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Behind the Staircase – Understanding the Purpose of Design

Posted by Amber Burkhart at

There is a method to the madness. The builder has many things to consider when planning the layout and design of your staircase. Not only are they constructing a beautiful accent in your home, but they are creating a safe way for you to travel from floor to floor. Learning about the process of building stairs will help you when designing your staircase.

Let’s begin with the rise and run. You may remember these terms from algebra, but the concept is very simple. The distance from the front to the back of the tread is called the run and the vertical distance up to the next tread is the rise. The rise and run can vary from staircase to staircase but there is a rise to run ratio. The total of the rise and run should add up to 17 inches. As the rise gets steeper, the run gets shorter. There are limits though, the ratio must be consistent and more than 8 inches will be too steep for many people.

The overhang is often omitted in modern staircase designs, but it does serve a purpose. The overhang helps secure footing as your ascend and descend the staircase. Another modern trend is to omit the riser. This doesn’t affect the functionality of the stairs, but keep in mind that behind the stairs will be completely exposed. For safety, if the risers are omitted, the staircase should have a much thicker tread. If you are interested in an open staircase, make sure to check your building codes and always keep safety in mind.

You want to be able to comfortably use your staircase without having to hunch over when ascending or descending. Ceiling height is another very important thing to consider when designing your staircase. The distance from the highest tread below a ceiling should be at least 80 inches.

A well designed stair can be one of the most stunning structures in your home. And although safety is most important, that doesn’t mean you need to compromise design. Balusters are the jewelry of the staircase. They pull the whole structure together. Spend some time and find a baluster design that compliments your home and your personal style.

Newel posts anchor the railing but also make a grand statement. You can choose from various styles and designs and find perfect posts for your stairs.

Lastly, choose a sturdy railing that will offer support and elegance to your staircase. Although a beautiful addition to any staircase, the handrail does much more than add another design element. The handrail plays an important role in the safety of your home. Having a handrail will help reduce the risk of falling as it gives you a support when ascending and descending your staircase.

 

 

 

 

Article by Amber Burkhart


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