant since you are only permitted to vary your risers by 38″ in total. 

You can construct a landing as well as an L-shaped stairwell, which will enable you to get more profound steps on the top half and shorter steps on the bottom half. 

Whatever you choose, keep in mind that this is a time-consuming project that may require expert assistance if you’re having difficulties determining how to deepen your steps.


Here are some frequently asked questions we have collected while researching this product.

  1. What is the requirement of the minimal headroom? 

A set of stairs must have at least 6′ 8″ of headroom. To begin, take a diagonal measurement across the “waves” of each step so that the minimal headroom cannot be less than 6′ 8″. 

While 6′ 8″ may appear to be plenty of space, it is less than you may expect. Even if the headroom from the top tread is 6′ 8″, your head isn’t directly over it. 

As a result, the seemingly excessively low height restriction is intended to protect your head while you’re walking down the stairs.

  1. Is it possible to repair stairs that are too steep?

Yes, you can reposition your stairs.

All you have to do is remove the old steps, modify and remove parts of the floor framework on the top part of the stairs, and replace them with a new shorter staircase.

Keep in mind that stairwells can have a maximum climb of 7 3/4” and a minimum run of 10”. You might try the method mentioned above to refit each tread. 

Whenever your floor layout permits it, you can also start over. However, both methods need a lot of effort and are best left to skilled DIYers or a carpenter.

  1. What is the cost of fixing a staircase?

Stair Repair Needs Some Stuff

Stair repair requires a considerable amount of wood and, in some instances, new stair piers. If you’re beginning from scratch, you may need new treads, nosing pieces, risers, railings, and other stair finishing elements. 

The finishing touches are where the costs start to add up. If you have a few essential tools on hand, such as a big pry-bar, a circular and a reciprocating saw, some power equipment, removing old steps costs nothing. 

But unless you hire a woodworker to replace old stairs with new ones, as well as changing the basic floor plan to make the steps larger, you can avoid spending at least $3000 extra cost.


Repairing steps is a difficult task since the house ages and the stairwells become steeper. Numerous people try to get away with a patch repair, modifying tread thickness and height, but it is much easier to dismantle everything and start again.

If you plan to fix steep stairs with little headroom, keep in mind that everything is structural and requires a permit. 

It is up to you whether or not you get the safety of your newly reconstructed steps. Because stairs may collapse, it is essential to take precautions with this remodeling.