February 24, 2013

Offset Stairs

Stairs can really be a focal point in an interior and can be created in a range of shapes and materials. The form of stairs will either be straight or spiral.

Cantilevered stairs are stairs that are unsupported on one site and are very popular in modern interiors.

Offset stairs (see photo) can be very useful in small spaces where you don’t have the distance to install a more traditional stairs.

Stairs can be made from timber, metal or concrete and can have open or closed risers.

Tip: Metal stairs can make quite a din particularly if their users wear steel-tipped heels.

Tip: Stairs with open risers or glass treads can be indiscreet for anyone wearing a skirt.

Spiral Stairs
When considering whether you can fit a spiral into a space you first need to establish the likely entry and exit points for the stair. These entry and exit points can be rotated around the centre of the stairs but their relative distance from one another is determined by the minimum tread depth and maximum riser height. For instance a 13 rise (step), right-handed stair can start at the four 4 o’clock position on the ground floor and finish at the 6 o’clock position.

Tip: Placing a spiral staircase in the corner of a room reduces the amount of railing required, thus reducing the overall cost.

Tip: Getting large pieces of furniture up and down a spiral staircase is virtually impossible so either opt for furniture that can be dismantled or provide a window in the room that furniture can be brought through.

A series of steps is called a flight

The tread is the flat part of a step. It is the part that your foot rests on as you climb a flight of stairs.

A riser is the upright part of a step. High risers give steep stairs, shallow risers give gentle stairs

A step that is wider at one end than the other is called a winder.

Building Regulations
Part K of the Technical Guidance Documents give guidelines on stair widths, riser heights, tread depth etc. In houses the clear width of the stairs should 800mm, the riser depth can be 175 – 220mm and the tread depth can be between 220 – 250mm.  This document also gives information on the clearance heights, max number of steps, size of landings etc.

Be careful about making stairs too steep. It may be a great solution on the drawing board but can make the stairs difficult to use in reality.


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