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Are open riser staircases safe?

modern open riser staircase

Open risers are one of our most popular design options here at Multi-Turn. More and more customers are opting for this contemporary style when building or renovating their homes and it’s easy to see why!

However, one question we often get asked is whether open riser staircases are safe. The gap between the treads is, understandably, one of the main causes of concern for both self-builders or renovators who are designing their stairs and even potential buyers at viewings of new build developments – especially those with young families.

So, are open riser staircases safe?

In short, yes! Provided it’s built to stringent UK building regulations, there is no reason why an open riser staircase wouldn’t be safe. When working with a specialist manufacturer like Multi-Turn, we’ll take complete responsibility of this on your behalf; we’ll take our own measurements using the latest technology and will ensure your final design conforms to regulatory requirements.

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Why choose an open riser staircase?

Open riser stairs are commonly selected by customers who have more open floor plans or as part of projects where an area needs brightening up. They can give the perception of a large, spacious interior and are a great way to make a home feel warmer and more welcoming. What’s not to love?

Open riser design options

Building regulations state that all stairs should be constructed with an overlap of at least 16mm between treads and that a 100mm sphere should not be able to fit through a gap at any point. Because of this, open riser staircases are generally never ‘fully’ open. Instead, partial risers or bars are often used to reduce the gap and any risk.

Timber downstand

timber downstand on open riser stairs

Timber downstands are a simple addition to the design where strips of wood sit underneath each tread. With this project, we used the downstand to give the appearance of a thicker tread. Combined with glass balustrades, this staircase added a modern and sleek finish to our client’s home.

Glass downstand

glass downstand on open riser

Reflective of modern 21st century design, glass downstands add a sleek twist to a staircase without losing as much of the ‘open’ feel as you can sometimes do with timber downstands. You can also add spot lighting to the strings to highlight each step, too.

Metal bars

metal bars on open riser staircase

Metal bars can be inserted to reduce the gap between the treads of an open riser staircase. The same metal was used for both the tread bars and beautifully detailed spindles as part of this project for a client who wanted a unique but minimalist design.

If you’re looking for stairs that rise to the occasion, get in touch! Our expert team have years of experience with building and safety regulations, meaning you can be confident your project is in safe hands. Call us on 01962 712299 or email


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