Closed vs Open Stringer Stairs
Many homeowners do not know the difference between an open and closed stringer stairway. The images below should explain the difference pretty quickly. In the open stringer, the treads sit on top of the stringer and extend past it. In a closed stringer stairway, the a small “knee wall” rises above the treads and closes them. The advantage of the closed stringer stairway is that larger balusters can be used if desired because the tread depth is no longer a constraint on the width of the baluster. If a larger baluster is used, though, the bottom of the handrail has to be widened to receive the larger topped baluster. In the image below I’ve drawn the baluster tops smaller than the baluster bases and enlarged the base of the handrail to make this system work. Both the open and closed stairway can be quite attractive with a little design common sense.