In the 1960s through the ’80s, half-wall stairwells defined a then-modern look for tract houses. Since that time, they have come to be a complete partner to both other code-worthy selections for handrail attachments in stairwells: complete walls and handrails topping balusters. It’s possible for you to design a half-wall stairwell that becomes a major layout quality of your own — and also you can have the huge gratification of doing it yourself.

Start With the Necessary

Even when you’re just placing a half wall on stairs you do not use much, then you need to follow the code for your state. California, by way of instance, follows the IRC — International Residential Code — at asking that your half wall complete a stairwell that’s 36 inches wide in the clear place above the handrail. You need to have a handrail on one side of the stairwell at least, and it requires to enclose stairs using a maximum riser of 7 3/4 inches and a minimum tread of 10 inches.

Nitty-Gritty Details

Design your half-wall staircase as you’d any other project — measuring the space you have if you are coping with a remodel, and drawing on a scale sketch; or playing around with your layout software if you’re designing new construction. Half walls can enclose stair gaps to upper flooring, where you need to design a long L shape, a long U, a set of parallel half walls or one wall, depending upon your floor program. Half walls can also flank the stairs proper — with the top edge at an angle of 32 degrees, in parallel to the stairs. This type of half wall might function as a aesthetic backdrop to the living room. When you have your sketched plan, visit your municipal planning office to get a permit before embarking on building.

Basic Stair Openings

You might have a plain-vanilla situation in which you would like to framework half walls around a stair opening to an upper ground Miami or attic. Nevertheless, you would like to earn the project as safe as possible for boisterous kids and teens who look at everything as a Parkour opening pad. Frame the half wall to resist effect, with doubled bottom and top plates and doubled finish studs, as well as tie-ins to partition walls. To prevent wobbling in the free end of the half wall, add blocking to the floor joists underneath, and tie the end studs to the blocking using a threaded rod attached to tie-downs attached to the blocking and the cap of the end stud.

Inspired Treatments

If you would like a half wall which looks like it is out of “Architectural Digest,” continue playing around with your sketch. You may place attractive rails on top of the wall instead of on the inner wall. Insert columns in the landings. Or have the wall flanking the measures descend as two giant squares, instead of 32 degrees. Cover the wall using a sumptuous wood granite or wax, or even provide visual interest by drafting pairs of half walls at different heights. Design novels, DIY books and internet notions can prime the pump of your imagination.