Staircases are any buildings’ basic access-enabling feature that come in a variety of designs and styles. Some resemble works of art and are truly amazing to behold, while others are so simple that bridging a vast vertical distance by breaking it up into smaller vertical distances known as steps is all they are intended to do. Choosing a staircase can be challenging, especially if you are starting from scratch or attempting to provide access to the second story of your house in tricky circumstances.
The general gist of the principle behind choosing a staircase that would work best in your situation is that you want to choose a decorative staircase that makes a bold statement if you have a vast open space. If that is not the case due to certain constraints or if you are constructing your family nest from scratch and want the staircase to be solid and safe, practicality and sturdiness must be the top consideration.
In this article, we will cover 10 most common types of staircases, their strengths and weaknesses, so that you have an easier time deciding on the best option for you.
- Straight Staircase
True to their name, this type of staircase is what most people imagine when you mention stairs. It is best suited for a linear flight with no heading shift. This type is, undoubtedly, the most popular and affordable one since it does not require a lot of additional planning or work to set it up. The only support needed for the design is an attachment for stability at the bottom and top.
This design’s added benefit is how simple it is to build additions for it. Because they are not steep, they are optimal for use by toddlers and the elderly alike. Just like its name, it’s simple and straightforward.
- Straight Staircase Variation with Central Landing
A high staircase with a specific landing is necessary for a space with a high ceiling or a staircase with more than 16 risers. Its disadvantage is that it needs more room to make it stable and durable, making commercial buildings more appropriate for use of this variation than private ones.
- L Shaped Staircase
A straight staircase with a turn or a bend is what an L-shaped staircase essentially is. The bend in this case may be in the centre of or close to the end of the flight of stairs. Although it is not always the case, the bend is often 90 degrees, but allows for certain variation. Due to the landing’s proximity to either the top or bottom, it is sometimes referred to as a quarter-turn stair.
Since it implements broader landing, an L-shaped staircase takes up less room and is simpler to use. Because of the breaking barrier, it is aesthetically pleasing and provides privacy. The central landing lessens the number of treads a person might fall on, making it safer too.
- U Shaped Staircase
This type of stairs is sometimes also called half-turn or the switchback stairs. The U-shaped staircase consists of two parallel flights of stairs connected by a landing with a 180-degree turn.
U-shaped stairs are simpler to include into an architectural plan, offer rest stops as you climb, and are visually appealing. They are the most difficult to make compared to the other styles, but they are the easiest to incorporate into a tiny space. The limitations of U-shaped staircases are that they are difficult to measure and construct and need additional support components at the landing.
- Spiral Staircase
The spiral staircase’s design is centred on a pole, and when viewed from above, it appears to create a perfect circle. Although small, it can be challenging to manoeuvre on.
They are ideal for small spaces like beach homes and urban apartments. The stairs do not require additional support, as the centre pole and landings serve as their structural support. Its disadvantage is that only one person at a time can move through it because the inner portion of each step is steep and the footing calls for caution. Moving objects up the spiral staircase is also challenging, and the combination of these two considerations make it for a generally not accessible or comfortable, if visually intriguing, choice.
- Curved Staircase
The continuous spiral staircase creates a helical arc and provides a wonderful view of the surrounding architecture. It does not create a complete circle since it has a bigger radius. It enhances a home’s elegance and can be placed there to make a good first impression on anyone coming in due to its inviting shape. When they have a wider radius, they are simpler to manoeuvre. They are the hardest variety to construct, though. In actuality, it represents the pinnacle of success for any builder or fabricator. Since it is curved, it is undoubtedly the most expensive to construct compared to other forms of staircases.
- Bifurcated Staircase
When one sees bifurcated steps, images of grand castle halls with beautiful, intricate and wide staircases come to mind. The lower treads are wider than the rest, maintaining the ancient style’s regal appearance. Beautiful pieces of balustrade can be created by supporting the handrails with balusters.
The sole disadvantage of the split staircase is that it takes up more room. Bifurcated staircase designs are therefore better suited to large-scale structures and can only be situated when the planning of your house allows for open-floor plans coming up to the second floor to make the most use of two separate staircases going up from the landing of such stairs.
- Ladder Staircase
The ladder staircase can be used in situations where there exists an issue with space, however, construction regulations prohibit them from being used as the main point of entry. They are primarily seen in residential homes as a connection to the basement or attic when they are not considered to be a living space. Lofts, ports, and libraries can all use ladder stairs. Due to their designs, they are both the most economical and compact way to move between floors. Additionally, ladder staircases could be on wheels or fold up to make them easier to store when not in use or to limit movement. Their disadvantage is that they are challenging to manoeuvre when descending.
- Cantilever Staircase
The stair treads on the cantilever staircase make an illusion of being suspended in mid-air since their point of support is shifted to the side rails. The opposite end either holds a railing system or floats freely while the treads are attached to one end with a metal frame by generating a special support system. Based entirely on your preference, the stair stringer can be planned as exposed or hidden. They give a room character and openness because of this. It is advised to check with the local code rules as some layouts can be challenging to build.
One disadvantage of cantilever staircases is that the tread support must be made to hold the weight of the people utilising the stairs. Due to additional structural requirements, the stairs are also more expensive than alternative, more commonly seen and used designs.
- Space Saving Staircase
For a small home, the space-saving staircase is probably the most desired and effective choice. In a limited space, one can integrate steps with a high pitch, a ribbon design, or that are thinner. By building a library at the bottom of the steps, the voracious readers can make use of the area. They will have reduced the amount of room needed while still adding a little bit of elegance.The location is further enhanced by suitable lighting or the presence of natural light.
The reader who needs privacy may be disturbed while the other members use the stairs, which is the only negative of the space-saving storage staircase.
One’s taste, preferences, and personality can be shown through their choice of staircase styles. Therefore, before implementing various types of staircases, one must be aware of their demands, preferences, and interests. Making the steps stand out also depends heavily on your upkeep and ability to maintain them. For example, one may choose to use box newels or turned newels in their staircase design to make it stand out among the rest, but one must understand the implications behind any of their design choices. At the end of the day, the final decision is up to you, however it is advised that your decision should be made in tandem with a professional carpenter and an interior designer who will tell you what type of staircase would be the most practical and stylish choice for your home.