8 Great Tips for Designing a New Staircase

Stairs may have a startling influence on the look and feel of our houses, despite the fact that we often take them for granted. An appealing, well-designed staircase can instantly improve the attractiveness of a home and possibly increase its market value. On the other hand, shabby staircases are likely to have the opposite impact.

But how do you begin the process of designing a new stairwell? Follow these easy steps to get started:

  1. Determine your height.

You must first assess the amount of space available before buying your steps. Begin by determining the floor-to-floor height. This entails taking measurements from the finished lower floor to the finished upper floor. By the way, the phrase “finished floor” refers to the surface you walk on and encompasses any type of floor covering, such as carpet or laminate. With this information, the staircase maker may calculate how many steps are required to produce well-proportioned stairs that meet UK building rules.

  1. Determine the width

After you’ve determined the height, you’ll need to determine the breadth. This is the overall measurement of all the strings and steps put together. (Strings, also known as stringers, are structural support boards that run down either side of the stairwell.) Unless you’re building a home from the ground up, the width of the steps will be governed by the available area.

If you have the option, choose the broadest set of stairs that will fit. In big family houses, a broad staircase is safer, simpler to use, and more practical. While there is no legal minimum width in the United Kingdom, the standard is 860mm, so don’t build your steps any smaller.

  1. Is it better to go straight or winding?

As for the staircase plan, if you have adequate floor space, a single straight flight of steps is the simplest and most cost-effective alternative. Steps that spiral back on themselves, such as L-shaped and U-shaped stairs, are commonly seen to be more appealing. They are, however, more sophisticated and, as a result, more expensive.

You’ll need winder treads or a landing – or a mix of both – to make a bend in the staircase so it can change direction. A winder is a triangular or kite-shaped tread that is used to make a turn in a straight staircase.

A landing is a platform that connects two flights of stairs. It is located between the first and second floor levels. It might be a quarter landing (the width of a single flight of steps) that turns the staircase 90 degrees, or a half landing (the width of two flights of stairs) that turns the staircase 180 degrees, creating a U shape.

  1. Open or closed treads and risers?

Treads (the section you walk on) and risers (vertical planks that form the face of each step) make up the stairs. Risers can be open (with spaces between the treads) or closed (with no gaps between the treads) (encased with solid boards). Open risers are very popular in modern homes because they allow more light in. Young children and the elderly, on the other hand, may find them difficult.

For added emphasis, many people choose to add one or two highlight steps at the bottom of the staircase. Single or double D end forms, as well as more gently rounded bullnose steps, are available in a variety of combinations.

  1. String design

Stringers, also known as stringers, can be closed or open. A closed – also known as solid – string goes up both sides of the staircase, completely enveloping the treads and risers and hiding the stairwell’s edge. The upper edge of an open, or sliced, string is machined away so that the shape of the steps may be seen from the side. This form is more difficult to create and hence more expensive than a closed string design, but it is often regarded as superior.

  1. Are there any fresh newels?

Newel posts are vertical supports that hold the handrails, treads, and strings of the staircase, and they are an important element of its construction, so don’t remove them unless absolutely required. They can be a single post (a plain newel) or a shaped piece of wood (a newel turning) affixed to a separate base and come in a variety of forms. If you’re just updating your stairwell rather than replacing them entirely, keep the old posts and replace the newel caps for a fresh look.

  1. How many spindles are there?

The vertical supports that link the handrail to the remainder of the balustrade are known as spindles or balusters. Because they are such a prominent component, they may have a significant impact on the look and feel of a staircase, so carefully consider your options. You don’t have to keep to one kind of spindle; try mixing and combining two for a unique look. Glass panels can also help to create a bright and airy atmosphere.

Two spindles per tread, or one when there is a newel post on a landing, is a good rule of thumb. Most stair manufacturers can assist you in determining how many spindles or panels you’ll need.

  1. Tips for using the handrail

If your staircase is narrower than 1m, it must have a railing on at least one side, and if it is broader than this, it must have handrails on both sides. For the sake of convenience, many individuals opt to install one. Most handrails run between the newel posts (known as a post-to-post system), but you may have them flow over the tops of the posts on some steps (an over-the-post system). If you have youngsters, you may also wish to consider a wall-mounted handrail.