Stair risers are an essential component of any staircase. They are the vertical pieces that connect each step and provide structural support for the entire staircase. They come in a variety of materials, dimensions, and finishes, making it easy to find the perfect match for any home.
From oak wood to LVP, let me share more about this and, also, issues that can come up with these as well!
Understanding stair risers is important for anyone who is building or renovating a staircase. They can affect the overall safety, comfort, and aesthetic appeal of a staircase.
Materials used for stair risers can range from traditional hardwoods like oak (which is what we have on three of our staircases) and maple to more modern options like metal or glass.
So, let's chat more about all of this and I'll give you some photos to help explain, too!
Understanding Stair Risers
Stair risers are the vertical part of each step, located between the treads. They must be at the proper height for safety and comfort, and they play a crucial role in the overall design and functionality of the staircase.
I will say that we have irregular stair risers in our basement. For some reason the top step and the bottom step have a bigger drop to each step than the middle ones and it's a bit jarring for people when they come over.
The height of the riser is an important consideration when designing stairs. Building codes typically require them to be between 4 and 7.75 inches high, with a maximum variation of ⅜ inch between risers (the variation in our basement is WEIRD!). This ensures that the stairs are safe and comfortable to use, and that users can easily navigate them without tripping or stumbling.
Stair risers can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and concrete. They can also be designed in a range of styles, from simple and traditional to ornate and decorative. The choice of material and style will depend on the overall design of the staircase, as well as the preferences of the homeowner or builder.
When designing stairs, it is important to consider the relationship between the risers and the treads. The tread is the horizontal surface of the stair that the user steps on, and the riser is the vertical surface that supports the tread. The size and shape of the tread and riser can affect the overall safety and functionality of the stairs, as well as their aesthetic appeal.
Materials Used for Stair Risers
Stair risers give you an opportunity to add style and personality to your home. There are many materials available for stair risers, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.
Wood is a popular choice for stair risers due to its durability, versatility, and aesthetic appeal. Oak is a common choice, as it is a hardwood that is strong and long-lasting. Unfinished oak risers can be stained or painted to match the surrounding decor. Other types of wood, such as maple, cherry, or pine, can also be used.
Laminate is a synthetic material that can be made to look like wood, stone, or other materials. It is a popular choice for stair risers due to its affordability, durability, and low maintenance. Laminate is available in a variety of colors and patterns, making it easy to find a style that matches your home.
Vinyl is a synthetic material that is often used for stair risers due to its slip-resistant properties. It is also durable, easy to clean, and affordable. Vinyl stair risers are available in a variety of colors and patterns, making it easy to find a style that matches your home decor.
Dimensions of Stair Risers
The dimensions of stair risers are regulated by building codes to ensure a consistent and safe stair-climbing experience. I already shared a bit about this earlier and the issue that our not-to-current-code basement stairs have caused.
According to industry standards, the maximum height of a stair riser should be 7 ¾ inches (19.7 cm), while the minimum height should be 4 inches (10.2 cm). The uniformity of riser height is also important, with no more than ⅜ inch (0.95 cm) variation between successive step surfaces.
It is worth noting that the thickness of stair treads can also affect the dimensions. If the treads are ¾ inch (1.9 cm) thick, for example, the maximum height of the risers should be reduced to 7 inches (17.8 cm) to account for the added thickness of the treads.
The Role of Stair Tread Nosing
Stair tread nosing is the part of the stair tread that protrudes over the edge of the riser, providing additional support and safety to the user. The nosing helps to prevent slips and falls by providing a non-slip surface and increasing the visibility of the edge of each step.
When you are buying pre-made stair case nosing, they are typically going to be a standard dimension of overhang.
Stair tread nosing can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and plastic. Some nosings are designed to be easily replaced, allowing for quick and easy maintenance of the staircase. Others are designed to be integrated into the stair tread itself, providing a seamless look and feel.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the standard height for stair risers?
The standard height for stair risers is usually between 7 and 8 inches. However, building codes can vary by location, so it's important to check with local authorities to ensure compliance.
What materials can be used for stair risers?
Stair risers can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, metal, glass, and even concrete. The choice of material will depend on factors such as durability, aesthetics, and cost.
What is the difference between stair risers and treads?
Stair risers are the vertical part of the stairs that support the treads. Stair treads are the horizontal part of the stairs that people step on.
How do I calculate the number of stair risers I need?
To calculate the number needed, divide the total height of the staircase by the desired height of each riser. For example, if the total height of the staircase is 96 inches and the desired height of each riser is 8 inches, you will need 12 stair risers.
What are the rules for stair treads and risers?
Building codes typically specify the maximum and minimum dimensions for stair treads and risers. The maximum riser height is usually 7 ¾ inches, while the minimum tread depth is usually 10 inches. It's important to check local codes to ensure compliance.
If you are looking for more inspiration, I shared a basement stair ideas post that had lots of great additions that you can add to your space! Or, check out my Pinterest board for even more inspiration!