Project overview.

This is a Georgian property, the ground to second floor flight are of stone cantilevered construction with metal balustrade, second to fifth floor flights are of timber construction with newel posts at each change of direction.

The project involves restoring the ground to first floor flight and then blending in the top three floors in a manner that will suit the period of the property.

The project had already been started so we will continue from the stage the project was at before we became involved.

Some of the technical terms that may be used in this article.

Stringer: The sides of the staircase that hides the ends of treads.

Newel stub: The bottom part of a newel post, into which the stringers attach.

Nosing: The part of the tread that hangs over the tread below or projects over the edge of a landing.

Fascia: The vertical face to a landing.

Initial survey and findings.

Ground to first floor flight.

This flight is covered and protected so only a limited description is currently available.

The ground to first floor staircase is a cantilevered stone flight, this is a new flight as the original had fallen into disrepair and was not possible to be saved, the new flight is a replica of the original flight.

The original handrail and metalwork have been removed for reinstatement.

The metalwork has been cleaned ready for refinishing.

The handrail has been stored ready for stripping back, repairing and refitting.

The new stone staircase has been fitted and is provisionally marked out for the balusters sockets to be cut in.

Ground to first floor handrail component.
ground to first floor handrail

First floor landing.

The first floor landing nosing is a combination of the original flight and the new ground to first floor flight.

The start of the nosing being a new top nosing while the rest of the landing is the original nosing.

The new part has not yet had the sockets set in for the balustrade while the nosing leading to the second flight has the original sockets already set in.

New stone nosing.
New stone nosing.

First to second floor flight.

The first to second floor flight is an original flight, the original metal balustrade and timber handrail are still in situ.

On the exposed sections of the handrail, there is damage visible to the bottom of the profile.

The handrail appears to have been carved and molded in place, this is due to the way the sections of the handrail have been joined through the 3D turns, with splice joints rather than a square cut, butted joint.

The metalwork is painted and still requires stripping back ready for a fresh finish to be applied.

Handrail damage and splice joint.
Handrail damage and splice joint.

Second floor landing.

The second floor landing is comprised of the original top nosing from the stone flight and a ply covered area, the landing layout has been altered; this is evident by the molding of the top tread.

The design to the layout of the landing has not been properly considered and thus the ply covering butts into the top nosing and overhangs the landing fascia.

Second floor landing.
Second floor landing.

Second to fourth floor flights.

On initial inspection these appear to be a cast concrete staircases that have been clad to give the appearance of a timber flight.

This is partly due to the positioning of the newel posts and the way the stringers are connected at the corners, e.g. the top of the stringers do not come to level before overlapping, this will not allow for any moldings to be added.

There has been no consideration taken into account for how the stringers transition into the skirtings.

Concrete risers can be seen at the quarter space landings and the stringers appear to extend below the timber stringers.

The landings have have the ply projecting over the landing fascia as at 2nd floor.

3rd floor quarter space landing.
3rd floor quarter space landing.

Fourth floor landing.

The fourth floor landing comprises of the top newel from the third to fourth floor flight, with a glass panel set behind it into the landing area.

The ply flooring runs out beyond the landing fascia, this ply will require trimming back to behind the glass panel and a new nosing fitted.

Glass panel nosing.
Glass panel nosing.

Work required.

Ground to second floor.

These flights have a panelled metal balustrade, much of this is original. Some alterations have been made due to the ground to first floor flight having been replaced due to damage beyond repair.

A new feature end at the start of the handrail will be required,

The original part may be used with some additional carving to enhance the detail.

Alternatively a new part may be made with a more refined design to enhance the feature of the Monkey’s tail.

The Monkey’s tail will be small due to the amount of offset from the handrail centre line to the centre position of the Monkey’s tail circular section.

Where possible the existing components will be used.

The transition from the first straight section through the 90º wreathing turn into the second straight section will need surveying and a new part made.

The metalwork for the gooseneck transition from flight to landing at the second floor will need adjusting to allow for the timber handrail sections to mitre over.

M tail CL offset with handrail.
M tail CL offset with handrail.
M tail CL offset without handrail.
M tail CL offset without handrail.

Second to fourth floor.

A quick video overview showing some of the details that require adjustment.

Newel posts.

All the tops of the newel posts should be above the top of the stringers, this is to allow for any newel turns that are to be fitted to have a complete newel stub to be fitted too.

The bottom of the newels should extend below the bottom of the stringers and ceiling line, this is to allow for a full newel to which the finials or newel drops may be fitted.

The stringers do not show any signs of the traditional mortice and tenon that would be required to connect the stringers to the newel posts that would carry the load of the staircase, this is one of the reasons the staircase looks as though it is a preformed concrete flight that has been clad to look like a timber staircase.

These newels will need extending to finish at the correct postion.

One newel is missing altogether and will need to be installed.

Newels cut short.
Newels cut short.

extended newels.
extended newels.

Newel post construction.

Newel block dressing.

Rounding the stubs.

calculating the turn height.

Well stringers.

In some places the timber well strings finish above the structural well strings and staircase soffit, this leaves the structural part of the flight visible from the sides, to remedy this, the bottom of the stringers will need to extended down and trimmed to match the soffit.

In some section there is a rebated section and staff bead detail to the bottom of the stringers, this will need to be removed and a new section added back in to follow the structural part of the flight.

strutural flight showing below stringer
structural flight showing below timber stringer.


NB: The images in this section are indicative only and may have some incorrect detailing.

Between newels.

A traditional way of fitting the handrail is straight lengths of handrail between newel posts.

The handrail would be set into a top block on the lower post but would terminate into the newel stub or below any turned section of newel post, this is on parts of the flight that have winders or multiple treads set around the post.

when only one or maybe two treads are set around the post then there would be a second handrail block set into the turned section of the newel.

The height of this block would be adjusted to suit the height of the handrail.

landing handrail blocks.
landing handrail blocks.
newel post mid flight
newel post mid flight
Goosenecked over newels.

Another traditional way of fitting the handrail, is to sweep the top end of the handrail up in a gooseneck and mitre back over into an opening cap.

The bottom of each run would have an under ramp leading into an opening cap that is set over the newel post.

This will normally have very tall spindles at the top of the flight to be able to reach from the tread up to the underside of the handrail.

This style of handrail would have been used in high end properties but this allowed for the user t be able to use the handrail to steady themselves rather than having to move their grip from the handrail to the newel post as they turned through sections of staircase that had winder treads set around the newel post.

Landing handrail goosenecked.
Landing handrail goosenecked.
Mid flight handrail goosenecked.
Mid flight handrail goosenecked.
Continuous handrail.

This style of flight does not lend itself to continuous or geometric handrail,

The flight has been constructed with newels at each change of direction, these newels are a structural part of the flight and as such should not be removed.

This means that there are sharp corners at each change of direct rather than curves for the handrail to flow around, any deviation in the handrail flow to that of the strings will mean that the handrail will come off the side of the stringers and the spindles will miss the stringer capping into which they should sit.