Home Improvement: 4 Stair Design Guidelines Home Improvement: 4 Stair Design Guidelines

For those dedicated to home improvement, sooner or later they will want to build or amend their staircase. Kits can be bought to rebuild the staircase while keeping in line with government codes, but in some cases, these staircase kits many not be enough to provide the right kind of staircase. In addition, some home improvement fans will want to design their own staircase, and designing this to code can mean the difference between building your ideal stairs, and having to redraw the plans in order to get stairs that conform. There are different rules depending upon the style and type of staircase you wish to build, so thoroughly researching the legislation is vital to the success of your intended home improvement.

1. Stairways and Handrails

Handrails are necessary on one side at least of any run of treads, or a flight of stairs with more than four risers. Handrails shall not be placed less than 34 inches in height above then step, but not more than 38 inches. Regulations suggest that Stairways should not be below 36 inches in width above the handrail height. Below the handrail, the stairway cannot be less than 31.5 inches for one handrail, and less than 27 inches for handrails on both sides. The handrail itself cannot extend more than 4.5 inches into either side of the stairway. Handrails should be continuous throughout the entire length of the staircase, and with a space of more than 1 and a half inches between the handrail and the wall.

2. Treads and Risers

For ordinary staircases, the riser height should not be more than 7.65 inches. The fluctuation between the height of stairs must not be more than three eighths of an inch. The depth of the tread cannot be less than 10 inches, measured horizontally between the planes of the projection. The difference between depth of treads shall not be more than three-eighths of an inch. Treads that are used to turn a corner shall also have a minimum depth of 10 inches at the widest end, and a minimum depth of tread of 6 inches at the narrowest point. The angle of a riser will not be more than 30 degrees from the vertical, and the opening on and open risers will not be enough to permit a 4-inch diameter sphere.

3. Molding

Nosing is not necessary where the depth of the tread is more than 11 inches. On the profile of the steps, the shape of the tread shall not be less than three-quarters of an inch, but not more than one and a quarter inches. The extent of the tread within those guidelines shall not differ more than three eights of an inch across the entire stairwell. Molding on the stair nosing shall not be more than half an inch.

4. Spiral Staircases

Spiral staircases must conform to the 2006 International Residential Code. This code obliges staircase builders to make each step 26 inches wide, at least, and around 7.5 inches deep. Steps must be uniform, and the rise should not be in excess of 9.5 inches. When making a spiral staircase, you need to leave headroom of about 6 foot six.




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