Creating Stairs with Glass Railings

Reference Number: KB-00082
Last Modified: June 27, 2016

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I would like to create stairs with glass or cable panels, but can't find a way to do this in the Staircase Specification dialog.  How can I accomplish this task?


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.

Before we can add manual railings with a glass panel applied, we first need to eliminate the default railings that display on the staircase.


To remove the automatically generated railings

  1. Using the Select Objects  tool, select your staircase, and click on the Open Object  edit tool to display the Staircase Specification dialog.

  2. On the Newels/Balusters panel, next to Railing On, remove the checkmark in the boxes for both Left and Right.

    Note: If your staircase is against a wall, and you want to have a railing on that wall, do not uncheck "Railing On" for that side of the staircase. 

  3. Next, go to the Fill Style panel, and use the drop down menu to change the Fill Pattern to None (Transparent).

    This will allow us to see the railing when we draw it over the staircase in the next section.

  4. Once you've made these changes, click OK to apply them and close the dialog.

Now that you've eliminated the automatic railings applied to the staircase, you are ready to draw in your own, and apply a glass panel to them.


To add a manual railing on the staircase

  1. In floor plan view, from the menu, select Build> Railing and Deck> Straight Railing , then click and drag a railing from the bottom of staircase to the edge of the top step.

    • Make sure to keep the railing within the boundaries of the staircase.

      If the railing is not fully contained within the staircase it will fall back down to the floor and not follow the staircase in the next couple of steps. 

    • In X5 and prior products the Straight Railing tool was located in the Build> Wall menu.

  2. Next, using the Select Objects  tool, select the newly drawn railing, then click on the Open Object  edit button to display the Railing Specification dialog.

    If you select the staircase first, press the Tab key on your keyboard, or Next  edit tool, until you have the newly drawn railing selected.

  3. On the Rail Style panel:

    • Move the radio button to Panels.

    • Check the box next to Follow Stairs.

    If you do not want a hand rail on top of the glass panel you can stop at this point and go to the Materials panel to specify the panel as Glass.

  4. On the Newels/Balusters panel, under the Newels/Posts section set the panel spacing. For this example 72" is used.

  5. Next to Panel Type, click on the Library button to display the Select Library Object dialog.

  6. You can either search by a keyword, such as Glass or browse to Chief Architect Core Catalogs> Architectural> Fences & Railings> Glass to choose an appropriate panel type.

    For the purposes of this example, we will choose the Glass Panel, and click OK to return to the Railing Specification dialog.

  7. Click OK again to apply these changes and close the dialog.

Now that we've created one glass panel railing to follow the stairs, we can create a copy of it and move it to the other side of the staircase.


To create an exact duplicate of the railing and position it

  1. With the railing still selected, click on the Multiple Copy  edit tool.

  2. Click the Multiple Copy Interval  button on the newly displayed edit toolbar.

  3. In the Multiple Copy dialog

    • Move the radio button to Evenly Distribute Copies When Dragging

    • Set the Primary and Secondary Number of Copies both to 1

    • Click OK.

  4. Mouse over the square edit handle, so the cursor changes to the Multiple Copy  cursor, and then drag across to the other side of the stairs and release the mouse button to place the copy.

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