Choosing Staircases and Handrails

Choosing Staircases and Handrails, A staircase is a series of steps, each elevating a measured distance, leading from one level of a structure to another. When the series forms a continuous section without breaks formed by landings or other constructions, people often refer to it as a flight of stairs or run of stairs.

Staircase Selection

In the past, the popularity of single-floor structures in residential construction reduced the necessity of staircase construction. However, constructing stairs always requires a high degree of skill, and one should focus on ensuring that the work’s quality complements its surroundings’ aesthetics.

In modern interiors, handrails often incorporate materials like iron, steel, or aluminium combined with glass or wood. Typically, wall-mounted handrails are affixed directly to the wall. Common materials for handrails include wrought iron, glass, steel, and wood.

Wooden handrails are the most prevalent type of stair equipment due to their durability and reliability.

Wooden handrails can be crafted from various types of wood such as teak and rosewood. Wood offers warmth that concrete, plastic, or steel lack, providing comfort and convenience. When selecting a staircase for any building, consider the following points:

1. Function / Purpose

The purpose of the staircase is one of the most critical factors. We categorize staircases into service stairs and main stairs for various purposes. Depending on their intended purpose, each type of staircase can have a closed, open, or a combination of both configurations, and can take various forms such as straight run, platform, or winding stairs.

2. Usability

Usability depends on the available space for constructing the stairs. Stairs should be designed to fit within the available area while harmonizing with the surrounding interiors.

3. Layout

Staircases can be classified based on their layout, with common types including straight flight stairs, quarter-turn stairs, half-turn stairs, branching stairs, open-well (half-turn), open-well with quarter-turn landing, and geometrical stairs.

4. Design

For design purposes, we categorize staircases into two types: transversely supported and longitudinally supported.

I. Transversely Supported

Transversely supported stairs are supported perpendicular to the direction of movement. Walls, beams, or a combination of both can support steps, and they may also cantilever from a wall or beam, spanning between supports at the top and bottom of a flight.

II. Longitudinally Supported

Longitudinally supported stairs are supported in the direction of movement. Beams or walls can achieve this at the outside edges of landings, internal beams at the ends of the flight, or a combination of these methods.

Design considerations include a minimum headroom of 200 cm, baluster heights typically between 85 and 95 cm, a clear stair/flight width of at least 1050 mm, and landing widths that should match the staircase’s width.

The tread width should be at least 225 mm, the risers should not exceed 175 mm in height, and the climbing angle between 30-45 degrees. A flight should consist of a maximum of 16 steps.

Choosing Staircases and Handrails

Key Technical Terms:

  • Tread or Going: The horizontal upper part of a step.
  • Riser: The vertical portion of a step.
  • Rise: The vertical distance between two consecutive treads.
  • Flight: A series of steps between two landings.
  • Landing: A horizontal slab between two flights.
  • Waist: The thinnest part of a stair slab.
  • Winder: Radiating or angular tapering steps.
  • Soffit: The underside of a stair slab.
  • Nosing: The intersection of the tread and the riser.
  • Headroom: The vertical distance from a line connecting the nosings of all treads to the soffit above.


In the staircase layout, safety and aesthetics determine the handrail selection. A well-designed handrail is crucial for an elegant staircase, serving not only as a safety feature but also as a beautiful focal point that enhances the overall interior of your home.

Design options, shades, and material choices for handrails are virtually limitless, with the flexibility for custom fabrication into various shapes.

Stairs play a pivotal role in modern home design, with a luxurious staircase often serving as the centrepiece of any home, complementing the overall decor.

Functional as a hand guide, the handrail ensures safe ascent and descent of stairs. Options such as wooden handrails, steel staircase handrails, decorative metal railings, and decorative glass and steel handrails offer a range of choices to suit your preferences.