Graphical Construction Glossary >> stairs. >> general >> Step Rise and Tread

The vertical rise between two levels. In stair construction a step has two components, The vertical distance measurement of travel known as the rise and the horizontal distance measurement known as the going.
A vertical distance measurement from one step to another. It is derived from the division of the total finished floor to floor distance into equal spaces.
A physical piece of timber, steel or concrete etc. that forms the vertical part of a stair flight. Many stair flights do not have risers.
The horizontal measurement of the distance travelled with each step.
A physical piece of timber, steel or concrete etc. that forms the horizontal part of a stair flight. In some texts the term tread is synominous with going, but this can cause confusion as many times a tread is wider than the going.
Toe Space
An allowance added to the width of a tread, usually by overhanging the riser face by 30mm or so. It provide extra space for the toes to make for a comfortable stair flight. Also used in kitchen cupboards and Wardrobes.


Toe or toe space. In the above sketch:-
A). shows a stair with no risers, and the treads are wider than the going by an allowance for toe space. In open stairs like this, the toe space is infinite.
B). Shows a section through a conventional timber stair with the tread overhanging the riser by an amount for toe space.
C). Shows a section through a concrete stair with an inward sloping riser to create toe space.

Stairs built without toe space, particulary steep ones are abominations and a permanent reminder of the ignorance and incompetance of their builders.

Below is a table that appears in the BCA (Building Code Of Australia and while it may not be exactly the same as your own code, it is a good basis to work on for anyone who has not got a code to work to.


Stair rise and going dimensions in MM

Note! The table above is for straight flights of steps. Landings are exluded from the slope relationship calculations. For Rise and Going dimensions for spiral stairs and winders see the relevant pages.

The slope ratio of twice the RISE plus the GOING  stops you from choosing a slope that is a bit extreme, like a maximum or minimum (G) and (R) together.

A single step, that is one rise in between two level areas in residential construction, as far as I know is not mentioned in building regulations, so I guess that it must comply somewhere with the tabel above. The table states the maximum of 190. so if the difference in level is 250, then put in two steps at 125 rise.

To recap. Rise and Going are dimensions used in calculations and setting out stair flights and landings.

Treads and Risers are physical materials.

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Please Note! The information on this site is offered as a guide only!  When we are talking about areas where building regulations or safety regulations could exist,the information here could be wrong for your area.  It could be out of date!  Regulations breed faster than rabbits!
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