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Standard Sizes for Staircases & How to Calculate Their Dimensions

There’s so much more to a successful staircase renovation than simply picking out your favorite wooden newel posts or beautiful stain color. When renovating an existing staircase or adding another story to the home, knowing the standard size for staircases and its features plays a vital role in the creation of this masterpiece!

As a custom woodshop for more than a decade, we’ve helped hundreds of homeowners achieve the staircase design ideas they’ve always dreamt of. Our experts have put together this guide to walk you through finalizing the specifics for your project by reviewing the average length of a staircase, and how to get the right measurements to share with our craftsmen.

Stay tuned to learn all about the standard sizes for staircases, as well as how to calculate handrail dimensions yourself and where to order quality, custom pieces. Keep reading to learn more – or contact our friendly office staff today for personalized assistance in calculating stair dimensions.

*We recommend reading this short blog, “What are the different parts of a staircase called?” for a helpful background before diving into this detailed guide.


What is the Average Length of a Staircase?

Whether you’re renovating a hazardous and outdated set of stairs or you’re simply redesigning them for a richer appeal, knowing the average length of a staircase is a crucial part in ANY staircase renovation.

The standard size for a staircase in a residential home is typically between 9 and 12 feet long; although, this can vary depending on the height of your ceiling.

how to measure the standard sizes for staircases

To accurately calculate the length of your staircase, measure the distance between the floor on your first level and the floor of your second level carefully. If you are working with a contractor (which we strongly encourage you to do!), they may refer to this measurement as the “rise”. Remember to leave headroom for usability by subtracting 6-7 feet from the total rise. Finally, divide that number by 9 inches to find the total number of stairs your new staircase will need to be completed perfectly.

To summarize, the average length of a residential staircase is between 9 and 12 feet. Determining the length of your staircase is as easy as follows:

  1. Measure the distance from the floor of your first level to the floor of your second level.
  2. Subtract 6-7 feet from that number for headroom and usability.
  3. Divide that number by 9 inches to determine the length of your staircase AND the number of individual steps you’ll need to complete your renovation!


Common Handrail Dimensions & How to Accurately Measure for Them 

Next, let’s talk about the part of the staircase that provides an invaluable combination of personal style and stability: handrails!

how to measure handrails

Although there is a beautiful range of custom staircase ideas, materials, styles, and shapes within contemporary handrail designs, the standard size for a staircase handrail is consistently between 1.5”-3” thick.

When ordering a new handrail for your staircase, you can find the handrail dimensions, like total length, by measuring the horizontal distance from the step’s nosing at the foot of the staircase to the nosing at the final, top step. Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll have the handrail dimensions you need for constructing your ideal staircase!

Learn more about different staircase handrails and accessory ideas here.


Standard Size of Steps

Perhaps one of the most important parts of a staircase is the steps themselves.  Choosing a stair length and step design is a key component to ensuring your home’s aesthetic is complimented well while also being provided with the proper support and stability.

how to calculate the standard size of steps

Typically, the standard size of steps is around 7 inches in height (rise), 9-10 inches in depth (run), and 22-36 inches in tread length for maximum convenience among family members of all ages. However, checking your local building codes can sometimes provide a more specific size recommended for your home!

For accurately calculating stair dimensions, begin by dividing the rise of your step by the number of steps that was determined in the section above. This will tell you exactly how tall each stair step can be! Next, find the total run of each step by multiplying the individual run of the step by the number of intended steps on the staircase that was determined earlier.

While some aspects of measuring the standard size for staircases can be easily done yourself, renovation design and installation is often best left to the professionals. At TurnTech, we highly recommend every homeowner partner with a local contractor to ensure precision when calculating stair dimensions and building with safety.


Calculate Stair Dimensions & Prices Instantly – with TurnTech!

grand staircase renovation

Now that you know all about the standard size of staircase, it’s time to order your materials!

Based in Lancaster County, PA, TurnTech believes in the high-quality, handmade craftsmanship of woodworking. Our team custom crafts nearly any idea you can imagine from an ornate Victorian staircase to an elegant fireplace design. Simply send us a picture or drawing of the stairs you’d like to replicate, as well as the wood type, quantity, and calculated staircase dimensions for us to give you a free quote!

Ready to bring your vision for your staircase to life? Browse our online gallery of REAL custom staircase remodel projects TurnTech has had the privilege to help create! Or , try our custom quote calculator now to receive instant information on the cost of your project – or, connect with a member of our team for a consultation or questions by giving us a call at 717.954.0055.

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