What Are The Rules Of Staircase Design?

16 . 07 . 2012

There are two factors that ensure that an acceptable staircase design has been created – the first is that the design is safe, and the second is that it is highly appealing. To ensure that both of these factors are present in every staircase, the builder must adhere to a number of rules, otherwise the homeowner may end up with a project that was not what they expected.

  • Rise and Run: all steps must be exactly the same to prevent trips and falls. The height (rise) of each step much be somewhere between 4 and 8 inches. The tread that you step on (run) must be a somewhere between 9 and 12 inches.
  • Stringers: this is the side of the steps, which give the entire stairway structural support. If a staircase is any higher than 32 inches, it must have a third stringer in the middle for added support.
  • Top and Bottom: the top and bottom steps must be the same height as the others, so builders need to take into account the flooring used as a part of their staircase design. Hardwood flooring is ¾ to 1 inch think, whilst carpeting and tile is 3/8 to ½ an inch thick.
  • Guardrails: these must be a minimum of 36 inches high, and each of the spindles can only be a maximum of 4 inches apart. They must also be able to support 200 pounds of pressure.

If you are currently embarking on a staircase project of your own, it is important to ensure that your design follows each of the rules outline above. Failing to do so will mean that your stairs will not pass a building inspection. By following them to a tee, your finished staircase design will be the safest and most attractive that you have ever seen.