Creating a Manual Stair Rail

Reference Number: KB-01029 Last Updated: 09-30-2013 05:23 AM

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors or Chief Architect Lite


How do I change the stair rail from the default to something more fancy?





    Creating a custom stair railing can be easy to create in Chief Architect as you can manually draw a railing, apply a panel to it, and have it follow your stairs. For this example we will be building an exterior staircase to a second floor deck as seen in the picture above.  To start off open a plan with a two floor house with a deck along one side of the second floor.


    How to manually create the landing

    1. Go to the second floor and zoom in on the deck.  From the menu select Build> Wall> Break Wall  and then click on the railing in 2 places to break off the section we will drag out to create the ­landing.


    2. Select the newly created section of wall and drag it out to form the outer edge of the landing.


    3. From the menu select Build> Deck> Straight Deck Railing  and drag a new railing from the back corner of the landing to the main deck rail.  Then from the menu select Build> Wall> Invisible Wall  and drag an invisible wall to close off the front of the landing, restoring the deck room definition. 




    Now that the landing has been created you will need to build some stairs connecting up to the landing.


    How to connect a flight of stairs to the manually created landing

    1. Change floors down to the first floor and from the menu select Tools> Reference Floors> Reference Display  so we can see the deck and the landing above.

    2. From the menu select Build> Stairs> Straight Stairs  and click and drag a flight of stairs up to connect with the open edge of the landing.  You may need to make some manual adjustments to get it flush with the deck above.


    3. Now you need to ensure that the stairs are reaching all the way from the ground to the landing.  Select the stairs that you have drawn and then click the Open Object  button from the edit toolbar. 

    4. On the General tab of the Staircase Specification it will display whether the staircase reaches the next level and if it does not, it will give you the option to make a best fit.  If this is available, click the Make Best Fit button to extend the stairs.


    5. If your staircase is not meeting the landing then mouse over the end handle and click and drag it so that it snaps to the landing.

    6. As you are manually drawing the railing for the staircase, you will need to turn off the automatically generated rail.  Select the Newels/­Balusters tab and then uncheck all of the boses next to the railing options.



    You now have the deck with a manually created landing connected to a staircase without the railing and need to add a manual railing on the stair.


    How to add manual railing on a staircase

    1. From the menu select Build> Wall> Straight Railing  and click and drag a railing from the bottom of staircase (being careful to keep the railing within the boundaries of the staircase) to the edge of the top step.

    2. Once you have created the wall, click again on the spot to select the newly drawn railing.  If you select the staircase instead then hit tab until you have the newly drawn railing selected.  If you drew the railing in a little from the edge then nudge it down to the edge of the staircase

    3. Click the Open Object  button from the edit toolbar and select the Railing tab.  Check the Follow Stairs checkbox and then click OK.

    4. We can use the Multiple Copy tool to copy this railing and get the new one flush against the other side of the staircase.
        • With the railing still selected, choose Multiple Copy  from the edit toolbar.
          • Click the Multiple Copy Interval  button on the newly displayed edit toolbar.
            • Select Evenly Distribute Copies When Dragging and set the Primary Number of Copies to 1 and Secondary Copies to 1 then click OK.
              • Mouse over one of the square handles so the cursor changes to the Multiple Copy cursor and then drag across to flush against the other side of the stairs and release to place the copy.


              You should now have a staircase with manually constructed railing that you can manipulate in the same fashion as any railing.