A staircase can be a striking visual feature within a home while also being one of the most useful things you will ever have to decide when renovating or even designing the interior layout of a home or office space. Several factors will drastically affect what type of staircase you end up installing. Here are just a few suggestions that will help you choose the right kind of staircase for your home.
Privacy – How much privacy do you want to afford between the different floors of your space? For example, stairs in a residential area often provide a different purpose than the stairs in a commercial area. In contrast, 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 more unsafe in a house with small children or elderly relatives; likewise, stair treads that 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 staircase designs will need primary 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 be more suited to larger commercial premises/luxury properties. Aesthetic considerations also, of course, affect cost.
Cost – This is arguably the most important factor determining what kind of staircase you decide to install. The cost of installation and 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 are the purest form of stair design, both in terms of the overall layout and 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.
Advantages – straight stairs are easy to modernize, re-tile, re-carpet, and generally update if they are part of an existing property. Handrails for consecutive stairs are also easier to install. On the whole, straight stairs are the most accessible model of stairs to build.
Disadvantages –if 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 more extensive floor plans accommodate them. They are also a less safe staircase model 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 are characterized 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.
Advantages – if your taste is more geared to visual flair, then L-shaped stairs are a good option, as they are more visually appealing in most settings. As we discussed in our previous entry, they are also one of several safer stair designs, as the landing space breaking up the stairwell forms a cushion from any potential trips or falls.
Disadvantages – a 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 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 that breaks up the flight.
Advantages –the advantages of winder stairs lie in their compact design, making them especially wishing to save space. They offer a slightly more elegant design than winder-shaped stairs.
Disadvantages – this 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 are substantially parallel stairs with a 180-degree turn in the middle. Like L-shaped stairs, U-shaped stairs are arguably safer because the landing would break any fall or trip.
Advantages – Again, 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.
Disadvantages – like L-shaped stairs, U-shaped stairs are more complex to build, especially when you factor in hand-rails or support structures.
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 in mind that this kind of staircase is better used for an entry hall or atrium to lend a sense of grandeur to larger spaces.
Advantages – curved stairs are most effective in retail or office spaces, as they offer an incentive for visitors and customers to explore more of the premises. The natural elegance of the design is also an advantage; curved stair designs make an architectural statement. Curved stairs also don’t require central support or column in the way that spiral staircases do.
Disadvantages –curved stairs are often the most expensive to build, usually due to the staircase’s curvature and the hand-rails. The staircase treads are all various shapes because of the design, adding to the manufacture’s precision and cost required for curved stairs.
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 aesthetically appealing and can be an exciting addition to any commercial space or office. It’s worth bearing in mind that they would only be suitable for certain kinds of residential areas.
Advantages –Besides 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 many new support structures, as the treads are built around a central pole.
Disadvantages –some 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 involved in the design and can be challenging to build and navigate.
Worldwide specialize in designing, manufacturing, and installing architectural steel fabrications, including staircases, balconies, gates, and railings.