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26 June 2020

Mostly when you walk up or down a stairway in New Zealand you don’t even think about whether the journey was comfortable or not. That’s how it should be. But easy stair travel doesn’t happen by chance. The design of our stairs includes not only the style you love, but also the best rise and run formula for your space and layout.

Rise and Run

The combination of risers and treads on a stairway is called the rise and run. The rise is the vertical section while the run is simply another word for tread.
You’ll find out more about stair jargon in our post ‘What are the Parts of a Stair?’.

Floor to floor height

Your stair provider will take the measurement from the finished floor on one level to the finished surface of the level above. This is called the height from FFL to FFL (finished floor level).

It’s a measurement that can vary, as in New Zealand a ceiling height of 2.1 metres is permissible for existing houses and a minimum of 2.4 metres for new construction.

Considering that a 2.7 metre or more ceiling height is not unusual, the number of treads in a flight of stairs often differs from house to house.

So why not just use the NZ minimum + maximum?

  1. Because the rise almost always needs to be adjusted down from the code maximum, in order to fit the building’s floor to floor height.
  2. Most people find stairs more comfortable at lower slopes.

Try this formula for a comfortable stride

  • r+R=46cm
    Research shows that a rise plus run (r+R) of 46cm is a comfortable stride for most people. Less than 43cm will require strides that will be too short for most people, while more than 48cm will likely be too much of a stretch.
    The maximum rise for main private stairways in New Zealand is 190mm, and the minimum run or tread length is 280mm.

That gives us: 190mm(r) + 280mm(R) = 470mm or 47cm – close enough to 46cm

As the height of the rise goes down, the run needs to lengthen, so if you lower your rise to make a stair more accessible, remember that the run should lengthen by the same amount.

We typically design our stairs with a riser height around or slightly above 180mm which is a comfortable height.

Of course, all Stylecraft stairs conform to the New Zealand building code, but more than that, our team of designers and craftspeople are there to deliver a beautiful stair minus the hassle.

If you have a project you need help with, contact us by email or phone 04 237 5845 for a consultation.

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