Finishing Touches

Stair & Railing system specifications 

Comprehensive stair and railing information to help you plan your staircase design

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When planning for you staircase, one thing to keep in mind is that the stair design and railing design are dependant on one another.  If your staircase will require a railing system then you need to plan for them as a unit.

Certain stair designs or layouts can expand or limit your hand railing style options. Combining wood and metal railing systems also has some design issues that need to be addressed. Certain stair designs such as winders, require railing components to be built into the stair at time of manufacturing and not applied to the stair as with a standard railing installation. 

Example 1: A winder staircase has 3 treads normally that radiate out  from a built in central post that turn the direction of the stair 90 degrees similar in function to an interim landing however the winder or winder box condenses the overall run of the stair. If you were having custom walnut newel posts,  you would need one of these posts in advance of the railing installation to be assemble into the corner of the winder box. Why? If this was not planned for in advance as a unit, then you would have a standard square short post installed at that central point to facilitate assembly of the stair and then have to have your walnut post lapped onto it at the time the railing is installed. This creates a seam which can be overcome however the optimum solution is as stated above to assemble that full post right into the structure of the stair. 

Example 2:  Some people want the railing to curl around at the bottom of a stair like a cinnamon bun, that stair part is called a volute, in order to use a volute to get that look, you need to have a bullnose step at the bottom of your stair.

For further reading or to get you questions answered live while your here, go to Stair & railing design section