Dog-Legged Staircase and Its Design Calculation

Dog Legged Staircase | Design, Dimension, Advantages & Disadvantages

What Is Dog Legged Staircase

A dog-legged staircase is a type of staircase commonly found in residential and commercial buildings. It consists of two flights of stairs connected by a landing, forming a right angle or “dog-leg” shape when viewed from above.

The first flight of stairs goes up to the landing, where it changes direction by 180 degrees before continuing with the second flight. The landing provides a resting place for people climbing the stairs and allows the staircase to change direction without taking up too much space.

Dog-Legged Staircase
Dog Legged Staircase | Design, Dimension, Advantages & Disadvantages 7

Dog-legged staircases are popular because they are easy to construct and require less space than other types of staircases, such as straight or spiral stairs.

They can also be more comfortable to use than other types of stairs because the change in direction can help to reduce fatigue and make the ascent easier.

Read More: 25+ Staircase Components with Function

Types of Staircase

Here are some common types of staircases:

  1. Straight staircase
  2. L-shaped staircase
  3. U-shaped staircase
  4. Spiral staircase
  5. Helical staircase
  6. Curved staircase

Components of Dog-Legged Staircase

The components of a dog-legged staircase are as follows:

Components of Staircase
Dog Legged Staircase | Design, Dimension, Advantages & Disadvantages 8
  1. Tread: The portion of the staircase on which the foot is stepped is called the tread.
  2. Riser: The part of the staircase between two treads is called a riser.
  3. Newel post: The vertical post at the start and end of the flight is called a newel post.
  4. Baluster: The vertical support installed throughout the length of a flight on which a handrail is supported to prevent the fall is called a baluster.
  5. Handrail: An inclined rail provided at an optimum height so that it can support the person while ascent or descent is called a handrail.
  6. Landing: A platform provided to break the continuity of flight for providing rest to the user is called landing.
  7. Pitch: The angle the line of nosing makes with horizontal is called pitch.
  8. Line of nosing: An imaginary line parallel to the slope of the staircase that joins the nosing of the staircase is called the line of going.

Factors to consider when designing a dog-legged staircase

Designing a dog-legged staircase requires a thorough consideration of several factors to ensure that it is functional, safe, and aesthetically pleasing. The first factor to consider is the available space.

The designer must ensure that the space available for the staircase is wide enough to accommodate the expected traffic flow and comply with building codes and safety regulations.

The rise and run of each step are also important factors to consider. The height of each step (rise) should be consistent, and the depth of each tread (run) should be sufficient to provide a stable footing.

The landing is another essential component of a dog-legged staircase. The landing should be wide enough to accommodate the expected traffic flow and comply with building codes and safety regulations.

The material and finish of the staircase are also crucial factors to consider. The choice of material should be durable and easy to maintain, while the finish should provide slip resistance and be aesthetically pleasing.

Safety features such as handrails, balustrades, and non-slip treads should be incorporated into the design to ensure that the staircase is safe to use.

Read More: Staircase Reinforcement Calculation

dog-legged staircase design

Some of the criteria to be kept in mind while designing a dog-legged staircase are discussed below

Designing a dog-legged staircase involves considering several factors such as the available space, the intended usage, the building’s overall design, and the material to be used. Here are some steps that are typically involved in designing a dog-legged staircase:

Determine the available space: The first step in designing a dog-legged staircase is to determine the available space. The width and height of the staircase should be based on the expected traffic flow and the space available. A minimum of 36 inches is recommended for the width of the stairs.

Calculate the rise and run of each step: The rise and run of each step must be calculated to ensure that the staircase is comfortable to use. The rise is the vertical distance between two consecutive treads, while the run is the horizontal distance. Typically, the rise of each step is between 7 and 8 inches, while the run is between 9 and 11 inches.

Determine the number of steps: Once the rise and run of each step are determined, the number of steps required can be calculated. The total height of the staircase divided by the rise of each step gives the number of steps required.

Determine the landing size: The landing is the area where the staircase changes direction. The size of the landing should be at least as wide as the staircase and should provide enough space for people to rest.

Choose the material and finish: Dog-legged staircases can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, concrete, steel, and glass. The choice of material will depend on the building’s overall design, the expected traffic flow, and the budget. The finish of the staircase should also be considered to match the overall aesthetic of the building.

Seek professional advice: It is always advisable to seek professional advice when designing a dog-legged staircase. An experienced architect or engineer can help ensure that the staircase meets building codes and safety regulations.

Read More: Design of Staircase Calculation – Riser & Tread

design of dog-legged staircase Example

Design a dog-legged staircase for a residential building. The space available for the stairwell is 2.5 * 4 m. The floor-to-floor height is provided at 3.1 m.

  • For residential a building, normally the riser height is taken from 150-190 mm.
  • So, let us provide the riser of a height of 160 mm.
  • Also, tread depth is taken as 225 mm.
  • Stairwell dimensions = 2500 * 4000 mm
  • Floor height = 3100 mm
  • Total number of flights to be provided = 2

Therefore, height of 1 flight = 3100/2 = 1550 mm

  • Rise = 160 mm

Therefore, Number of risers in a flight = 1550/160 = 9.6 Say 10 risers

  • Number of treads = Number of riser – 1 = 10 – 1 = 9
  • Let Tread width = 1.2 m
  • Length for 9 treads = 9 * 0.0225 = 0.2025 mm = 2.025 m.
  • Width of landing = (4 – 2.025)/2 = 0.9875 m which is approximately 1.0 m

The following is the dog-legged staircase plan,

Dog legged staircase plan
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The number of risers in a flight = 10

Landing width = 1 metre

dog-legged staircase dimensions

 Type of stairDog legged
 Assumed height of the riser160 mm
 Assumed depth of tread225 mm
 Number of flight2
 Height of floor3100
 Number of risers(3100/2) /160 = 10 Riser
 Number of treadsR-1 =9
 Width of LandingNo. of tread * depth of tread = 9 * 225 = 1000


  • The design of the staircase is quite simple.
  • Drafting the staircase is also easy and faster too.
  • Space is efficiently utilized reducing space wastage and more carpet area is available for usage.
  • The privacy of the floors is maintained in this type of stairs as the top floor is not visible from below nor the bottom floor is visible from the top.
  • Architectural effects can be easily infused in this type of staircase.
  • The landing provides a resting space so that commuting becomes easier.


  • The construction of the dog-legged staircase is quite difficult.
  • The provision of handrails is to be planned carefully as it is quite difficult to install.
  • Handrails are an important part of a staircase that supports the ascent and descent.
  • The movement of heavy items through the staircase is a bit difficult.

How a handrail cannot be provided smoothly in the case of a dog-legged staircase is shown in the below figures.

Staircase Handrail
Dog Legged Staircase | Design, Dimension, Advantages & Disadvantages 10


Dog legged staircase is one of the simplest forms of the staircase in which a landing is provided between two flights that meet at 180 degrees. It makes economic use of the space and normally, the length of its flights is kept unequal.

The pitch angle is similar to the angle between a dog’s legs, therefore, it is known as the dog leg stairs.

Its design is pretty simple and at the same time, it provides privacy on both floors. Moreover, architectural effects can be easily included in this type of staircase.


What is a dog legged staircase?

A dog legged staircase is a type of staircase design that consists of two flights of stairs running in opposite directions with a landing in between. The name “dog legged” refers to the shape resembling the hind legs of a dog.

What are the advantages of a dog legged staircase?

Space Efficiency: Dog legged staircases are compact and efficient in terms of space utilization, making them suitable for small or narrow areas.
Safety: The landing between the two flights provides a resting point and helps break the staircase into manageable segments, reducing the chances of accidents and fatigue.
Ease of Construction: Dog legged staircases are relatively simple to construct compared to more complex designs, making them cost-effective and time-efficient.
Versatility: This staircase design can be adapted to various architectural styles and can easily accommodate turns and changes in direction.

What are the disadvantages of a dog legged staircase?

Increased Footprint: Dog legged staircases require a larger footprint compared to other staircase designs, as they need space for the landing between the flights.
Restricted Flow: The change in direction at the landing can disrupt the flow of movement, especially when carrying large items or furniture up or down the stairs.
Less Aesthetic Appeal: Dog legged staircases may be considered less visually appealing compared to more intricate and elegant staircase designs.
Limited Accessibility: This design may not be suitable for individuals with mobility challenges, as the change in direction can pose difficulties for those using assistive devices or experiencing physical limitations.

How is a dog legged staircase designed?

The design of a dog legged staircase involves placing two flights of stairs at a 180-degree angle to each other, connected by a landing. The number of steps, the width of the steps and landing, and the overall dimensions of the staircase are determined based on the available space and the desired design requirements.

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