Different Types of Stairs Used in Building Construction

Generally, stair means a series of steps that lead from one floor to another floor in a building. There are different types of stairs used in a building depending on the purpose of the building. The room in which the stairs are located is named as staircase and the space occupied by the stairs is known as stairway. 

Different Types of Stairs Used in Building

Stairs may be classified under the following two heading:

a) Classification Based on Stair design.
b) Classification Based on Material used for the construction of a stair.

a) Classification Based on Stair design

Based on stair design, they are classified into several types. In this article, we will discuss the fifteen(15) types of the stair. In this category, the most commonly used types of stairs are straight stairs, dog-legged stairs, continuous stairs and U or L shaped stairs. The classification of the stairs is as follows with a simple elaboration to each kind.

1. Straight Stairs
2. Dog-legged Stairs
3. Continuous  Stairs
4. Bifurcated Stairs
5. Quarter turn Stairs
6. Circular Stairs
7. Helical Stairs
8. Spiral Stairs
9. Winder  Stairs
10. Open Newel Stairs
11. Ladder Stairs
12. Geometrical Stairs
13. Curved Stairs
14. U-shaped Stairs or Half-turn stairs
15. Three turn Stairs

1. Straight Stairs

The simplest types of stairs which can be used in a building are straight stairs, in which all the steps lead in one direction and in a continuous form. This type of stairs is generally used where there is a narrow or scarcity of space.

Types of Stairs - Straight Stairs
Types of Stairs – #1. Straight Stairs

Generally, it consists of one flight, sometimes it may be split into two or more than two flight by providing a landing between two flight. Straight stairs follow a single linear flight with no change in direction. This type of staircase generally does not require any additional support and very easy to take measurements and design accordingly.

2. Dog-legged Stairs

The name of this type of stairs can give us idea of its special features. Generally its directions are reversed or changed for 180 degrees as they are half turn stairs and they appear as dog legs in its sectional elevation. These common types of stairs consist of two straight flights running in the opposite direction leaving no space between the flights in plan.

Dog-legged Stairs
Types of Stairs – #2. Dog-legged Stairs

3. Continuous Stairs

The unique feature of this type of stairs can be imaginable from its name only. This type of stairs are geometrical in shape and do not contain any landing or any intermediate newel post. Example: circular stairs, helical stairs, etc.

Types of Stairs – #3. Continuous Stairs

4. Bifurcated Stairs

Do you all remember that grand stylish iconic staircase of the Hollywood movie Titanic? Those are called bifurcated stairs which are bifurcated into two smaller flights of stairs going in opposite directions with the help of quarter-turn mid-landing. These iconic types of staircase are generally used in modern houses where huge space is available.

Bifurcated Stairs
Types of Stairs – #4. Bifurcated Stairs

5. Quarter turn stairs

When the classic straight stairs in a building are turned at 90 degrees with the help of a level landing following either right or left direction, it is known as quarter turn stairs. This particular type of stairs are more attractive than ordinary straight stairs. But, it is hard to carry large objects up and down through this type of stairs and is also harder to assemble than the straight stairs and sometimes it requires support for the landing. This type of stair looks like the English alphabet ‘L’, which is why it is also known as L-shaped stair.

Types of Stairs – #5. Quarter turn stairs

6. Circular Stairs

Generally made of R.C.C material or of Metal and is used in a place where there are space limitations. The steps are winders, generally located at the rear of the building and that’s why provides discomfort in using it. These types of stairs are mostly used in the backside of the building as an emergency Stairs.

Circular Stairs
Types of Stairs – #6. Circular Stairs

7. Helical Stairs

This genre of stairs looks very fine but the structural design and its construction is very complicated. Generally, the material used in constructing this type of stairs is R.C.C. Material in which a large portion of steel is required to resist bending, shear and torsion.

Types of Stairs – #7. Helical Stairs

8. Spiral Stairs

This type of stairs is generally visible in old heritage buildings. The design of this type of stairs is compact with a single handrail which perfectly forms a shape of the circle if one observes it from the top of the stairs. This type of stairs is more affordable and easy to install and gives the building a vintage look too. Though this type of stairs are difficult to navigate and can be used only by one person at a time. It can conflict with fire and safety issues too and is also tough to carry large objects up and down. This type of stair is also used in the backside of the building as an emergency stairs.

Types of Stairs – #8. Spiral Stairs

9. Winder Stairs

Broadly winder stairs are somewhat like a similar or slightly complicated version of L or U shaped staircase. Winder takes the place of the landing to save space.

Winder Stairs
Types of Stairs – #9. Winder Stairs

10. Open Newel Stairs

This type of stairs have clearly visible space at the beginning of the flight as well as at the end. The opening is generally of rectangular shape and it can be used for installation of lifts in a building. The features of this type of stairs is of requirement of more space than the twice the width of the steps.

11. Ladder Stairs

This type of stairs is incorporated in tiny houses to use that extra square foot of space between two upright lengths. This is made of wood or metal. Small house owners these days follow this type of structures while building stairs.

Types of Stairs – #11. Ladder Stairs

12. Geometrical Stairs

This particular type of stairs is of similar to the open newel stairs provided – 

i) This type of stairs have any type of geometrical shape.

ii) They require no newel posts.

iii) The space between the backward and forward flight is curved.

iv) Handrail of such stairs is uninterrupted without any angular turn i.e. straight handrail is used in this type of stairs.

13. Curved Stairs

This particular architectural type of stairs is mostly like of winder or L- shaped stairs which has particularly no landings and is a continuing one. The speciality of this type of stairs is their bending of the handrail which gives it an awestruck statement of architecture and elegance. It is easy to navigate through. But, on the contrary, it is one of the most difficult staircase configurations to build and the large size of the stairs requires open, broad spaces.

Curved Stairs

14. U-shaped Stairs or Half-turn stairs

This particular type of stairs is easy to access and can be found in most of the places. This is similar to the L –shaped stairs.  There is a landing space available between the two parallel flights of stairs which separates them and the bend available between the two flights of stairs forms a full U shape, for which this type of stairs are called U-shaped stairs or Half-turn stairs. This type of stairs are easy to incorporate in a small space and is visually more interesting than a straight or 90-degree staircase.

Types of Stairs – #14. U-shaped Stairs or Half-turn stairs

15. Three turn Stairs

Types of Stairs – #15. Three turn Stairs