Floors, Stairs & Carpeting

Types of Stairs

The most obvious way to get up to a landing or to another floor of a house is by climbing stairs. However, when either building a house or having one repaired, it is important to be able to build the type of stairs that are wanted. Thus, it is important to understand the different typesof stairs and the types that would be best for placement in your house.

Available space is key in determining a stair's shape. Straight stairs are the easiest and most affordable type to build. But because stairs with a landing - L-shaped or U-shaped stairs are safer and easier to climb, they're often preferred where space allows. Circular stairs take the least space but are also the hardest to climb; in fact, rooms served by a circular stair often also have a primary stair for easier access with furniture and the like.

Stairs may be spiral, straight, circular, or any of several other shapes. And, of course, they may be wide or narrow, steep or gradual. As a general rule, the wider the stair and more subtle the climb, the more inviting the staircase and the more floor space it will consume.

Straight stairs

A straight stair stretches from lower to upper level in one straight run.
While straight stairs are the easiest to build, they can be difficult to fit into a floor plan unless there is a space for a stairway built into the plan.

Return stairs

A return stair divides the run, reversing direction a full 180 degrees at a landing.

Circular stairs

A circular stair generally sweeps in a broad curve from one level to another.

L stairs

An "L" stair makes a 90-degree turn at a landing.The safest stairs are ones with a landing.

Winder stairs

A winder serves like an "L" stair but requires less space (and is less safe to use) because the landing is divided into pie-shaped steps.

Spiral stairs

A spiral stair twists around a center pole in one of two ways. The common spiral stair has a straight center pole with steps radiating out from it; a helix-style spiral has a curving center support that follows the sweeping twist of the stair.
Spiral staircases are small and large objects do not go up them well at all. They can also be very difficult to climb. Sometimes they may simply be wanted more as a decoration that can be climbed for those that want to try climbing them.

Obviously, it is best if a plan for wide stairs with low steps can be planned both for safety and comfort. However, this is not always an available option and it does not always fit the design style of the house.

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