Stair rope with eye splice and turks head whipping from, makers of stair and bannister rope, rope handrails and barrier ropes in the UK.
Stair Ropes, Bannister Ropes, Handrails and Barrier Rope

Measure up for a Stair Rope

stair rope with brass fittings in situ

For most stair ropes, handrails or rope banisters, it's a simple job to measure up - just fix a length of string or rope to the wall with blu-tac or masking tape at suitable points. Then run the string along a measuring tape, noting the position of each fixing point.

Measure the straight distance between the fittings - the weight of the rope itself will give a natural curve. If a more pronounced decorative drop is required then set the string accordingly, but remember that this will result in some give in the stair rope when it is used for support.

We work with the rope measurement of a stair rope between end bracket centres. Manrope knots on the ends of the stair rope will protrude 6 to 10cm beyond the end fittings when installed.

If a Sailor's eye splice is used as a rope ending instead of a manrope knot, this will make no difference to the total rope measurement.

Some situations require more calculation, such as areas where a stair rope is taken around a corner or on a steep staircase. See below.

Your staircase

Choosing the number of brackets and their position is very much a question of what looks right for your staircase.

hemp stair rope in situ

For a firm handrail, the more brackets you have, the more secure and less wobbly the rope will feel; that said, the rope always has some give in it, and in any case it is locked at each bracket by a cross screw, so you can choose the number of brackets by considering the look you want.

As a rough guide there should be a stair rope fitting at every metre, ideally between 80 and 120cm, although on a steep or spiral staircase, this interval will probably be less.

If you have your own fittings, and wish to send them to us, we can replace the stair rope - please contact us to discuss.

Materials and installation

It is essential to ensure the wall is sound before installing your stair rope. We provide screws and rawlpugs that are suitable for most walls, although please be aware that it is your responsibility to ensure that they are appropriate for your particular installation.

cotton wound with hemp stair rope in Galicia
Stair ropes fittings- wall placement

See the fittings page for details of the screws provided for each type of bracket. Base plates on all stair rope brackets have four countersunk screw holes for securing to the wall. Stair rope brackets will usually be fixed to the wall at an angle corresponding to the slope of the stair way; the rope on a staircase needs to pass smoothly through the rings in the fittings, without forming sharp angles.

Be aware that if the rope changes direction at too sharp an angle at the bracket point - and there is no slack in the rope to soften the path - the rope could wear prematurely by chafing against the edge of the metal ring. This is usualy only relevant on a steep stairway or when turning a corner or changing slope from the stairs to the landing or hall. When installing stair ropes to accomodate inside or outside corners, the change in direction of the rope can be dealt with in several ways; these are detailed in the section below on corners.

The positioning of stair rope fittings on the wall is not so crucial on a shallow incline, or where the rope is deliberately left with some slack for effect (but see above for advice on this). On a steep run, however, with the rope straight and no rope drop between fixing points, the fittings - including the end ones - should be set to allow the rings to accommodate the rope, at the same slant, i.e. align the ring centres to form a line parallel to the slope.

posh stair rope with gunmetal fittings and 2 ply manrope knot
stair rope fittings in brass, chrome and satin
Hemp stair rope with chrome bracket and Matthew Walker Knot tassle end with plaited strands

All brass and stainless steel stair rope fittings, and some wrought iron fittings, have round base plates and can therefore be placed on the wall in any position so that the ring of the bracket allows the rope to run comfortably through.

Wrought iron stair rope brackets with square baseplates require some thought before installation, particulary on a steep staircase. The square shape of the baseplate is designed to sit as a diamond when the rope is running at 45 degrees (steep). If it is set as a square in this instance, the rope will form a kink or wave at each bracket position. This is not necessarily a problem if there is enough slack in the rope to accommodate the wave, but may be an aesthetic consideration.

Brackets with square shaped base plates could affect the overall layout when used to take a rope around a corner. Placing them in a diamond position - as used on a slope and described above - necesitates one bracket to be below another. This is not an issue on a corner arrangement along a sloped wall, but if installing these brackets on a horizontal run, they would need to be placed in their "square" positions to prevent the rope from kinking.

Stair ropes on inside corners

A stair rope can be taken across an inside corner by simply using one bracket set on one side and then continuing with the measurement to the next fixing point on the other wall as suggested in the measuring guide above.

special manila stair rope with brushed steel fittings

Bear in mind that the height of this corner bracket (8 - 9cm) will affect the total rope measurement a little.

Also note that the change of direction made by the rope at the fitting must not be so sharp as to cause chafing between the edge of the bracket ring and the fibres of the rope. If this is a possibility, either allow extra slack in the rope or, the preferred option would be to use two fittings, spaced appropriately. On a right-angled inside corner the formula below works well.

A neat job may be made using two brackets set close in to the corner. The formula for this is outlined below. Note that the rope span across the two corner brackets is HALF the wall measurement between the two brackets. Please also note that this formula will only work where a stair rope tracks a corner on a reasonably horizontal plane.

stair rope corner

As long as the distance from the corner to each fixing point is between 15 and 20cm, and the corner is near enough a right angle, the required rope measurement (between the two corner brackets) will also be between 15 and 20cm - e.g. for a 16cm corner to bracket measurement, the measurement of the rope across the corner will also be 16cm. This formula takes into account the arc of the rope and the heights of the fittings.

Stair ropes on outside corners

An outside corner could be rounded with a continuous length of rope supported by two brackets, or with two separate ropes each terminated by a Manrope stopper knot or a sailor's Eyesplice.

stair rope corner

When measuring for the first option, you should consider the height of the two fittings (8cm) and the space needed for a handhold across the corner (to prevent grazed knuckles!) - bear in mind that the curve of the rope will be greater than the measurement taken on the wall.

If it suits your design, a simpler (but more expensive) method would be to use two separate stair ropes with knots or splices ending either side of the corner.

stair rope corner

Alternatively, a custom made corner fitting - like the one shown right - might provide a solution. These are available in wrought iron only, with a choice of finish including gunmetal, brushed steel, antique bronze, satin gold or satin white. Examples of this bespoke work can be seen on the fittings page, under our custom built wrought iron stair rope brackets.

A stair rope can be a flexible solution for unusual situations such as steep or curving cottage stairways or restricted space in stairwells. Send us details or a plan or image of your particular staircase and we will configure the measurements.

Stair ropes fittings - retaining screws

Stair rope and rope hand rail brackets need to be fixed in position on the rope by means of retaining screws (or locking pins) to prevent slipping and chafing. The rope is locked into place at each bracket by a screw that goes through the rope and locates in a threaded hole in the bracket's stem.

hallway rope

We usually supply stair ropes, bannister ropes and handrails with end brackets in place, and centre or intermediate fitting/s fixed at at centre/even intervals, or at given measurements - according to your stair case requirements.

If you are unsure of exactly where the inner stair rope bracket/s will fit to the wall and would prefer to do this during installation, these brackets can be left "floating" on the rope, and the retaining screws supplied separately, with instructions for fitting on site. The job is slightly unfamiliar but not difficult and would give the fitter a little more flexibility if, for example, the walls were uneven or there were studding behind to locate.

An example stair rope

Here is an example of a measurement taken for a stair rope with unequal bracket intervals, and the respective costing below.

Remember that the measurements required are from bracket to bracket - the knots on the ends of the stair rope will protrude 6 to 10cm beyond the end fittings when installed.

This example is for a 2.7m stair rope with a fitting at each end and two intermediate fittings at intervals of 50cm and 140cm (from left to right), and can be written as   / 50 / 90 / 130 /  , where the forward slashes refer to the brackets and the numbers to the measurements either side.

stair rope measure chart
A stair rope costing

For the above example, the cost (using hemp rope and brass brackets) would be as follows:

The price for the rope should be calculated by rounding up to the nearest half metre.
In this case, 2.7 metres is calculated at a cost of 3m of rope.
A stair rope measurement of 2.2 metres would be calculated at a cost of 2.5m of rope.
There is no need to account for the rope used in the knot - this is included in the price of the knot.

2.7m of 24mm hemp  £ 12.50/m  £  37.50
4 x brass brackets  £ 18.00 each £  72.00
2 x 2ply knots  £ 26.00 each £  52.00
  TOTAL Stair rope cost £ 161.50
Plus Carriage to UK  £ 12.50 £  12.50
TOTAL   Stair Rope Order including UK carriage £ 174.00
Stair ropes complete price list here

Contact Stair

For more advice or information about our bannister ropes and hand rails, and to order a stair rope, you can contact James Watson directly at Stair

Send an e-mail

Full contact details for Stair Ropes. com

24mm navy nylon rope wormed with cotton for stair ropes,bannister rope and rope handrails

Navy nylon 24mm rope hand-wound with cotton cord and brass fitting

All content on this website is © (copyright) 1994-2022 - and Stonk Knots, unless otherwise stated.

Web site design and photography by Witches of The Web

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict Valid CSS!