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What Are The Factors To Consider When Designing A Staircase

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  • Staircase, Choosing a Staircase, Designing a Staircase
  • Posted date:
  • 20-04-2022
What Are The Factors To Consider When Designing A Staircase

We look at the factors to consider when designing a staircase? If you are looking at designing a new staircase, find out more about what you need to know.

Choosing what staircase designs and materials can be quite an overwhelming experience. Fortunately, there are multiple options to choose from, and we will do our best to help you in your endeavour.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Staircase

Before you renovate your home or construct a new one, it is important to consider how your staircase will look. The staircase is a central part of the home and, sometimes, a focal point. A staircase can either make or break a home's atmosphere as it is dependent on how much the following factors are considered.

Amount of Available Space

The amount of room you must accommodate for a staircase dictates the size and shape of them. Spiral, ribbon, and L-shaped staircases work well in tighter spaces where the shorter footsteps help utilise what space there is. A straight flight of stairs that comfortably incline would make the most of an average-sized space.

If you have a large area to fit a bespoke staircase, constructing a fancier Helical, S, or U-shaped staircase would create a bold statement and focal point for your home. For a larger space, you could have a straight flight of stairs connect to an immediate landing or construct bifurcated stairs that lead to multiple landings.

If you want an airy or rustic feel in your home, you could install a wooden floating or open staircase. The lack of structure beneath the steps could be a perfect placement for floating shelves to store your favourite books.


No matter your budget, you will need to consider both materials and designs will cost. The more complex the design of the staircase you want, the higher your budget will need to be. For example, the entry point of a spiral staircase starts at around £1,000, whereas constructing an entire straight staircase starts at about £500.

Traditional staircases are made from brick, iron, stone, or wood, whereas contemporary designs demand contemporary materials, such as acrylic, glass, and stainless steel. You should consider if the staircase will be showing or hidden under the carpet.

Wood would be an easily available and cost-effective material for a staircase that will be completely under a carpet. If the staircase is going to show itself, then you should choose a suitable material that will go with the style of your house. Metal and glass are less cost-effective than wooden materials.

If you want to build a staircase made from a combination of materials, we recommend sourcing multiple materials by asking suppliers for multiple quotes to find the best price.

If you want to replace an old staircase and put a different design over the same material and sized staircase, you are saving money by not having to pay for structural work.

When it comes to budgeting, you should think about the long-term effects of having a new staircase, like how it might add value to your property, if it will still do what it's meant to, and will it cost too much in the long run? 

Local Building Regulations

You should take any local building regulations and certain specifications for staircases seriously. We recommend that you consult an expert to ensure that your design adheres to the correct standards.

Your staircase must specifically uphold the standard that all staircase steps are level. Another few examples of standards include the specific dimensions and distance of each step and the positioning of handrails.

The Home's Occupants

You should keep the home's occupants in mind when designing a staircase.

For example, we do not advise constructing staircases that are long, steep, or without handrails if any elderly or handicapped tenants will be inside the property.

Similarly, we do not recommend constructing open staircases because they feature large gaps that children on the premises could fall through.

Components of Designing a Staircase

You should deeply think about what the ideal staircase would be that fits the needs of all in that property.


There should be at least one handrail that continuously runs along the length of the stairway and landings unless interrupted by doorways and newel posts.

Handrail Height

To start in this list of staircase components is the handrail height. The handrails are located on either parallel side of the stairway.

There is both a minimum and maximum height requirement for handrails, and you should check what these are with an expert in your local area.


The landing is the platform before or at the end of flights of stairs. The width of the stairs should be equal to the depth of your landing.

Once again, there is a vertical height requirement that you should check your local building requirements.


Nosing is a horizontal edge of a stair where it protrudes and experiences the most frequent foot traffic as users go up and down the stairs.

Overhead Clearance / Headroom

Stairways have a minimum clearance measurement in specific regions to ensure an average adult has safe passage up and down a staircase. 

The overhead clearance, commonly known as the headroom, measures between the outer edge of the nosing line and the ceiling above.

Pickets / Balusters / Spindles

Balusters, pickets, and spindles are the fence poles that are regularly described as a certain number per tread. They usually rest on either steps, floors, or decks and are attached to the above horizontal rail and the bottom sides of a stairway.

There is a minimum gap requirement for all three of these staircase components. 

Railing & Components

When it comes to selecting a railing, you should consider the railing layout and installation, as well as the design of the pickets, posts, and handrails. Post-to-post is a standard layout, but you can also request a continuous layout.

There are many differences and variations of layout you could choose from by simply asking a sales representative. 

Riser Height

A riser is the vertical part of a step that dictates how high you must lift and lower your foot before encountering the next step. There is a minimum and maximum measurement of riser height.

What Are The Factors To Consider When Designing A Staircase?


A staircase run is a horizontal distance between risers. The total rise is from the bottom to the top of the stairs.


There is a minimum stair width and height requirement according to the Building Code.

Stair Load

It is worth constructing a staircase out of a strong material or a combination of strong materials so that it can take a heavy load and lots of traffic.


A tread is the horizontal part of a step that commonly consists of multiple boards to prevent squeaks and warping. There is an overhand maximum and tread width minimum.


A winder is the spiral section of a spiral staircase that has 90-degree turning treads. There are a few concerns about safely travelling up and down the stairs. You should avoid large gaps between the balusters, pickets, and spindles on a winder.

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