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Open Riser vs Closed Riser Staircases: Which Is Best For Your Property?

In today's world, staircases are no longer just functional elements of a home; staircase designs have evolved and become an essential part of a room's overall aesthetic. As one of the first features a homeowner or visitor encounters upon entry, staircases can be the key to a lasting impression.

When it comes to open vs closed stair risers, the choice really is a matter of personal preference and practical requirements. Depending on the setting and style of the home, some may benefit from the openness and modernity of open risers, while others may prefer the traditional and classic look of closed risers.

The decision lies in what fits the homeowner's specific needs and enhances the overall aesthetic of the space.

In this post, let’s explore the differences between the two, whilst highlighting the best applications for both stair types.

The Differences Between Riser And Treads For Stairs

Before we delve deeper into the subject, it’s important to highlight some key staircase terminology. Keep in mind that open risers and open treads are not the same.

The stair "riser" refers to the vertical space between one step and another, while the "tread" is the horizontal part of the step that a person stands on.

However, open/closed treads and open/closed risers are often used interchangeably to mean the same thing, despite the slight technical inaccuracy.

stair risers diagram and terminology

What Are Closed Riser Stairs?

Closed riser stairs have a full timber riser between each tread, closing the gap between each step. This is the most conventional type of staircase, and you’re likely to see them in a variety of settings.

They are easy to install, and cost-effective, making them a solid choice for building contractors looking to build modern homes at scale.

wooden straight staircase with wooden panel wall

This is a beautiful example of closed riser staircase we built for Lovedon Fields. Striking wooden balusters were used to give the space a modern and stylish look; which blends superbly with the contemporary interior of each home.

What Are The Benefits Of Closed Riser Staircases?

Closed riser stairs are common in most homes in the UK, and aside from the properties mentioned above, closed-tread stairs boast a variety of benefits.

Closed Riser Provides Additional Storage

When space is at a premium, it becomes even more crucial for housebuilders to optimize storage capacity within the home. This is when you can leverage the underside of a closed tread staircase as an additional storage area, or even as a functional work or study space.

Closed Riser Stairs Are Aesthetically Versatile

Don't let the misconception of ‘traditional closed tread means old’ hold you back from embracing the beauty of closed-tread stairs. There are ample variations in design when it comes to close-tread stairs. They’re ideal for both modern and classic aesthetics, creating a classic, contemporary feel to a home.

white and mahogany split staircase with carpet runner

An example of how closed-tread stairs can create a classic, contemporary feel to a home

What Are Open Riser Stairs?

An open riser staircase is a stunning design choice that adds a touch of modernity and sophistication to any space. With a sleek, straight profile and unobstructed views through each step, the open riser creates a sense of openness and airiness that makes it a perfect fit for homes with an open floor plan.

You’re more likely to see an open riser staircase in a modern home or contemporary commercial setting, and they can be designed to fit any style of stairs, including the traditional straight staircase or the spiral curved staircase.

open riser staircase with glass balustrade

What Are The Benefits Of Open Riser Staircases?

Open stair risers are gaining traction among architects, contractors, and homeowners alike due to their transparency and the unique elegant, airy atmosphere they bring to the room. Beyond their minimalist aesthetic, open riser staircases offer a practical benefit as well.

Open Riser Staircases Create A Spacious Feeling

The most obvious advantage of the open riser is the passage of natural light it facilitates. The gaps between the steps allow natural light to flood through the space, creating a brighter and more spacious feel, making them a great addition to an open-plan layout.

Open Riser Staircases Allows Great Design Flexibility

Open risers can be built to suit a variety of styles. Whether you prefer a sleek and modern look with a glass downstand, a natural and minimalist aesthetic with a timber downstand, or even a touch of industrial style with a stainless-steel rod, the open riser can be tailored to your personal taste and home's decor. The design flexibility makes it a versatile and timeless design.

an open riser staircase with glass balustrade

A Common Question: Are Closed Riser Staircases Safer?

One question we often get asked is whether open riser staircases are safe. It's a valid 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.

However, stairs with open risers are just as safe as closed riser staircases when built within UK building regulations, which stipulate that the gap between the tread and rise should be no more than 100mm.

Finding Your Perfect Stair Riser…

Both styles of stair riser offer excellent aesthetic appeal, but ultimately, it comes down to personal preference, practicality and its suitability to your project’s requirement.

We understand that choosing between an open or closed tread staircase comes with a lot of caveats. That's why our team of experts is here to guide you through the process and help you make the right decision for your specific needs. Our team can work with you to assess your requirements and find the perfect solution for your project.

Seek out staircase experts like Multiturn to make sure all your staircases fit perfectly the first time around through comprehensive site survey, dry assembly, and on-time in full delivery according to your schedule.

Get in touch with us today and see how we can help bring you Staircase Success in your next project!

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