Staircase fundamentally provides a means to elevate from one floor to another, most commonly in domestic properties from the ground floor to the 1st floor. The main structure of the staircase can have a multitude of different layouts dependant on how it needs to ‘fit-in’ to a property, the ‘looks’ and cost restraints.
A standard UK straight flight, normally consists of 13 treads and risers, however we can accommodate any number of treads within building regulations. Some staircases may require a quarter landing which is a square turn or landing, any position within the staircase, to change the direction through 90 degrees normally used to fit within walls and the existing layout of the property. The winder tread design and spiral staircases are often used where space is limited or to produce a ‘feature/statement’ staircase.
Traditionally staircases are made from these basic components, stringers, tread/risers, newel posts and balustrading:.
The ‘stringers’ are the two pieces of timber approximately 225 -275mm wide each side of the staircase, these timbers are the main structure of the staircase and hold the treads and risers in place. The stringer is fixed to the landing /floor, the newel posts and the wall where required.
The treads and risers are in the steps going within the staircase; the tread is where you place your foot and the riser closes the space between each tread; there are exception in ‘open-tread’ designs.
In staircases up to the 1980/1990s, red-deal/pine was commonly used for treads and risers, these timber treads and risers are more prone to splitting due to expansion and contraction with temperature variations (central heating and seasonal weather), resulting in the treads moving causing a squeaking noise when walking up/down the staircase. During the early 90s our business serviced major house builders and as one of the first manufacturers to trial MDF treads and risers, we realised the huge benefits this product offered staircase manufacturers and it is now the preferred choice for treads and risers throughout the industry. MDF is a manufactured timber board and therefore retains the beneficial features of a red deal/pine tread whilst it ‘sheet’ format provides blemish-free uniformity, versatility and stability.
The newel posts are a vital part of any staircase, providing strength and support to the stringers, fixing points to floors/joists and the balustrading. Newel posts can be provided in a variety of timbers and sizes, dependent upon the design requirements, typically sizes are 80-95mm, square or turned and are secured onto the stringer with a Mortise and Tenon joint; providing a traditionally robust, secure structural fixing . Newel Posts are an integral part of a new staircase installation, which is part of our service when we install our products, however we do offer the service of ‘retro fitting’ newel posts where customers wish to modernise their existing staircase by changing the posts and balustrading but not the stingers/treads/risers. The newel posts alongside being a functional structure of any staircase can also be a point of design, therefore we are often asked to produce unique design feature as part of the newel posts; higher specification timbers, larger sections, variation in shape to give a variety of different ‘wow’ effects enabling our customers to customise and make a statement within their property.
The balustrading is a term used for the whole of the handrail/base -rail and spindles, proving the protection of those using the staircase. Building Regulations dictate the minimum height and the spacing of any balustrading depending on its purpose; in which type of building and who will use the staircase. Customers may choose to replace only the balustrading which in most parts can make a real difference without the need and cost of replacing the main structural staircase. Balustrading consists of the handrail, which is used to assist progress up/down the staircase, the base-rail which fixes to the stringers and the spindles/baluster or glass which are situated between the handrail and the base-rail.
The handrail is a very important part of any staircase; it is a legal requirement on most staircases and provides safety for all users of the staircase. Building Regulations state the handrail should be installed at a minimum height from the nosing line and from the floor on the landing to provide adequate safety from the possibility of falling from the staircase. Handrails also provide something to hold onto when walking up or down or passing on the staircase and are produced in a various styles and timbers; we can manufacture and supply our customers a vast range of designs and we produce our own unique in-house products , specifically we are suppliers of bespoke shaped handrail which is grooved to take the 10mm glass balustrading without the need of stainless brackets.
The base-rail sits onto of the stringer and accommodates the chosen balustrading which ranges from tradition spindles to modernistic glass. The base-rail again typically matches the handrail design, can be from similar or contrasting timbers and also can be grooved/machined to accommodate the 10mm glass or spindles.
The spindles or balusters are securely fixed between the handrail and base-rail with a maximum gap of 99mm throughout any part of the balustrading and are of sufficient structural integrity to prevent anyone falling through the balustrading, these are Building regulatory specifications. The spindles can be provided in variety of designs, for example matching any ornate turned style, square stop chamfered spindles, made from a variety of timbers, paint-grade or stain-grade to suit customers’ tastes and cost requirements.