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Stair Spindles FAQs

Iron stair spindles are a great way to add some character to your home decor. A staircase is often the first feature people see when entering your home so why would you settle for anything but the best first impression? The high-grade metal casting of our stair spindles gives a reassuring sense of sturdiness and quality, which woods such as pine or oak just cannot offer.

Black powder-coated spindles stand out particularly well against natural wood grains, and stainless steel or chrome finishes will add a more contemporary aesthetic to your stairway. Whatever theme you are aiming for, we have something to offer in our stair spindle range.

Stair Spindles in Situ

It may seem a little daunting thinking about ripping out your existing wooden or metal spindles, but with the right advice, you can update your staircase easily and affordably.

The following guide is intended as an overview of the current safety regulations for fitting spindles/balusters to your home staircase. Before installing or replacing stair spindles, we would always advise that you contact a building inspector if you are unsure about your compliance with building safety regulations. For best results, it is advised that installation is carried out by a professional tradesperson. 

How many stair spindles do I need?

How many are too many? Well, hopefully we can answer that one for you. Current regulations on spindle/baluster spacing require that you aren’t able to pass a 100mm sphere between the gaps, preventing children climbing through the spaces and providing a barrier to prevent falls and slips. The guidance applies to both landing and angled staircase fittings. See below for more information on how to calculae how many stair spindles you will need. 

You can now have some fun playing with your desired design by simply sketching out your staircase, adding the dimensions of each stair, and then trying out different combinations of spindle types. Once you know the width of the spindle itself you can work out the number you need by adding these dimensions to your sketch, with the 100mm gap giving you an idea of the number you will need to order.

The human eye is naturally drawn to symmetry, so alternating between plain and more ornate styles can be a winner and is very satisfying to look at.

Alternating Stair Spindles

Another idea to consider is whether a ripple effect might be more effective. Starting with your central spindle as a basket with double fine twist, then moving out to several (depending on how many spindles you need) double fine twists and finally to single twist or plain.

Which brackets do I need to fit my stair spindles?

There are two types of standard bracket available that can be used on most projects. The difference depends on whether you are fitting on a landing/balustrade or an angled staircase handrail.

Rake Brackets (Pictured Left) – The opening on these brackets is rectangular, allowing for squared spindles to be fitted at an angle. These are threaded with a grub screw provided to secure the spindle in place at the desired length.

Landing Brackets (Pictured Right) – A square opening for spindles to be fitted vertically on a landing or balcony. These are threaded and locked in place by way of a grub screw.

Stair Spindles Brackets

Can I cut these stair spindles down to a custom size? 

Yes, but only on certain styles and designs. All of our stair spindles have a spindle height of between 850mm-950mm which fit a standard staircase but if you are looking for something a bit smaller, check out our custom size stair spindle page. There are some restrictions on the amount that can be removed from each spindle depending on the design as it may not be possible to cut part way down a fine twist, bold twist, or basket spindle.  Please note that custom sizes can only be created with stair spindles that have removal brackets.  We do recommend using a trusted tradesperson to cut these stair spindles down however we do offer a cutting service, with a starting price of £3.50 per spindle (dependent on style and quantity). For more information about our custom size stair spindles and our cutting service, please call our friendly sales team on 0800 6888 386. Please note that we cannot accept returns on custom sized stair spindles. 

STAIR SPINDLE CALCULATIONS 

Stair spindles are the most important part of any staircase. Not only do they provide a support between your handrail and base rail, they add the finishing touches to any staircase and most importantly provide that all important health and safety aspect to your home or commercial area.

The big question on everyone’s mind before they purchase the right product is ‘how many do I need?’.  Current building regulations state that a 100mm sphere should not be able to pass through any opening.  As a result, your maximum space between each spindle is 99mm.  Theory is that young children should not be able to fit their head through the gap and potentially fall or injure themselves down the stairs.

For most spindles, you can apply a generic rule of thumb that for every step on your staircase, you need two (2) spindles.  The easiest and quickest way to calculate this is to count the number of steps, otherwise known as treads, and multiply that by two. We always suggest buying at least two extra spindles in case of miscalculations.

But here at Black Country Metal Works we like to check, check, and check again our calculations to ensure we have the right number.  In order to comply with building regulations and as a way of double checking the quick rule of thumb calculation, we have come up with a simple formula for working out the exact number of stair spindles you will need. 

Based on our spindle width of 15mm and a maximum space between each spindle of 99mm, we have come up with this handy calculation.  However, this space between each spindle is entirely down to personal and aesthetic preference, as long as it doesn’t exceed that 99mm width. Make sure you round up to the nearest whole number if your calculation has a decimal point.

ITEMS YOU’LL NEED FOR THIS CALCULATION:
1 X TAPE MEASURE
1 X CALCULATOR
1 X HUMAN

For spindles going up a banister or staircase:

RAIL LENGTH  -   SPINDLE WIDTH (15mm)
SPINDLE WIDTH (15mm)  + SPACING (99mm)


Example 1 : 

3125mm – 15mm
15mm + 99mm      total: 27.28  = 28 spindles needed (make sure you round up) 

Example 2: 

1500mm – 15mm 
15mm + 99mm     total: 13.02 = 14 spindles needed (make sure you round up)


If you are purchasing stair spindles for the landing, then the below calculation should be applied. Here we use 80mm as the spindle spacing as we find it works and looks best.  Either way, make sure you round up to the nearest whole number if your calculation has a decimal point.  

LANDING LENGTH – SPACING (80mm)
SPACING (80mm) + SPINDLE WIDTH (15mm) 

Once you know how many you need, don’t forget to order two brackets for each spindle, unless they come attached (this will be indicated in the product description).

Please note that we always recommend a qualified tradesperson is used when calculating or installing stair spindles to ensure correct safety and building regulations are met. 

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