The Staircase Experts

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The Top 10 Common Mistakes in Stair Design

It’s true that there are various choices available when it comes to designing your stairs. It’s also true that mistakes in staircase design are fairly commonplace. You can avoid this from happening by being aware of the common slip-ups involved in planning and designing your stairs. Here are the top ten things you should be wary of when designing a staircase.

1. Improper stair width – lack of space and cutting costs are the usual reasons why stairs lack the proper width necessary to be comfortable. This mistake is often overlooked and only when accidents happen do people really concern themselves with the issue. To be on the safe side, your staircase should have a width of at least 125cm.

2. Improper tread width – the tread width of your stairs should be kept to a minimum of 250 to 300 mm, depending whether the building is residential or commercial. Any lower than the minimum prescribed tread width increases the risk of accidents.

3. Improper riser heights – overlooking the importance of the proper height for your stair risers may not prove to be too dangerous but it can cause tripping or discomfort for the elderly and young children. Keep in mind that the maximum height for risers should be 190 mm and a minimum of 150 mm.

4. Unequal treads – it is very important that your stair steps are consistent with one another. Make sure that all risers and treads are uniform to avoid throwing your step out of balance, causing you to trip or fall.

5. Slippery steps – consider using materials that will lend enough traction as you walk the steps. Too polished and they will endanger you, causing slipping and sliding.

6. Steep slope – stairs that are too high tend to be too steep. Aside from the difficulty of ascending steep slopes, especially for the elderly, there is also a higher probability of accidents occurring. Ideally, your stairs should be angled at a 30-degree slope and not exceed 45-degrees.

7. Missing handrails or improper handrail heights – handrails provide support and comfort whenever you make use of your stairs. If there is no handrail at all the stairs are likely to become a hazard, particularly with kids. Ideally, handrails should be available at both sides of the stairs or one will do if the stairs are mounted against a wall. Handrail heights should not be more than 900 mm and not less than 800 mm.

8. Lack of or improper lighting – the presence of light is crucial in positioning your stairs. Make sure that your stairs are placed where there is enough light, as well as ventilation, so that they can be easily accessed. It would be even better to have your stairs placed where there is plenty of natural light to facilitate easy navigation in the event of a power failure, especially in the case of spiral staircases.

9. Insufficient headroom – the clear height above each step of your stairs is called headroom. To avoid bumping your head and to warrant easy movement, whether descending or ascending the stairs, headroom of 2m each step should be ensured.

10. Lack of gates – this is actually an optional part in designing your stairs. Typically, stairs are not provided with gates. However, if you are worried about kids tripping or falling, baby proofing your stairs with gates is an ideal precaution.

All in all, these points will help you to avoid the most common mistakes associated with stair designs. Reputable stair experts should be next on your list. If you want your stairs to be fail-safe, in accordance with the code of building standards, contact our team of stair experts at Spiral UK.


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This entry was posted on May 7, 2014 by in Guides.
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