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Do you have the correct rise-to-run ratio?

Posted by Amber Burkhart at

These days, there are plenty of regulations regarding how and where a staircase can be built. This is mostly for safety purposes, to ensure that guests and family members do not hurt themselves while climbing the steps in your house, and for uniformity of building parts. But if you live in an older home, you might have noticed that the steps are particularly difficult to walk on. This might be because they have the wrong ratio. 

According to Houzz, a popular website devoted to home remodeling and decor, each staircase has a specific rise-to-run ratio that architects should adhere to. When you add up your rise and run, they should equal 17 inches, indicating that as your runs—also known as treads—become longer, the rise should be shallower, and vice-versa. But there is an important caveat to this rule: it's best to cap your rise at 8 1/4 inches, since anything more than that becomes too steep.

This is a good rule of thumb to adhere to if you're doing a project in your house that requires stair parts. If you have an unusual set of steps in your house, it only takes a few quick measurements and some simple addition to find out if the problem is that your ratio is off. 

Fixing this issue might mean replacing all of your stair parts, but afterward, you'll notice that a regulation set of stairs is much easier to walk on than the structure you were working with. Especially if they're historic, you can likely preserve your balustrade and pick up extra staircase newels and other items from Stair Parts USA!


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