Blueprints-2000x1077.png
news-article-school-construction.jpg
stamp-of-approval.jpg
mGBQ164.jpg
Blueprints-2000x1077.png

Stair and Rail Information


Glossery of stairways, railings, interior railings and staircases, exterior staircases and railings, modern single stringers, contemporary double stringers, stairway information, stairway designs, railing designs, wood treads, wood handrails, wood railings, metal railings, steel staircases, wood staircases, steel stairs with wood treads, floating staircases, staircases with open risers, concrete treads, concrete staircases, stairs with concrete treads, glass railings, cable railings, modern railings and staircases, contemporary railings and staircases, circular staircases , traditional railings, ornamental railings, horizontal railings, vertical railings, patio railings, balcony railings, roof railings, front step railings. 

 

SCROLL DOWN

Stair and Rail Information


Glossery of stairways, railings, interior railings and staircases, exterior staircases and railings, modern single stringers, contemporary double stringers, stairway information, stairway designs, railing designs, wood treads, wood handrails, wood railings, metal railings, steel staircases, wood staircases, steel stairs with wood treads, floating staircases, staircases with open risers, concrete treads, concrete staircases, stairs with concrete treads, glass railings, cable railings, modern railings and staircases, contemporary railings and staircases, circular staircases , traditional railings, ornamental railings, horizontal railings, vertical railings, patio railings, balcony railings, roof railings, front step railings. 

 

Like so many things involved with construction and remodeling stairways and railings have their own set of individual intricacies and there are a lot of things to first consider when you plan your stairway and/or railings. A professional stairway company will be there to help throughout the design, fabrication and installation process in order to ensure that your stairway is beautiful, safe and building code compliant.

Important things to consider when planning your stairway project.

When building a new home or remodeling an existing one there are a lot of things to consider. For homeowners looking to undertake a project the first glance can make the task seem overwhelming.  Much like anything of quality though it may not be easy but it is not always as daunting as it first seems. With a good plan and the right professionals you will achieve the results you set out for. The stairway will most likely be the center piece of the interior of your home. Often times it is the focal point when you walk into a home.  The staircase as well as the railings will say a lot about the design of your home. Whether you are considering a traditional wood staircase and balustrade or a contemporary floating open riser stair careful consideration should be given to this area to ensure that you achieve the particular style, functionality and safety you desire

stairs Design and Budget.

There are many different stairway designs to choose from traditional old world woodwork, wrought iron to contemporary floating stairs with cable railings and even glass. The design stage is very important and it gives you time to consider your budget, space and style when coming up with your ideas. A good stairway professional will be able to help you through the process of coming up with a product that fits your budget and purpose.

Safety and Comfort.

The safest and easiest to climb staircases have a landing followed by L-shaped or U-shaped stairs. For stairs that aren’t as tall, some opt to have no landing. Circular staircases look magnificent but can be cumbersome to climb for some. Because the staircase will be a big part of your life and you will no doubt climb it on a daily basis consider the safety and comfort of your family.

Building Codes.

As with all of the aspects of your construction or remodeling project careful consideration should be given to building code compliance in regards to your stairway. Building codes are designed for your safety and the safety of others. Poor building code compliance is not just unsafe it can also cause a lot of problems in the future. When you sell your home the lack of building code compliance can make your house worth less and most local authorities require that a building be code compliant before a sale can be made. Also insurance companies require that a building be code compliant before it can be insured.

Please review the following information. We hope that you find it helpful and do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. We would be happy to help you.

news-article-school-construction.jpg

Stairway & Railing Terminology Glossary


Terms (nomenclature) of stairways design, railing design, railings, stairways, interior railings, interior staircases, exterior railing, exterior staircases, railings and staircases, contemporary railings, contemporary railings, modern railings, modern staircases, modern stainless steel railings, stainless steel horizontal railings, horizontal railings, traditional railings, ornamental railings, handrails, wall mounted handrails, handrails with LED lights, iluminated handrails, railings with LED lights, single stringers, steel single stringers, custom single stringers, single stringers with open risers, floating staircases, floating staircase with open risers, double stringers, industrial staircases, staircases with wood treads, stairs with concrete treads, steps, wood treads, wood staircases, metal staircases, traditional staircases, traditional staircase with traditional railings, metal railings with wood handrail

Stairway & Railing Terminology Glossary


Terms (nomenclature) of stairways design, railing design, railings, stairways, interior railings, interior staircases, exterior railing, exterior staircases, railings and staircases, contemporary railings, contemporary railings, modern railings, modern staircases, modern stainless steel railings, stainless steel horizontal railings, horizontal railings, traditional railings, ornamental railings, handrails, wall mounted handrails, handrails with LED lights, iluminated handrails, railings with LED lights, single stringers, steel single stringers, custom single stringers, single stringers with open risers, floating staircases, floating staircase with open risers, double stringers, industrial staircases, staircases with wood treads, stairs with concrete treads, steps, wood treads, wood staircases, metal staircases, traditional staircases, traditional staircase with traditional railings, metal railings with wood handrail

Basic stairway nomanclature

  • Step: The step is composed of the tread and riser.
  • Tread: The part of the step where the foot is placed when climbing the stairway.  The tread "depth" is measured from the outer edge of the step or "nose" to the vertical "riser" between steps. The "width" is measured from one side to the other.
  • Tread Cut or Run: The actual depth of the tread less the overhang of the nose. Sometimes called the "going".
  • Riser: The vertical portion between each tread on the stair and where each time you lift your foot when climbing the stair.
  • Throat: The portion of the riser between the top of the lower tread and the bottom of the upper tread. The throat is the measurement of the rise subtracting the thickness of the tread material.
  • Total Rise: The height of the staircase from the finish floor to the finish floor of the landing and/or balcony. "Total risers" is the amount of times one will lift their foot to climb the sitars.
  • Total Run: The entire distance the staircase will travel.
  • Overhang/Nose : The edge part of the tread that protrudes over the riser beneath. If it is present, this means that, measured horizontally, the total "run" length of the stairs is not simply the sum of the tread lengths, as the treads actually overlap each other slightly.
  • Stringer, Stringer beam or sometimes just String: The structural member that supports the treads and risers and load of climbers. There are typically two stringers, one on either side of the stairs; though the treads may be supported many other ways. The stringers are sometimes notched so that the risers and treads fit into them. Stringers on open-sided stairs are often open themselves so that the treads are visible from the side. Such stringers are called "cut" stringers. Stringers on a closed side of the stairs are closed, with the support for the treads routed into the stringer or bolted onto steel.
  • Flight: A flight is an uninterrupted series of steps.

  • Stairwell: The spatial opening, usually a vertical shaft, containing an indoor stairway; but it is often used as including the stairs it contains.

  • Stair Tower:  A tower attached to, or incorporated into, a building that contains stairs linking the various floors.

  • Spandrel:  If there is not another flight of stairs immediately underneath, the triangular space underneath the stairs is called a "spandrel". It is frequently used as a closet.

  • Single Stringer Staircase:  A staircase carried by a  single beam oriented under the treads at the center of the staircase. This creates a modern look and has a lighter floating look.
  •  Mono string staircase also a single steel spine staircase .

  • Double string staircase has two steel beams on either side and treads in the center

  • Open Riser Staircase: A staircase that is open at the riser between the treads. This creates a modern look and makes the stairs partially see through.
  • Winding Staircase: Steps that are narrower on one side than the other. They are used to change the direction of the stairs without landings. A series of winders form a circular or spiral staircase. When three steps are used to turn a 90° corner, the middle step is called a kite winder because it is a kite shaped quadrilateral.  Winders may be used in combination with straight stairs to turn the direction of the stairs. This allows for a large number of permutations.
  • Floating Stairs: A flight of stairs is said to be "floating" if there is nothing underneath. The risers are typically missing as well to emphasize the open effect. There may be only one stringer or the stringers otherwise minimized.
  • Spiral Staircase: A staircase with a center point typically a post or column with winding treads installed around it to make up the staircase.  With a handrail on the outer side only, and on the inner side just the central pole. A squared spiral stair assumes a square stairwell and expands the steps and railing to a square, resulting in unequal steps (larger where they extend into a corner of the square). A pure spiral assumes a circular stairwell and the steps and handrail are equal and positioned screw symmetrically. A tight spiral stair with a central pole is very space efficient in the use of floor area. Spiral stairs have the disadvantage of being very steep. Unless the central column is very large, the circumference of the circle at the walk line will be small enough that it will be impossible to maintain a normal tread depth and a normal rise height without compromising headroom before reaching the upper floor. To maintain headroom most spiral stairs have very high rises and a very short going. Most building codes limit the use of spiral stairs to small areas or secondary usage.

  • Circular Staircase: A circular staircase unlike a spiral staircase makes a circle that is wider and is open in the center instead of traveling around a center pole. It will have railings on both sides. These stairs have the advantage of a more uniform tread width when compared to the spiral staircase. Such stairs may also be built elliptical or oval. 
  • Both spiral and helical stairs can be characterized by the number of turns that are made. A "quarter-turn" stair deposits the person facing 90 degrees from the starting orientation. Likewise there are half-turn, three-quarters-turn and full-turn stairs. A continuous spiral may make many turns depending on the height. Very tall multi-turn spiral staircases are usually found in old stone towers within church towers and in lighthou Railing Terminology


basic railing nomenclature

  • Balustrade:  is the system of railings and balusters.
  • Guard Rail: Railings that prevent people from falling over the edge.
  • Handrail or Banister The angled member for gripping,  there is often hand rail on both sides of a staircase depending on the width. on wide staircases where there is guardrail on only one side there is sometimes also wall mounted handrail on the other, one in the middle, or even more. The term "banister" is sometimes used to mean just the handrail, or sometimes the handrail and the balusters or sometimes just the balusters.
  • Volute: A handrail end element for the bull-nose step that curves inward like a spiral. A volute is said to be right or left-handed depending on which side of the stairs the handrail is as one faces up the stairs.
  • Turnout: Instead of a complete spiral volute, a turnout is a quarter-turn rounded end to the handrail.
  • Lambs Tongue:: A forged hand rail termination that swoops down and curls back up slightly.
  • Goose-neck: The vertical handrail that joins a sloped handrail to a higher handrail on the balcony or landing is a goose-neck.
  • Rosette: Where the handrail ends in the wall and a half-newel is not used, it may be trimmed by a rosette.
  • Easing: Wall handrails are mounted directly onto the wall with wall brackets. At the bottom of the stairs such railings flare to a horizontal railing and this horizontal portion is called a "starting easing". At the top of the stairs, the horizontal portion of the railing is called a "over easing". Over easing are required for commercial applications as well as ADA access.
  • Baluster: A term for the vertical posts that hold up the handrail. Sometimes simply called guards or spindles. Treads often require three or more balusters. Building codes require that the spacing between balusters be no more than four inches.
  • Newel Post:  A large baluster or post used to anchor the handrail. Since it is a structural element, it often extends below the floor and sub-floor or tread to the floor joists or are bolted through the floor.  joist.
  • Finial: A decorative cap to the top of a newel post, particularly at the end of the balustrade.
  • Baserail or Shoerail : For systems where the baluster does not start at the treads, they go to a baserail. This allows for identical balusters.

Other terminology

  • Balcony:  For stairs with an open concept upper floor or landing, the upper floor is functionally a balcony. For a straight flight of stairs, the balcony may be long enough to require multiple newels to support the length of railing. In modern homes, it is common to have hardwood floors on the first floor and carpet on the second. The homeowner should consider using hardwood nosing in place of carpet. Should the carpet be subsequently replaced with hardwood, the balcony balustrade may have to be removed to add the nosing.
  • Landing or Platform: A landing is the area of a floor near the top or bottom step of a stair. An intermediate landing is a small platform that is built as part of the stair between main floor levels and is typically used to allow stairs to change directions, or to allow the user a rest. A half landing is where a 180° change in direction is made, and a quarter landing is where a 90° change in direction is made (on an intermediate landing) As intermediate landings consume floor space they can be expensive to build. However, changing the direction of the stairs allows stairs to fit where they would not otherwise, or provides privacy to the upper level as visitors downstairs cannot simply look up the stairs to the upper level due to the change in direction.
  • Measurements: The measurements of a stair, in particular the rise height and going or run of the steps, should remain the same along the stairs.

 

stamp-of-approval.jpg

Stairway Building Codes


Stairway and railing building codes in PA,NJ, NY, DE, MD.

Stairway Building Codes


Stairway and railing building codes in PA,NJ, NY, DE, MD.

We are dedicated to the advancement of our industry and making designs that are both beautiful and safe. We will also make sure that your project meets all local building codes. With many years of industry experience, and as members of the Stairbuilders and Manufactures Association we have access to a wealth of information and research data.

about building codes

In the United States Building Code/Regulation is relegated by the Federal Government to the States.  Some states have state codes while others further relegate to counties or municipalities as the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHD). Model Building Codes are developed by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) using a consensus process that includes all parties that have interest. The International Code Council (ICC) is such an organization. The ICC International Codes are the most commonly adopted codes in the US. AHDs start their adoption process by reviewing and often modifying a model code.  It is not until the AHD adopts the code that it becomes law. 

Please click here to see a visual interpretation of the codes set fourth by the IRC for stairways provided by The Stairbuilders and Manufactures Association. 

finding local codes

The ICC maintains a list of adoptions by state on its website in addition to many other helpful aids.   Although every state and the District of Columbia has adopted ICC codes the state adoptions chart will quickly tell you what codes they have adopted and at what level, state or local.  The table is located at this link http://www.iccsafe.org/gr/Documents/stateadoptions.pdf.

 

An interactive map that illustrates the state adoptions and other related information is HERE!  Please use the above chart for the most current information.

 

If you find that the applicable code is listed by the state as local then you will need to  look up the locality in the Adoptions by Jurisdiction Chart. You will find a listing of every jurisdiction within each state in this chart http://www.iccsafe.org/gr/Documents/jurisdictionadoptions.pdf

 

Although the charts are updated regularly you should always verify the Authority Having Jursidiction (AHD) and the codes they have adopted by contacting the AHD. In most cases a Google search for "building codes in    <AHD>    " will lead to a page where the AHD has posted the current codes adopted into law and any modifications made for download.

 

Free Codes

Many state codes are listed in there entirety on the ICC site.  Those that aren't listed usually post state modifications on their website.  All the ICC Model codes, the ICC code commentaries, and many of the legacy codes are available for viewing (not printable) at this link

 

http://www.iccsafe.org/content/pages/freeresources.aspx

We continually strive to perfect our products and custom work. Our associates are trained and certified in stairway building code compliance. We follow a strict code of ethics set forth by the Stairway Manufactures association. Whether using our predesignated products or building a custom project we will work together with you, your architect and or builder,  local township authorities and building code compliance officers to ensure that you have a finished product that is strong, safe and meets all current local building codes. 

If you have any questions regarding building code compliance or any other questions regarding our product please call us!

mGBQ164.jpg

stairway measurements


How to measure a stairway or railing provided by RailandStair.com

stairway measurements


How to measure a stairway or railing provided by RailandStair.com

Important stairway measurements.

  • The rise height or rise of each step is measured from the top of one tread to the next. It is not the physical height of the riser; the latter excludes the thickness of the tread. A person using the stairs would move this distance vertically for each step he takes.
  • The tread depth of a step is measured from the edge of the nosing to the vertical riser; if the steps have no nosing, it is the same as the going; otherwise it is the going plus the extent of one nosing.
  • The run/going of a step is measured from the edge of the nosing to the edge of nosing in plan view. A person using the stairs would move this distance forward with each step they take.
  • To avoid confusion, the number of steps in a set of stairs is always the number of risers, not the number of treads.
  • The total run or total going of the stairs is the horizontal distance from the first riser to the last riser. It is often not simply the sum of the individual tread lengths due to the nosing overlapping between treads. If there are N steps, the total run equals N-1 times the going: the tread of the last step is part of a landing and is not counted.
  • The total rise of the stairs is the height between floors (or landings) that the flight of stairs is spanning. If there are 14 steps, the total rise equals 14 times the rise of each step for example.
  • The slope or pitch of the stairs is the ratio between the rise and the going (not the tread depth, due to the nosing). It is sometimes called the rake of the stairs. The pitch line is the imaginary line along the tip of the nosing of the treads.
  • Headroom is the height above the nosing of a tread to the ceiling above it.
  • Walk-line – for curved stairs, the inner radius of the curve may result in very narrow treads. The "walk-line" is the imaginary line some distance away from the inner edge on which people are expected to walk. Building code will specify the distance. Building codes will then specify the minimum tread size at the walk-line.
  • Ergonomically and for safety reasons, stairs must have certain measurements so that people can comfortably use them. Building Codes typically specify certain measurements so that the stairs are not too steep or narrow. In the U.S.A  building codes, while varying from State to State and County to County, generally specify the following parameters:.

  • Minimum tread length, typically 9 inches (229 mm) excluding the nosing for private residences. Some building codes also specify a minimum riser height, often 5 inches.
  • Riser-Tread formula: Sometimes the stair parameters will be something like riser plus tread equals 17–18 inchesanother formula is 2 times riser + tread equals 24.6 inches the length of a stride. Thus a 7 inches rise and a 10.6 inches tread exactly meets this code. If only a 2 inches  rise is used then a 20.6 inches tread is required. This is based on the principle that a low rise is more like walking up a gentle incline and so the natural swing of the leg will be longer.
  • Low rise stairs are very expensive in terms of the space consumed.
  • Slope: A value for the rise-to-tread ratio of 17/29 ˜ 0.59 is considered optimal; this corresponds to a pitch angle of about 30°.
  • Variance on riser height and tread depth between steps on the same flight should be very low. Building codes require variances no larger than 0.1875 inches (4.76 mm) between depth of adjacent treads or the height of adjacent risers; within a flight, the tolerance between the largest and smallest riser or between the largest and smallest tread can not exceed 0.375 inchesThe reason is that on a continuous flight of stairs, people get used to a regular step and may trip if there is a step that is different, especially at night. The general rule is that all steps on the same flight must be identical. Hence, stairs are typically custom made to fit the particular floor to floor height and horizontal space available. Special care must be taken on the first and last risers. Stairs must be supported directly by the subfloor. If thick flooring (e.g. thick hardwood planks) are added on top of the subfloor, it will cover part of the first riser, reducing the effective height of the first step. Likewise at the top step, if the top riser simply reaches the subfloor and thick flooring is added, the last rise at the top may be higher than the last riser. The first and last riser heights of the rough stairs are modified to adjust for the addition of the finished floor.
  • Maximum nosing protrusion, typically 1.25 inches (32 mm) to prevent people from tripping on the nosing.
  • Height of the handrail. This is typically between 34 and 38 inches (864 and 965 mm), measured to the nose of the tread. The minimum height of the handrail for landings may be different and is typically 38 inches for residential applications and 42 inches for commercial railings.
  • Handrail diameter. The size has to be comfortable for grasping and is typically between 1.25 and 2.675 inches
  • Maximum space between the balusters of the handrail. This is typically 4 inches
  • Openings (if they exist) between the bottom rail and treads are typically no bigger than 6 inches
  • Headroom: At least 83 inches
  • Maximum vertical height between floors or landings. This allows people to rest and limits the height of a fall.
  • Mandate handrails if there is more than a certain number of steps (typically 2 risers)
  • Minimum width of the stairway, with and without handrails
  • Not allow doors to swing over steps; the arc of doors must be completely on the landing/floor.
  • A stairwell may be designated as an area of refuge as well as a fire escape route.