Parts of a Staircase
Most staircases have these basic parts. A flight of stairs is composed of the steps. It may have a landing which is a resting place between flights. Each step is made up of the tread which is the part that a foot is placed on and the riser which is the vertical part of the step. Steps may be uniform in width or maybe winders which are narrower on one side and wider on the other. They may have a handrail which is supported by the balusters. The staircase may have one or two stringers which supports the treads on both sides of the stairs.
Essential Elements of the Staircase
The staircase must be composed of a specific height of risers and width of treads to provide safe steps. Handrails should be of suitable height to provide support for people going up or down and help balance them as they move. Additionally, there must be enough headroom for people to stay upright while moving through the stairs.
Types of Staircases
A staircase maybe composed of a straight flight of steps with or without a landing between flights. Some landings may be positioned at the halfway point or at a quarter point. Landings may also be used to change the direction of a flight of steps. It may turn in an L shape or towards two directions in a T shape. It may also turn 180 degrees to face the opposite direction. Some staircases may also be built in a U shape. For houses with wider spaces, the flight of stairs may turn in a gradual arch while for smaller spaces the staircase may be spiral in form.
Apart from the above aspects, other things to consider include the materials to be used for the stairs such as wood, metal or concrete or a combination of these. Different types of wood and metals are available as well as finishes. Additionally, staircases may also be carpeted depending on one's taste and style. Today's staircase design may also range from the classic to the contemporary to ultra modern types with some serving double purposes.
This article is intended to help you understand the basic considerations you need to make when you are deciding on the type of staircase that is perfect for your needs, using the 5 Ws. Where, Why, What, Who and When. It will guide you from the start of the project to the nuances of the choices facing you to adding the finishing touches.
Where: I know this sounds daft, but where is it for? A different design and material would be needed to create one for different uses like a fire escape, office, cottage or small terrace home. For example a spectacular wide curving stone one would be best suited to a hotel or stately home and it would not look at it's best in a small cottage.
What: What will material will you use? Once you have set a maximum spend, you can start to look at the materials you can afford within your budget. Options for the actual stairs include metal, usually aluminum or stainless steel, marble,wood which is often Oak, Ash, or Pine, if you have a particular type of wood in mind ask they supplier and they may be able to source it for you, and then there is stone, again there are several types of stone that are commonly used but it would be best to talk to a specialist supplier if considering this option.
Why: Why do you need to consider cost? Is it for a new build, extension, or can you just renovate the existing stairway. For a complete new one you are looking at the best part of £1000 for a basic type, and this would probably not include the removal of any existing one.