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What Are Newel Posts?

A newel post is the key post that anchors a handrail, typically at the base or top of stairs; a second landing newel may support the rail on a stair landing.

Because of its prominent position, the newel post is often turned, carved, or otherwise decorative; to shoulder the considerable forces it receives, it is anchored solidly to the stair’s structure.

The word “newel” derives from the Old French nouel or noel, meaning kernel or stone. On early winding stairs, the newel was the pillar or stone post that formed the center. Even on today’s staircases, the central pillar is called a newel.[GARD align=”right”]

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Stairs

Stair & Staircase Building Codes

Because the location of railings and balusters, width and depth of tread, and height of risers affect the ease and safety of using a stair, these dimensions are regulated by building codes. You must be sure that any stair you order will meet your local codes. Though many local codes have adopted national standards, there is no single national code for all areas. Some local codes have different restrictions than accepted standards. To find out about your local requirements, call your city or county building department.

Staircase Construction Diagram

Staircase Construction Diagram

The International Code Council, administered by the Building Officials and Code Administration (BOCA), allows maximum riser height of 7 3/4 inches and a minimum tread depth of 9 inches plus a 1-inch nosing where solid risers are utilized. These dimensions are a revision of earlier, briefly adopted standards that allowed a maximum of 7 inches on risers and a minimum of 11 inches for tread depths-sizing promoted by some saftety experts following a 1985 study of accidents on stairs in the workplace. Despite the fact that the steeper stairs are acceptable to many codes, some experts still believe they are prone to cause more accidents. Some builder organizations argue that these claims are yet to be proven and that 7-11 stairs take up more space and increase the costs of building them.

When ordering stairs that turn, such as spiral stairs, pay special attention to where measurements must be taken for code acceptance. Many codes demand a 9- to 10-inch tread depth (minimum) at a point 12 to 14 inches from the narrow side. You’ll also find restrictions on head-height clearance and railing construction and placement.

The key is to be sure that any stair you buy will not only meet codes but be an attractive, safe, easy-to-use addition to your home.

Find a Pre-Screened Local Staircase Construction Contractor

Stairs

Stair & Staircase Building Codes

Because the location of railings and balusters, width and depth of tread, and height of risers affect the ease and safety of using a stair, these dimensions are regulated by building codes. You must be sure that any stair you order will meet your local codes. Though many local codes have adopted national standards, there is no single national code for all areas. Some local codes have different restrictions than accepted standards. To find out about your local requirements, call your city or county building department.

Staircase Construction Diagram

Staircase Construction Diagram

The International Code Council, administered by the Building Officials and Code Administration (BOCA), allows maximum riser height of 7 3/4 inches and a minimum tread depth of 9 inches plus a 1-inch nosing where solid risers are utilized. These dimensions are a revision of earlier, briefly adopted standards that allowed a maximum of 7 inches on risers and a minimum of 11 inches for tread depths-sizing promoted by some saftety experts following a 1985 study of accidents on stairs in the workplace. Despite the fact that the steeper stairs are acceptable to many codes, some experts still believe they are prone to cause more accidents. Some builder organizations argue that these claims are yet to be proven and that 7-11 stairs take up more space and increase the costs of building them.

When ordering stairs that turn, such as spiral stairs, pay special attention to where measurements must be taken for code acceptance. Many codes demand a 9- to 10-inch tread depth (minimum) at a point 12 to 14 inches from the narrow side. You’ll also find restrictions on head-height clearance and railing construction and placement.

The key is to be sure that any stair you buy will not only meet codes but be an attractive, safe, easy-to-use addition to your home.

Find a Pre-Screened Local Staircase Construction Contractor

Stairs

Planning and Building Stairs

Staircases are fundamental to any house that has more than one story. They come in all heights, widths, and configurations, from basic and utilitarian to grand and sweeping.

The form a staircase takes is determined by the home’s design, the builder’s skill, the amount of space available, and the budget.

A staircase that runs straight from one floor to the next is easiest to build but can be somewhat formidable to climb. Stairs that stop at a landing and turn 90 or 180 degrees take up less space and can be safer and easier to traverse. A spiral staircase takes up the least amount of space and is economical to install, but it is not easy to climb, is particularly impractical when you need to carry large objects from one floor to the next, and is not safe for use by children or the elderly.

In this section of HomeTips, you will find information on the various types of staircases, how they are built, and how to maintain them.[GARD align=”right”]

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Buying Stairs & Pre-Made Staircases

Staircase Design & Construction

Stairs & Staircase Repairs

 

Stairs

Staircase Design & Construction

Any house built on more than one level has at least one staircase that serves as its vertical thoroughfare. There are, of course, many different kinds of staircases, differing by their materials, construction methods, general shape, design, and a number of other features.

Staircase Construction Diagram

In most situations, a staircase is an integral part of the home’s design and style. Stairs may be steep or gradual, narrow or wide, purely functional or grand and showy. Some are built in place by woodworkers, finish carpenters, or stairmakers; others are factory manufactured, shipped to a building site, and installed by carpenters.

A stair’s design is heavily affected by its function. An entry stairway that handles all up-and-down foot traffic and is placed in a highly visible location is bound to be much more grand than a stairway to a hardly-ever-used basement or where economy of space is imperative.[GARD align=”left”]

Regardless of type, all stairs have the same fundamental parts, as shown here. It is how these parts are built and combined that gives a stairway its style and individuality. Of course, not all stairways have all of these parts-for example, some stairways have open risers.

Stairs are built according to basic rules and principles intended to make them safe to use. These rules, governed by building codes, stipulate the permissible heights of risers, depth and width of treads, placement of handrails, and similar concerns.

Find a Pre-Screened Local Staircase Builder

Stairs

Staircase Design & Construction

Any house built on more than one level has at least one staircase that serves as its vertical thoroughfare. There are, of course, many different kinds of staircases, differing by their materials, construction methods, general shape, design, and a number of other features.

Staircase Construction Diagram

In most situations, a staircase is an integral part of the home’s design and style. Stairs may be steep or gradual, narrow or wide, purely functional or grand and showy. Some are built in place by woodworkers, finish carpenters, or stairmakers; others are factory manufactured, shipped to a building site, and installed by carpenters.

A stair’s design is heavily affected by its function. An entry stairway that handles all up-and-down foot traffic and is placed in a highly visible location is bound to be much more grand than a stairway to a hardly-ever-used basement or where economy of space is imperative.[GARD align=”left”]

Regardless of type, all stairs have the same fundamental parts, as shown here. It is how these parts are built and combined that gives a stairway its style and individuality. Of course, not all stairways have all of these parts-for example, some stairways have open risers.

Stairs are built according to basic rules and principles intended to make them safe to use. These rules, governed by building codes, stipulate the permissible heights of risers, depth and width of treads, placement of handrails, and similar concerns.

Find a Pre-Screened Local Staircase Builder

Stairs

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