For the most part, you can’t consider adding stairs to any project without railing or railings or banisters. Before you begin a project to add the flair of the stairs, here’s a bunch of stuff you should know about!
It’s deceptively simple, but not always known that that if there is to be a gate or door (even if it is a temporary set of stairs) it must be able to open on a platform landing with enough swing room for door to open. Yes it is funny until you’ve seen it actually constructed wrong!
Handrails must not be a projection hazard…meaning, they can’t come out too far. And. They must be able to withstand, without failure, a force of 200 lbs. Along with tread surface, handrails must be surfaced to prevent injury, puncture, lacerations, or snagging of clothing.
Here are a few cool words you should know about when it comes to stairs.
Baluster is the vertical post that hold up hand rail.
Newel is the large baluster (or post) used to anchor the handrail.
Half-newel is a railing that ends in a wall (looks like half is in the wall). For open landings, a newel can extend below the landing for a decorative ‘newel drop’.
Winders are steps narrower on one side then the other used to change the direction of stairs without landings.
A Finial is a decorative cap to the top of a newel post.
You can choose baluster designs of highly stylized wrought iron, recycled Rebar, Heavy-duty rope, old beams, tree branches from your own back yard to clear or stained glass. It’s becoming more common now to see an adjoining slide with a railing and not just for the kids!
Even at the very last minute it is incredibly easy to jazz up your stair rail. You don’t need any experience to wrap a string of anything up the rail! Go earthy with pinecones, burlap and twigs; glitzy with a string of lights!