Timber staircases are an integral part of many homes across the UK. While the design and manufacture of a staircase is key to its integrity and effectiveness, it’s just as important to install it right.

Poor installation can cause the stability of the stair to be reduced and lead to failure.

Check out our top tips for installing a staircase as outlined in the British Woodworking Federation Stair Scheme Installation Guide.

How to install a staircase properly

When installing timber staircases make sure you focus on these key things:

  • Plan the delivery of the stair to be close to the time when it will be installed to ensure the minimum time of site storage. If necessary, store them in clean, well ventilated places protected from damp and direct sunlight. Keep long items flat on bearers.
  • The finished size of the stair shouldn’t be the same as the sizes measured on site – this won't give any flexibility when you’re installing the stair and won’t allow parts of the flight to be manoeuvred into position.
  • The minimum headroom over the flight and landing should be 2m.
  • Ensure the staircase you are installing will support the loads of both the flights and the balustrades.
  • You must support the stair until all the fixings to the surrounding structure are in place.
  • Quarter landings and half landings need to support the same loads as the floors of the property.
  • Floor joists should be let into the walls (but not into cavities) for support or be supported by joist hangers.
  • A handrail on its own can’t act as a safety barrier. The full guarding system needs to work together to prevent people from falling through or over it.
  • Don’t use a stair until it’s securely fixed in place.

For more information on installing staircases why not download your free copy of the British Woodworking Federation Stair Scheme Installation Guide.


Please Note: Every care was taken to ensure the information in this article was correct at the time of publication. Any written guidance provided does not replace the reader’s professional judgement and any construction project should comply with the relevant Building Regulations or applicable technical standards. However, for the most up to date LABC Warranty technical guidance please refer to your Risk Management Surveyor and the latest version of the LABC Warranty technical manual.

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