How To Meet Stair Design Standards

One of the most necessary aspects of your stair creation is meeting the stair design standards. You cannot just do some stair construction without considering what standards govern it. Standards are created for many reasons, safety being on top of the list. People who create policies for such designs do not exist to make your life difficult: They are supposed to ensure that when you follow those standards, you remain safe and completely within the norm.

Whether it involves metal stairs, hardwood stairs or steel stairs, they all follow the same basic standards in stair building, depending on where you are and how you intend to use it (residential or commercial). Some software such as AutoCAD may be used to design your stairs, but you need to adhere to the standards that are specified in the code. You might also need your calculator, sawing tool, etc. in the long run to make all these things come together.

  • Guard and Railings - Guards and railings are the primary considerations for stair design. The general height requirement is around 35" to ensure that it will really safeguard the average person. If it is made too high, it will be uncomfortable for the user. If you make it too low, it will not serve its purpose of safeguard and coming up and going down of the people in your stairs.
  • Weight - One major tragedy that arises from poorly designed stairs is the lack of consideration for weight. If you are living in a house with overweight users (and this is not to single them out, but to ensure their safety), you might want to install more bolts and consider the kind of material that you are going to use for your stairs.
  • Balusters - Balusters are the vertical items that serve as fillers for your guard and railings. The spaces between these balusters should be tight enough to ensure that no part of the body will easily go out if you accidentally slide through. At the same time, it should be loose enough for practical reasons.
  • Spacing to walls - Another thing mentioned in the stair design code would be the spacing of your stairs with respect to walls. There must be at least 1.5-2" of space between your wall and your stairway.
  • Handrails - Handrails are crucial since this is where people will anchor themselves when ascending and descending your staircase. You need to make sure that it passes the standard height, around 35"-40" for both US and Canada stair design standards.
  • Stair Risers - Stair risers should be comfortably and safely spaced, often not less than 7-1/2 inches in length. These stair risers are tricky to design, because you will need to fit your storey distances perfectly in multiples of 7-1/2 inches and some allowances to make it work. Fortunately, stair design standards also adhere to overall building and home design standards, so this is not really a matter of concern for you.

Having a good stair design is heavily dependent on how well you have managed to balance the beauty of your stairs and the safety of the people who will be eventually using it. These are really useful things to consider as you make your dimension calculations and construct your stairs.  Other factors of good design can be learned through online design or arts programs.