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

Ropes for Stair Ropes & Handrails


Our natural fibre stair ropes are top of the range four strand ropes, manufactured specifically to our requirements. They feel comfortable to hold, are well constructed and will prove to be reliable and long lasting. All the ropes we supply for stair ropes, rope handrails and bannister ropes have been chosen for their superior features and sustainable characteristics.

The ropes we supply are made from natural hemp and cotton fibres and are available in 32mm or 24mm diameters. We also stock a high grade synthetic alternative (P.O.S.H.) to 32mm hemp. Our coloured ropes include a 4-strand 24mm green in P.O.S.H. and coloured 24mm ropes in standard polyester. See below for more details.

We also produce a range of decorative speciality ropes which are individually hand-made to order and combine different rope strands in both natural and synthetic fibres. Below are examples of all the ropes we use to make stair bannister ropes, rope handrails and barrier ropes.

Natural fibre Rope

Natural fibre ropes are good choices for a stair rope, bannister rope or hand rail. Ropes such as hemp or cotton feel pleasant to hold and integrate well with both traditional and modern interiors.

hemp rope 32mm for stair ropes,bannister rope and rope handrails

Hemp rope
24mm and 32mm

Traditionally produced ropes use natural fibres like hemp, cotton or manila. The quality or grade of rope will depend on the type of material used and the process of construction.

Hemp is a very stable rope, smooth looking, extremely hard wearing and tends not to show the marks. Hemp rope has a warm natural buff colour and a definite natural odour, which will vary from batch to batch, depending on the harvest. Generally, the smell will tend to disappear (or you will get used to it) after a few weeks. If you are at all unsure on this, please ask for a sample of rope first. Our 4 strand hemp stair rope is available in 24mm and 32mm diameters.

We use a superior quality hemp rope manufactured by machine to industrial specifications. This is a hard laid (tightly twisted) rope, which feels firm to hold, is highly resistant to abrasion and scuffing, and has a breaking load of 4 tons upwards - way above the requirements for a stair rope! The four strand construction enables a tighter lay to be achieved in the manufacturing process, producing a firmer rope with virtually no stretch.

cotton rope for stair ropes,bannister rope and rope handrails

Cotton rope
24mm and 32mm

Cotton rope is softer to the touch than hemp, and is a natural (unbleached) white colour. It looks very smart and is often combined with brass fittings in a nautical setting.

Care is needed to prevent marks from showing - an upholstery spray may be applied to protect the rope or, to remove small stains, a soft nailbrush with soapy water is effective.

Our Cotton stair rope is - like the hemp rope we supply - a high quality 4 strand, hard laid rope. It has a particularly smooth feel to it, and is available to order in 24mm and 32mm diameter.

Natural Ropes to order

Natural ropes for stair ropes and barrier ropes are available in the following diameters:

Synthetic rope

Synthetic fibre ropes are available in black, green, navy, red and natural beige. Many synthetic ropes are more weather and damp resistant than natural ropes, making them particularly suitable for outdoor applications.

24mm 4 strand pale p.o.s.h. rope for stair ropes,bannister rope and rope handrails

  P.O.S.H. rope, beige

Our natural coloured synthetic rope for stair ropes is available in a pale beige colour and is suitable for 32mm diameter fittings. This rope is an excellent quality 4 strand spun polyester rope with a good texture and low stretch factor - the closest imitation to best quality hemp, and far superior to the widely available polypropylene based 'synthetic hemp' ropes.

P.O.S.H. rope has high strength, is smooth to the touch and made with an enhanced U.V. inhibitor, making it extremely weather resistant. It was developed for the world of classic working rigs, where the combination of good looks, durability and performance are of paramount importance.

We also stock a 24mm 4-strand P.O.S.H. rope in a mid-green colour.

Our other 24mm diameter coloured ropes come in black, navy and red polyester. These ropes are high quality, medium-laid with a 3-strand construction and are firm and smooth to hold. The black and navy ropes have a sheeny appearance, the red rope slightly less so.

Polyester ropes generally have a softer texture and are closer in feel to a natural rope than all other available synthetics. Compared to polypropylene or nylon, polyester fibre rope is the most durable for exterior applications. The best of these is P.O.S.H. rope, made using a superior spun polyester fibre and extremely resistant to colour and fibre degradation from UV light.

green p.o.s.h. rope for stair ropes,bannister rope and rope handrails

P.O.S.H rope - green

black p.o.s.h. rope for stair ropes,bannister rope and rope handrails

P.O.S.H rope - black∗

∗ Black P.O.S.H out of stock. Alternative product is black polyester rope.

red polyester rope for stair ropes,bannister rope and rope handrails

Polyester rope - red

navy nylon rope for stair ropes,bannister rope and rope handrails

Nylon rope - navy∗

∗ Navy nylon out of stock. Alternative product is navy polyester rope.

Synthetic Ropes to order

Synthetic ropes for stair ropes and barrier ropes are available in the following diameters:

Speciality ropes

Our Speciality wound ropes are hand-made and incorporate multiple strands laid together around a rope core using a technique known as "worming".

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

Cotton rope with hemp cord
24mm and 32mm

"Worm and parcel with the lay, turn about and serve away"

This refrain is from the days when natural fibre ropes were treated with various protective layers to keep the water and grit from penetrating the centre of the rope.

Worming a rope is twisting a smaller diameter cord into the gap between the strands of a large rope, parceling is wrapping a strip of canvas around the rope; these are both done with the lay (direction of twist) of the rope and then the serving (a continuous binding or whipping with still smaller diameter cord) is put in against the lay (ie. in the opposite direction).

Natural wound ropes

Using the traditional sailor's technique, hemp and cotton fibre ropes and cord are twisted together (or wormed) to produce an attractive two tone rope in natural shades. A synthetic equivalent in beige high grade polyester rope may also be ordered.

Four lengths of small diameter cord are wound into the lay of the base rope (24mm or 32mm cotton or hemp). We supply a natural hemp stair rope wound with cotton or hemp cord and an unbleached cotton stair rope wound with hemp cord. Our wound ropes are not on coils, but are individually made to length. Examples of these wormed ropes are shown here in a variety of fibres and colours. Other combinations of ropes can be made to order.

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

Hemp rope with cotton cord
24mm and 32mm

24mm hemp rope wormed with hemp for stair ropes,bannister rope and rope handrails

Hemp rope with hemp cord
24mm and 32mm

Colour wound ropes

Contrasting colours are often chosen to complement a particular theme - for example, a navy and cotton design works well for a nautical setting, particularly when combined with brass fittings.You can see an example of this at the bottom of the measure page.

Wound ropes in colours for stair ropes,bannister rope and rope handrails

Wound ropes in colours, 24mm

Three or four smaller diameter strands of 4mm cotton or 3mm polypropylene are wormed by hand around a 24mm synthetic rope core. These ropes require 24mm fittings.

There is a choice of green p.o.s.h. rope with 4 strands or red, navy or black polyester with 3 strands. Any of these may be wound with a variety of different colours and types of cord, including cotton, black, gold and green.

Shown left, from left to right, navy ww cotton, black ww cotton, green ww aqua cotton, black ww hemp and green ww cotton. Contact us for choices of colours and materials.

Speciality Ropes to order

Speciality ropes for stair ropes and barrier ropes are available in the following diameters:

Ropes: installation notes

All of our ropes are suitable for indoor use. For an outdoor rope handrail, or in high humidity environments, the reccommended rope to use is p.o.s.h. as it is the most resistant to both sunlight and water. Synthetic ropes are impervious to moisture which is why they are so prevalent nowadays but most of them bleach and become brittle in the sunlight. Untreated natural ropes will have a shorter life if used outside, as they tend to trap moisture in and rot from the inside. For more information on the use of ropes for exterior installations, see our f.a.q.s page.

Windings on speciality ropes are added on after the manufacturing process as a decorative extra. These ropes therefore tend to be less hard wearing than the standard ropes, and are generally unsuitable for outdoor settings - if a wound rope were to be used at sea it would be "parceled", meaning wrapped in canvas.

When handling the wound ropes, it is important to maintain the 'lay' (direction of twist in the rope). If the rope starts twisting against its natural direction it will kink, and the windings will lift and could become dislodged. Handling the rope is fairly intuitive, nevertheless extra care should be taken during the installation stage to ensure the rope does not twist in the wrong direction. We include a printed installation guide with all our wound ropes.

For everyday use, a long speciality barrier rope would need particular attention and should be properly coiled when not in place. A wound rope used as a stair rope would not be affected because the cross screws in the brackets stop the rope from twisting. To measure up for a stair rope, and further advice on installation, see our guidelines on the measure page.

stair ropes - rope samples

A selection of different ropes, left to right:
p.o.s.h. ww cotton, cotton ww hemp, hemp, hemp ww cotton, p.o.s.h.

Stair ropes - Rope prices

Natural Fibre Ropes

  • 24mm Hemp rope - £12.50/m
  • 24mm Cotton rope - £14.00/m
  • 32mm Hemp rope - £16.00/m
  • 32mm Cotton rope - £18.00/m

Natural Fibre Wound Ropes

  • 24mm Wound hemp rope - £36.00/m
  • 24mm Wound cotton rope - £38.00/m
  • 32mm Wound hemp rope - £39.00/m
  • 32mm Wound cotton rope - £42.00/m

Synthetic Fibre Ropes

  • 24mm colour ropes - £16.00/m
  • 32mm P.O.S.H. rope - £27.00/m

Synthetic Fibre Wound Ropes

  • 24mm Wound colour ropes - £39.00/m
  • 32mm Wound P.O.S.H. rope - £49.00/m

∗ Complete Stair ropes price list on the order page

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

Stair rope in hemp wormed with cotton with whipped eyesplice.

Eye-spliced stair rope in hemp wormed with cotton.

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