How to Measure a Staircase

By Mary Smith. Updated: January 16, 2017
How to Measure a Staircase

Would you like to install a staircase in your home and you're not sure how to measure it? All staircases consist of what are called treads and risers and a given angle of the pitch. There are recommended measurements to follow when determining the distance between the tread and the riser.In this article at we'll explain in more detail how to measure a staircase.

You'll need:
  • To calculate the staircase, i.e., you must determine the total rise over the run.
  • A calculator
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Steps to follow:

The "Bondel Law" establishes a relation between risers and treads. The tread is the part of the stair where you step, while the riser is the distance in height between the two treads. There is a general formula to measure the necessary dimensions of a staircase:

  • 2 risers 1 tread = 64cm (25.2 in).

The ideal measurement for the riser is = 18cm (7.08 in) with a tread= 28cm (11.02 in) These are own calculations for designing a staircase.


To understand how to measure a staircase better,we're going to give you an example applying the Bondel Law we've just mentioned. Imagine we want to install a staircase with a height of 3 meters (9.85 ft.), do the following calculations and convert to feet and inches, if you'd prefer.

  • Calculate the number of stairs: 3 m (9.85 ft.) = 300 cm, So 300/18 = 16.6. Always round up on the rise, so the amount of risers is 17.
  • Calculate the risers:Do the following calculations: 300 cm/17 = 17.65 cm (will be the height of the risers).
  • Calculate the length of the tread: We know that 2 risers + 1 tread= 64 cm (25.2 in), so 64 cm - 2. (17.65) = the tread = 28.7 cm or (11.3 in).

The riser should be 18 cm (7.08 in) or lower, and the tread shouldn't be shorter than 28 cm (11.3 in).

How to Measure a Staircase - Step 2

We also need to take into account the width of our stairs. The width sizes will depend on where the stairs are leading and the needs of your project. In public buildings the width should be between 1.5 - 2.3 m (4ft 11 in - 7 ft 6.5 in), in collective housing with a lift they should be at least 1 m wide (3ft 3 in) and 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in) if it doesn't have a lift; individual housing should have stairs with a width of 0.8 m (2 ft 7 in).

You should also take into account that each 14-18 steps you should add a resting point which should be three treads wide.


When you have your staircase ready, it's the right moment to proceed with its decoration. If the staircase you have been calculating for is in your home, decorate it with a banister of your choice; moreover, a banister will give you the possibility of hanging decorative elements from it such as LED lights or artificial plants.

Another good idea to decorate a staircase is to put a big every two or three steps; if you light them at night you'll achieve a beautiful corner in your house.

How to Measure a Staircase - Step 4

Width of the staircase. The width dimensions depend on the pitch of the staircase and the requirements of the project. In public buildings, the width must be between 1.50-2.30m (4.93-7.55 ft.), and in shared housing, 1.30-1.50m (4.27-4.93 ft.). If there's a lift, there's a minimum width of 1 m (3.28 ft.), and if there's no lift, there's a limit of 1.20m (3.94 ft.). Lastly, in individual dwellings, a width of 0.8m (2.63 ft.) is the standard.


Also, every 14-18 steps , it's necessary to install a landing , whose length must equal 3 treads.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Measure a Staircase, we recommend you visit our DIY & decorating category.

  • Requirements include a floor surface that's anti-slip and resistant to wear and that includes safety features like a handrail, for example.
  • Likewise, ramps enable disability access and require minimal effort. The staircase pitch shouldn't exceed 15° due to the great length required.

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