Choosing The Right Kind Of Staircase To Suit Your Taste

On March 26, 2018 by Preeti Shah

A staircase can be a striking visual feature within a home, whilst also being one of the most functional things you will ever have to make a decision about when renovating, or even designing, the interior layout of a home or office space. There are a number of factors which will drastically affect what type of staircase you end up installing. Here are just a few suggestions which will help you to choose the right kind of staircase for your home.

Privacy –  How much privacy do you want to afford yourself between the different floors of your space? For example, stairs in a residential space often provide a different purpose than the stairs in a commercial space; whereas the staircase dividing two floors of an open plan office may be designed to foster collaboration and easy thoroughfare, residential stairs will serve the purpose of clearly delineating the different floors and living spaces of a home.

Safety Considerations –  As we are about to discuss, different staircase designs will often bring up varying safety considerations. For example, a winding staircase will have smaller treads, and would therefore be that more unsafe in a house with small children or elderly relatives; likewisestair treads which are designed too high and too deep can cause unnecessary risk for those who are frail or vulnerable.

Architectural Considerations – Some staircase designs will need central columns or poles, as a means of support. Other kinds of staircase design will need a central support build under them before you can even think about building the stairs themselves

Aesthetic Considerations – Ultimately your staircase designs will depend on the type of building you are renovating/building. More complex, elegant staircase designs will make more of an architectural statement, and will often be more suited to larger, commercial premises/luxury properties. Aesthetic considerations also, of course, affects cost.

CostThis is arguably the most important of the factors which will determine what kind of staircase you decide to install. The cost of installation and/or renovation will increase the more complex the design becomes. As a rough guide, a simple set of straight stairs can cost as little as £400, going up to £1100 for more expensive materials. In contrast, winder stairs can cost as much as £1700.

The Different Types Of Staircase Explained

Straight Staircases

Straight Staircases
Straight staircases are the simplest form of stair design, both in terms of overall layout and in terms of the ability to renovate them later. Many modern homes will have straight staircases made out of concrete, meaning that they’re easy to update with cladding, be it tiling or timber.

Advantagesstraight stairs are easy to modernise, re-tile, re-carpet and generally update if they are part of an already existing property. Handrails for straight stairs are also easier to install. On the whole, straight stairs are the easiest model of stairs to build.

Disadvantagesif you are starting from scratch, straight stairs can take up a lot of space in a floor plan, which is perhaps why you are more likely to find them in commercial buildings, where are accommodated by larger floor plans. They are also a less safe model of staircase than U-turn and L-shaped stairwells, as they don’t have a landing to cushion or break any fall or accident.

L-Shaped Stairs

L Shaped Stairs
L-shaped stairs are characterised by their design which sees the stairwell take a 90 degree turn, with a small landing in the middle. They are also complex to build if starting from scratch, or if inserting them into an existing floorplan.

Advantagesif your taste is more geared to visual flair, then L-shaped stairs are a good option, as they are more visually interesting in most settings. As we discussed in our previous entry, they are also one of several stair designs which are safer, as the landing space breaking up the stairwell form a cushion from any potential trips or falls.

Disadvantagesa support structure is required for any L-shaped design, though it’s worth mentioning that this can be built into the surrounding walls if necessary. Using the right kind of architectural steel means that any supporting structures can be minimal; however they will have to be factored into any costings for the stairs.

Winder Stairs

Winder Stairs

Winder stairs are similar in design to L-shaped staircases, but offer a more compact design. Instead of a full landing, winder stairs have a triangular tread which breaks up the flight.

Advantagesthe advantages of winder stairs lie in their compact design, which makes them especially for people wishing to save space. They offer a slightly more elegant design than winder shaped stairs.

Disadvantagesthis staircase design is slightly harder to navigate and therefore not as safe as L-shaped stairs. They also require supporting structures.

U Shaped Stairs

U Shaped Stairs
U-shaped stairs are essentially parallel stairs with a 180 degree turn in the middle. Like L-shaped stairs, U-shaped stairs are arguably safer because any fall or trip would be broken by the landing.

AdvantagesAgain, U-shaped stairs are arguably more aesthetically and architecturally interesting to fit into any new building. They will technically take up less floor space than a straight flight of stairs.

Disadvantageslike L-shaped stairs, U-shaped stairs are more complex to build, especially when you factor in hand-rails or support structures.

Curved Stairs

Curved Stairs
Curved/helical stairs, are arguably for people who want to add a bit of grace or flourish to their staircase design. It’s worth bearing mind that this kind of staircase is better used for an entry hall or atrium, to lend a sense of grandeur to larger spaces.

Advantagescurved stairs are at their most effective in retail or office spaces, as they offer an incentive for visitors and customers to explore more of the premises. The inherent elegance of the design is also an advantage; curved stair designs definitely make an architectural statement. Curved stairs also don’t require a central support or column in the way that spiral staircases do.

Disadvantagescurved stairs are often the most expensive to build, usually due to the curvature of the staircase and the hand-rails. The staircase treads are all various shapes, because of the shape of the design, adding to the precision and cost of the manufacture required for curved stairs.

Spiral Staircases

Spiral Staircases
Spiral staircases are built around a central pole or structure, although they share a similar tread design to helical/curving staircases. However, spiral staircases will often take up less space. Once again, spiral staircases are very aesthetically appealing, and can be an interesting addition to any commercial space or office. It’s worth bearing in mind that they would only be suitable for certain kinds of residential space.

Advantagesas well as looking beautiful and elegant, spiral staircases are a good idea for saving space, especially linking floors in open plan or mezzanine spaces. They also do not need much in the way of extra support structures, as the treads are built around a central pole.

Disadvantagessome building regulations may not allow this type of staircase to be the primary form of access in a building. Much like curved staircases, they are complex in design, and can be difficult to build and navigate.

Weldwide specialise in the design, manufacture and installation of architectural steel fabrications, including staircases, balconies, gates and railings.

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