My Front Door – My Side Door

“My Façade Has a Side Door that Leads Upstairs”

Back in the day, it was typical to have a screen type door or no door at all on the street level of your staircase going up. Today it feels unsafe not to have a proper door. Because of this, it is very difficult to provide a landing at the bottom of the stairs, which means you cannot achieve full code compliance. This is okay as long as you don’t tear out your existing staircase. (FYI – I will give you many more reasons not to tear out your staircase in a future article.) Because you don’t have a landing, your door will have to swing out. In most cases we want the door to swing out, but unfortunately on most downtown front facade side doors, the swing of the door will swing into and over the sidewalk right away. It is a good idea to make contact with your local building official about the outswing of your door, if this occurs.

Aesthetically, the side door should not be as special as the front main level door. You don’t want people to be confused on which door to go through. In the example provided, notice our design incorporates a full glass system for the main level, which is also tied directly with the window design; however, the side door going upstairs has half glass, resulting in a slight downgrade design appearance. If we want to discuss practicality, the upstairs door should take a bit more abuse than a storefront door. Moving furniture up and down, as well as the lack of overall room around the side door, tends to bang this door up more than the main level door. Secondly, notice the paneled area above each door. Both doors have individual areas for signage, but most importantly each door is set up with overall priority. Lastly, notice that both doors are recessed. Recessed doors are valuable because it provides you as an owner the option to hang an awning. The main level door has lots more room around it accommodating ADA compliance, as well as setting it up as a priority. The side door is also recessed, which will keep you dry and reduce the amount of outswing of the door into the right away. The overall design is a downgrade compared to the main level door.