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 rope, rope handrails and barrier ropes, made to measure in the UK by

Stair Ropes . com


Traditionally produced ropes use natural fibres like hemp, cotton or manila. Today, a great range of rope and cordage is manufactured to suit a variety of requirements. The quality or grade of rope will depend on the type of material used and the process of construction.


The ropes we supply for stair ropes, rope handholds and barrier ropes have been chosen for their superior features and sustainable characteristics - ropes which are not only attractive and feel comfortable in the hand, but are properly constructed, and will prove to be reliable and long lasting. Most of these are four strand ropes and are made specifically to our requirements.

We also individually produce an exclusive range of decorative speciality ropes, which 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

Hemp rope has a warm natural buff colour.
We use the best 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.

Hemp is a very stable rope, smooth looking, extremely hard wearing and tends not to show the marks. It has 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.

cotton rope for stair ropes,bannister rope and rope handrails

Cotton rope

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 diameter.

Natural Ropes to order

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

Synthetic rope

Synthetic fibre ropes tend to be more weather and damp resistant than natural ropes, making them particularly suitable for outdoor applications.

Natural coloured synthetic ropes are available in two shades of beige, suitable for 32mm diameter fittings only. The P.O.S.H. rope we supply 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 yachts, where the combination of good looks, durability and performance are of paramount importance.

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

P.O.S.H. rope, dark beige

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

P.O.S.H. rope, pale beige

We supply 24mm diameter stair ropes in 4-strand black and green P.O.S.H. and 3-strand red polyester and navy nylon. The P.O.S.H. ropes are the most durable for exterior use. The red polyester rope and nylon rope are both high quality medium-laid ropes with a 3 strand construction. The nylon rope is firm and smooth to hold, and has a satin sheen. Polyester (including high grade P.O.S.H.) rope generally has a softer texture, closer in feel to a natural rope.

Coloured synthetic ropes may be used outside, although bear in mind that in bright sunlight, the colour will gradually fade and the ropes will eventually suffer from a brittling effect. The coloured P.O.S.H. ropes are a superior polyester fibre rope similar to the natural coloured P.O.S.H ropes (above) and are not so prone to colour or fibre degradation as other coloured ropes.

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

P.O.S.H rope - black

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

Polyester rope - red

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

P.O.S.H rope - green

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

Nylon rope - navy

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

"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. Synthetic equivalents in a pale or dark beige high grade polyester rope may also be ordered.

Four strands of 3mm or 4 mm cord are wound around a 24mm rope in cotton or hemp - to be used with a 24mm bracket or barrier rope fitting. For 32mm fittings,natural hemp is wound with cotton or hemp cord.

Examples of these wormed ropes are shown here in a variety of fibres and colours. Other combinations of ropes can be made to order. We do not send out samples of the wound ropes as these are not on coils, but are individually made to length.

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

32mm dark P.O.S.H. rope wormed with polyester cord for stair ropes,bannister rope and rope handrails

Dark P.O.S.H. rope with polyester cord

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.

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 black or green p.o.s.h. rope with 4 strands or red polyester or navy nylon 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. Please contact us for choices of colours and materials.

24mm black P.O.S.H. rope wormed with cotton for stair ropes,bannister rope and rope handrails

Black P.O.S.H. rope with cotton cord

24mm red polyester rope wormed with black for stair ropes,bannister rope and rope handrails

Red polyester rope with black polypropylene cord

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

Navy nylon rope with cotton cord

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 quide 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 rope samples, 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
  • 32mm Hemp rope - £15.00/m
  • 24mm Cotton rope - £14.00/m
  • 24mm Wound rope - £36.00/m
  • 32mm Wound rope - £39.00/m
Synthetic Fibre Ropes
  • 24mm Nylon/Polyester rope - £12.50/m
  • 24mm colour P.O.S.H. rope - £12.50/m
  • 32mm P.O.S.H. rope - £22.00/m
  • 24mm Wound rope - £36.00/m
  • 32mm Wound rope - £45.00/m

Complete Stair ropes price list (and printable p.d.f.) on our 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


Full contact details for Stair Ropes. com


Stair rope in hemp wormed with cotton with whipped eyesplice.

Eyespliced stair rope in hemp wormed with cotton.

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