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




Replies to many of the most frequently asked questions about our hand rails and bannister ropes, and some more general information on ropes, fittings, knots, measuring, installation and ordering a stair rope.

What is the delivery time on a stair rope?
stair rope in a box

This will very much depend on the choice of materials and workload at the time; our stair ropes and handrails are made to individual specification using premium quality materials so we are usually fully booked. For many bespoke orders such as the custom designed wrought iron brackets there will often be a waiting list.

It would be a good idea to drop us a quick email to check on current lead times and stock situation before starting on your stair rope order. We will estimate the delivery time when you order, and email you when your parcel is despatched. If you have a specific deadline to meet, let us know and we will do our best!

stair rope fittings in satin chrome and steel (gunmetal finish)

Can I order directly from the website?

Our web site does not use a shopping cart system as we prefer to consult and quote individually. The quickest way to contact us is by email; we endeavour to respond to enquiries on the same day although at busy times replies may take up to 48 hours.

Do you produce a separate brochure?

No. The website is very comprehensive and is the main point of reference; we update regularly and all details of prices and choices are accessible.

rope hand rail coiled

How many brackets do I need for a banister rope?

One every metre is a good guide, although the right number will depend on how you want the rope to look and how important it is for the rope to give support. Also, where space is tight, for example on a spiral staircase, there could be a bracket every half metre.
Although both the brackets and the rope are very strong, the more brackets there are, the more secure the stair rope will feel.

At what height should I set the stair rope?

One metre is a fairly standard height, but consider what is comfortable for you and how it will look on your staircase. See also Q. below -Do building regulations affect the installation of a stair rope?

Do the brackets have to be in fixed positions on the rope?

Brackets need to be set on a stair rope by their retaining screws (locking pins) - this prevents the rope from slipping and chafing in the bracket. The end brackets will be fixed as determined by the length of the rope, so it is important to make sure of this measurement; however, the centre brackets may be left loose on the rope - for example if you are not sure exactly where these will go until the stair rope is in place. In this case, the retaining screws will be supplied separately to be fitted on site - the job is a little tricky but we can provide instructions.

rope hand rail on corridor
Should I allow for a drop between the brackets?

If you measure straight between each bracket position, the weight of the rope will give a natural curve. If you want a deeper drop, use a piece of string to make sure you get the right look, but bear in mind that there will be more give in the stair rope when it is used for support. For more information on measuring for a stair rope or handrail or rope bannister, visit our Measure page.

Do I need to order extra rope for the knots?

No - the rope used to make the knot is included in the price of the knot.

stair rope corner
What is the difference between a 2 ply and a 3 ply Manrope knot?

This denotes how many times the pattern of the knot is followed around. The 3 ply is a larger, more complex knot, taking longer to tie and tighten. Both 2 ply and 3 ply knots are equally secure as end knots; the choice is yours - a 24mm rope 2 ply knot is about the size of a tennis ball, a 3 ply is equivalent to a small grapefruit. In the larger diameter rope, a 2 ply knot is comparable to a 3 ply knot in 24mm rope, the 3 ply knot is very impressive! - see the Knots page for more information and pictures of the different knots.

How do I measure for a stair rope which turns a corner?

See our section on corners which explains in detail how to calculate the rope length needed for a corner. Alternatively, you can forward us details, a plan diagram or an image of your particular situation, and we can work out the measurement required.

In your professional opinion, can your rope rails substitute (strength wise) for a solid handrail?

The short answer is yes - these ropes and brackets are intended as fully functional handrails, not just as a decorative guide.

Here is the long answer: with a breaking strain quoted by the manufacturer for the 24mm hemp at 4 tons and brackets specified for the purpose, the only weak point in the installation is likely to be the wall itself. Some walls present problems in finding a position to secure a fixing, although this would also come up if one were installing a solid rail.

Our wrought iron brackets are hand forged in the UK using welded mild steel, and have a strength over and above the requirements for a handrail support - assuming that the attachment to the wall is secure.

Both the solid brass and stainless steel stair rope brackets we supply are manufactured to our own design, with a heavy duty solid post and wide base plate to be be able to bear substantial weight. They are specifically intended for use as rope handrail supports and are therefore superior to many of the more commonly available brass and chrome plated brackets which are not usually up to handrail spec. and are only intended for decorative installations.

rope hand rail on stairway
Do building regulations affect the installation of a stair rope?

Building regulations specify that a handrail should be between 900 mm and 1000 mm in height. The other aspects of the regulations affecting a stair rope installation will depend on the particular application, how securely the rope has been attached to the wall and also on the individual inspector.

Our stair ropes are functional hand rails, properly made with knots or splices at each end and strong fittings with four points of attachment to the wall and secured to the rope by retaining screws (locking pins).

We have supplied many stair ropes which have been approved by UK building inspectors - generally, they are pleased to see a proper job rather than a last minute lash up! Some feedback on this here, from one one of our customers.

rope hand rail on stairway
Which ropes would you recommend for outdoor use?

An untreated natural fibre rope will generally last only a couple of years if used outside, depending on the circumstances; the rope will absorb the moisture and then shrink, trapping the moisture and rotting from within. Ropes such as hemp or manila are a little better than most because they retain some of the plant's natural oil, so if you have a well ventilated situation you could use these, but both will eventually bleach or discolour in the sunlight, plus there is the shrinkage to consider, so you will have to allow a little more drop in the rope to account for this.

Although all synthetic ropes are water-proof, most of them become brittle in sunlight - polypropylene being one of the worst culprits; the small fibres of the yarn will tend to whiten, becoming rough and almost sharp at first, finally rubbing off completely as a powder.

rope hand rail in pale p.o.s.h. with gunmetal finish wrought iron fittings

The rope itself is still serviceable for a good long time, but it will look and feel scruffy long before a polyester rope. Many imitation hemp ropes are made from polypropylene as it is quite a cheap raw material.

The rope we would recommend is the P.O.S.H., a high grade polyester fibre rope developed as a quality working rope for classic yachts with a built-in U.V. inhibitor - so it will keep its good looks outside for longer! We have it made especially in a four strand construction which produces an attractive and comfortable handrail, as it is less bumpy than the usual three strand rope. We supply p.o.s.h. in a natural colour (hemp imitation) as well as a black and a mid bright green. See the ropes page for more information.

Can we use your rope handrail fittings outside?
rope hand rail

For exterior applications, we offer rope handrail brackets in stainless steel, wrought iron or brass.

Our satin and mirror finish stainless steel fittings are made from marine grade 316 stainless steel and have the best resistance to corrosion and staining of all the materials. We supply stainless steel screws for wall/post fixing; if you need to source longer/shorter screws, these should be stainless steel - not zinc plated steel, to guard against bi-metallic reaction.

Our wrought iron brackets are made of mild steel, a very durable material often used for gates and railings etc. When exposed to moisture, it corrodes by oxidising in the form of rust so is usually protected by a metal paint. We supply a variety of hard wearing paint finishes on our wrought iron hand rail fixtures and add extra coats for exterior applications, but eventually outdoors the rust will show through and probably stain the rope around the brackets ring. Bear in mind that the rustic finishes we offer on our wrought iron stair rope brackets (hammered and brushed steel) are protected only by a lacquer which has minimal UV resistance, so will eventually flake off if used outside, leaving the exposed steel open to corrosion.

Brass is an alloy that is commonly used in marine environments because it does not corrode in the same way as steel; it is protected either by polishing or by a lacquer. The problem with lacquers is that they deteriorate over the years and this process is uneven and can look unattractive. Our brass brackets are polished but unlacquered so unless they are regularly polished, they will patinate (dull) naturally as they age.

I want to replace an existing stair rope, but the brackets look O.K.

You can send the brackets to be fitted on a new rope. Contact us first to discuss - e.g. to confirm the bracket diameter etc.

Can you send samples?

We can send short lengths of rope free of charge to a U.K. address, as samples for you to check the colour, texture, size and construction of the rope. Prices for sample packs of ropes to overseas destinations are on the order page. We can also sometimes send bracket samples as a paid service with the fitting price refunded on return to us. Please contact us for further details.

Can I order a stair rope from overseas?

Although we have in the past shipped stair ropes all over the world, at the present time (2019) we are not taking overseas orders.

cotton stair rope with eye splices and iron fittings
How do I clean my stair rope?

Whilst the hemp, colored ropes and natural p.o.s.h. tend not to show the marks, a cotton rope might need extra care.

If you can avoid soiling the rope first, or the rope is newly cleaned, then you might consider Scotchguard as a protective layer. We have had some positive feedback from customers on this, but there is a catch - when it wears off and needs another application, it is difficult to remove the first coat because it rubs into "bobbles".

Having researched this a while back by testing several upholstery cleaning products, we found that they tended to discolour the rope and were usually expensive. One tip is to use a sea sponge to clean the fibres as this generates less heat in use, and it is this heat that can make stains worse.

The simplest and most effective solution we found is to use a plain soap and work in gently with a soft toothbrush (or a sea sponge), taking care not to get the rope too wet or the fibres will tend to shrink, tighten and then trap the moisture; make it only just damp enough to get a lather. Leave for a couple of hours and then wipe off with a slightly damp cloth.

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

hemp stair rope with eye splices and brass fittings

Hemp stair rope with eye splices and brass fittings

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