Stairs are an essential component of any building, providing a safe and convenient means of moving between different levels. They come in a variety of styles, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages.
Whether you’re building a new home, remodeling an existing one, or simply looking to upgrade your current staircase, it’s important to understand the different types of stairs available.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most common types of stairs, including straight-flight stairs, quarter-turn stairs, dog-legged stairs, open newel stairs, circular stairs, and winder stairs.
Different Types Of Stairs
There are various types of stairs used in the home. Nowadays stairs are used for the ease of moving from one level to the next without much thought or effort.
The following are some of the most common types of stairs that can be found in your house:
1. Straight Flight Stairs
These are continuous stairs along which there is no change in direction on any flight between two successive floors.
The stair may consist of either one single flight or more than one flight (usually two) with a landing. These types of stairs sometimes have only 1 flight of stairs.
These stairs are used for houses where there are restrictions in available width for their location, but enough length is available.
As there is no change in direction, risers facing the ascending person cause uneasiness and monotony.
Straight-flight stairs with a landing may further increase the length of stairs and had very little advantage.
Advantages of Straight Flight Stairs:
- Simple Design: Straight-flight stairs have a simple and straightforward design, making them easy to construct and install.
- Space-saving: Straight-flight stairs take up less space than stairs with turns or landings, making them ideal for small homes or spaces with limited square footage.
- Cost-effective: Straight-flight stairs are typically less expensive to build and install than other types of stairs, making them a cost-effective option.
- Ease of use: Straight-flight stairs are easy to navigate and use, especially for people with mobility issues.
Disadvantages of Straight Flight Stairs:
- Lack of Flexibility: Straight-flight stairs cannot be easily modified or adapted to accommodate changes in floor height or room layout.
- Limited privacy: Straight-flight stairs may not provide enough privacy, especially if they are located in a high-traffic area of a home.
- Safety concerns: Straight-flight stairs can be more dangerous than stairs with turns or landings, as there is a greater risk of falls and injuries, especially for young children and older individuals.
- Lack of aesthetic appeal: Straight-flight stairs may not have the same aesthetic appeal as more decorative or elaborate stair designs, and may not add value to a home in the same way.
Read More: 25+ Staircase Components with Function
2. Quarter Turn Stairs
When the direction of the flight is changed at right angles either to the left or to the right, quarter-turn stairs are used. The change in direction can be affected by either introducing a quarter-space landing or providing winders at the junction of two flights.
Half-turn stairs: Half turn stair is one that has its direction reversed or turned through 180° by introducing a half-space landing or winders. This type of stair is commonly used in residential buildings and public buildings.
Advantages of Quarter Turn Stairs:
- Increased safety: The landing provides a resting place for people to catch their breath or adjust their footing, making quarter-turn stairs a safer option than straight-flight stairs.
- Improved accessibility: Quarter-turn stairs can make it easier for people with mobility issues to navigate the staircase, as the landing provides a level surface for them to step onto.
- Enhanced aesthetic appeal: Quarter-turn stairs can add visual interest and aesthetic appeal to a home, as the landing and turn can be designed in a variety of styles and materials.
- Increased privacy: Quarter-turn stairs can provide greater privacy, as the landing can serve as a barrier between floors and reduce noise transmission.
Disadvantages of Quarter Turn Stairs:
- Increased cost: Quarter-turn stairs are typically more expensive to construct and install than straight-flight stairs, as the landing and turn add complexity to the design and construction process.
- Space constraints: Quarter-turn stairs may take up more space than straight-flight stairs, making them less suitable for small homes or spaces with limited square footage.
- Maintenance issues: Quarter-turn stairs may require more maintenance than straight-flight stairs, as the landing and turn can collect dirt and debris, and may be more difficult to clean.
- Decreased flow: Quarter-turn stairs can impede the flow of movement from one floor to another, especially for people carrying items up and down the stairs.
These may be of two types:
a) Dog-legged stairs b) Open newel stairs or Open well stairs.
5. Dog-Legged Stairs
This name is given because of its appearance in sectional elevation. A dog-legged stair is called for its being bent or crooked suddenly round in fancied resemblance to a dog’s hind leg.
The dog-legged stairs consist of two flights of steps that run in opposite directions. No space is provided between the flights in the plan.
Usually, a half-space landing is placed across the two flights at the change of direction. This type to accommodate two widths of flights of stairs is useful where the width of the stair hall is just sufficient.
4. Open Newel Stairs
The open newel staircase is very similar to a doglegged stair. There is a well opening between the flights and it may be used to accommodate a lift.
The width of the stair would therefore be twice the width of the stair plus the width of the good hole or opening (1500 mm to 10,000 mm). Open newel stairs require more space than a dog-legged stair.
At the head and foot of each flight of the stair, newel posts are placed which form a conspicuous architectural feature for the stair to be called newel stair.
Advantages of Open Newel Stairs:
- Increased aesthetic appeal: Open newel stairs can add visual interest and aesthetic appeal to a home, as the open space can be designed in a variety of styles and materials to complement the overall décor.
- Improved natural light: The open space in open newel stairs allows for greater natural light transmission, making the staircase feel brighter and more open.
- Increased air circulation: The open space in open newel stairs can improve air circulation, making the staircase feel less stuffy and more comfortable.
- Enhanced sense of space: Open newel stairs can give the illusion of a larger, more open space, especially in smaller homes or spaces with limited square footage.
Disadvantages of Open Newel Stairs:
- Increased cost: Open newel stairs are typically more expensive to construct and install than closed newel stairs, as the open space adds complexity to the design and construction process.
- Safety concerns: Open newel stairs can be less safe than closed newel stairs, as there is a greater risk of falls and injuries, especially for young children and older individuals.
- Maintenance issues: Open newel stairs may require more maintenance than closed newel stairs, as the open space can collect dirt and debris, and may be more difficult to clean.
- Decreased privacy: Open newel stairs may not provide as much privacy as closed newel stairs, especially if they are located in a high-traffic area of a home.
5. 3 Quarter Turn Staircase
The 3 quarter-turn staircase type of stairs change their directions 3 times i.e., through 270° with its upper flight crossing the bottom one, In general, in this type of construction, a bigger open well is formed.
6. Circular Stairs
In these stairs, all the steps radiate from a central point of a semi-circle (in plan) in the form of winders. The circular stair is commonly provided at the entrance of a building for a better architectural appearance. These are commonly constructed in R.C.C. and brick.
Advantages of Circular Stairs:
- Space-saving design: Circular stairs are an excellent option for small homes or spaces with limited square footage, as they can save space compared to traditional straight flight stairs.
- Increased aesthetic appeal: Circular stairs can add visual interest and aesthetic appeal to a home, as they can be designed in a variety of styles and materials to complement the overall décor.
- Improved natural light: Circular stairs can allow for greater natural light transmission, making the staircase feel brighter and more open.
- Enhanced sense of space: Circular stairs can give the illusion of a larger, more open space, especially in smaller homes or spaces with limited square footage.
Disadvantages of Circular Stairs:
- Increased cost: Circular stairs are typically more expensive to construct and install than straight-flight stairs, as the spiral design adds complexity to the design and construction process.
- Safety concerns: Circular stairs can be less safe than straight-flight stairs, as there is a greater risk of falls and injuries, especially for young children and older individuals.
- Maintenance issues: Circular stairs may require more maintenance than straight-flight stairs, as the spiral design can collect dirt and debris, and may be more difficult to clean.
- Decreased functionality: Circular stairs may not be as functional as straight-flight stairs, especially for people carrying items up and down the stairs or for people with mobility issues.
7. Spiral Stairs
These stairs consist of same-sized winders provided at a constant deflecting angle to offer a continuous change in direction along with elevation. They radiate around a central newel post and occupy the least space.
The overall diameter of such stairs (winders) may range from 1 m to 2.5 m. The stairs are not comfortable as they are full of winders and continuously change the direction.
When the available space is too small and the number of users is limited, this type of stair is constructed with cast iron or R.C.C.
Read More: Staircase Calculation for Reinforcement
8. Bifurcated Stairs
These stairs are very common in modern aristocratic symmetric public buildings at their entrance which appears as a prominent feature.
The stair has a wide flight at the bottom, which bifurcates into two narrower flights, one turning to the left and the other to the right at the landing.
It is a combination of two quarter-turn stairs symmetrically arranged.
The most common type of stair which is provided in residential houses is the dog-legged type. Open-well type and bifurcated-type stairs are provided n public buildings.
Geometrical type stair is provided to give a better appearance, straight flight type stirs are most commonly used in residential buildings.
Three-quarter turn stairs are adopted in special cases as in posh hotels with a very wide staircase room incorporating reception in between. It may also be provided in palaces with more headroom to create a spacious and majestic look.
Spiral stairs are provided when space is not available for the common stairs type. It is provided at the back of the buildings for sweepers or servants for cleaning the bathroom, w. c., etc.
10. Winder Stairs
Winder stairs are a type of staircase that consists of treads that are angled or curved, allowing for a turn in the staircase without the use of a landing. Winder stairs are typically used in smaller homes or spaces where a landing would take up too much space.
The treads on winder stairs are typically wider on one end than on the other, allowing for the turn in the staircase.
The treads are usually arranged in a triangle shape, with two treads forming the straight part of the staircase and one tread forming the turn
Features of Stairs
A continuous series of steps form a flight and there may be two or more flights between platforms called landings.
The horizontal upper portion of a step is called a Tread and the vertical or front portion of a step is called a Riser.
Proper sizes of treads, risers, newel posts, handrails, and balusters are designed for stairs to provide comfort and safety to the persons using them for easy and quick access to the various floors.
Flights of stairs and landings encased on either side by balustrade are called a staircase. The opening or space occupied by the stair is known as a stairway.
The means of communication between the various floors can be also provided by lifts, ramps, ladders, and escalators.
The materials used in the construction of stairs are stone, steel, wood, R.C., and cast iron.
Fire protection of the staircase is extremely important, particularly in multistoried buildings. Staircases not only provide access and communication but also are a path for the spreading of fire from one floor to another.
Also, people on higher floors rush down the stairs during a fire hazard. Lifts are easily paralyzed then. Staircases therefore must be enclosed by fire-resistant walls, floors, ceilings, and doors. It is desirable that the linings to the walls and ceiling are non-combustible.
The main purpose of stairs, in almost all cases, is decoration. There are essentially three kinds of stairs that are used in almost all cases: straight stairs, curved or circular stairs, and free-form stairs.
Of course, the actual purpose of these stairs will also dictate their material, size, and position within the home.
What are the different types of stairs commonly used in buildings?
The different types of stairs commonly used in buildings include straight stairs, L-shaped stairs, U-shaped stairs, spiral stairs, curved stairs, and floating stairs.
What is the most common type of staircase?
The straight staircase is the most common type of staircase. It consists of a straight flight of steps without any turns or bends.
What are L-shaped stairs?
L-shaped stairs consist of two straight flights of steps that are connected at a 90-degree angle. They are often used when space is limited or when the staircase needs to change direction.
What are spiral stairs?
Spiral stairs are characterized by a circular or helical shape, with the steps winding around a central pole or column. They are often used in spaces with limited floor area and can be an architectural feature in buildings.
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