10 August 2018
There are many factors that you’ll likely take into consideration when it comes to investing in a new set of stairs; from the colour of the wood to whether or not you want to utilise the under-stair space, these are all things which will impact the overall appearance of your new hallway. However, another important consideration that you’ll need to think about is based around stair longevity and whether, if it’s something that you’re anticipating for the future, you will be able to child-proof your staircase.
One of the benefits of investing in a set of bespoke wooden stairs is that they can be built to fulfil a list of requirements. So, after deciding on how to find the perfect set for your desired space, you’ll need to take some time to figure out the best methods of safeguarding your children around your new staircase. The key consideration is to ensure that your little ones won’t be able to climbing up or tumble down your new set of stairs. Take a look at the list below to decide the best way to approach this!
Stairgates may seem like the easiest option when it comes to looking for a reliable method of child-proofing your stairs. However, ill-fitting gates can be counterproductive and can fail at the most crucial times. When it comes to buying a staircase, there are a plethora of things that you’ll need to look into. Will the stairgate fit tightly and securely? Does the stairgate have enough height to ensure that they won’t be able to climb over the top? Is the stairgate construction and fitting method appropriate to your star model? These are all questions that you need to ask when entering the buying process. The answers can not only provide you with essential insight, but also safegourd you from making a purchase you may not be able to return for a refund. There is a myriad of different options on the market, each of which fit specific sets of stairs better than others.
Pressure-fit stairgates slot into place using pressure at four points to secure it. These are a fantastic option for the bottom of your stairs, as there are no permanent fixtures required, meaning that your stairs can be left undamaged when it is no longer needed. The pressure-fit gate must be installed correctly, in accordance with its installation manual, in order to fulfil the purpose of providing a safe barrier. Additionally, there are many pressure gates on the market which include mechanisms to alert you when they’re not fitted correctly. These are great at providing you with peace of mind that your child won’t be able to slip upstairs unnoticed.
Something to consider when it comes to pressure-fit gates, is that their frame does require a bar to run along the floor. As a result of this, an alternative should be found for the top of the stairs to reduce trip hazards. Furthermore, a heavyweight or regular continuous force being used against the frame can allow it to come loose over time, something you need to keep an eye on at all times.
There is an added layer of safety that is provided when you secure stairgates to the wall. So, if you don’t mind a little DIY, a screw-fit gate might be the perfect option for you. Ordinarily, you can find these made from either metal or wood, with so many options available on the market finding one that will complement your staircase shouldn’t be too complicated. However, measures should be taken before purchasing, as extensions and additional brackets may be required beforehand. Unlike pressure-gates, no bars are running along the bottom of this frame, so this can be used both at the top and the bottom of the stairs. Due to being screwed into the wall, these are a more permanent option and tend to be more stable and long-lasting.
With screws being affixed into walls, you need to think about your wall structure and whether it’s strong enough to withstand the weight of the gate and the pressures. If your gate cannot be affixed to the wall and it must be affixed to the stairs (e.g. to newel posts), you will have to consider whether your staircase is string enough to withstand the weight and pressures of the gate, but also whether you are happy with potentially damaging the staircase permanently. If the only place to screw the gate is your stairs, it will leave lasting marks which might not be recoverable from.
There are many different materials used for making roller gates, however most commonly used is a mesh. These are fantastic in awkward spaces, as they don’t require room to be opened. As they are flexible, these can be used at either the top or bottom of stairs, much like the screw-fit gate, and can just be rolled away to allow access. If you’re thinking about installing a roller gate, do remember these will need to be secured into the wall – one which needs to be flat – and could require additional parts such as spacers if used with skirting boards.
Another alternative in creating a stairgate, is to have one made to order. Stair suppliers who offer bespoke staircases, may sometime offer stairgates in a design, construction and dimensions appropriate for the staircase. Although, this may be slightly more expensive way of purchasing the stairgate, the benefits may outweigh the extra costs. Bespoke stair gates are made to match the stair model, design and finish (enhancing the stair aesthetics), they are made to measure (so each gate will fit either the upstairs or downstairs), and their fitting mechanism should be designed with a minimal (or none!) damage to the stairs once the gates are removed.