Staircase Designs and Construction Types

Staircase Designs and Construction Types

Stairs all perform the same basic function of allowing access between different levels of a building, but that does not mean all stairs are alike. There are numerous methods of construction and staircase styles, but by far the most common method of construction is with timber. Easier and cheaper to build than any other type of stairs, a timber staircase will last for many years if well constructed. Concrete and cast iron may also be used in stair construction, or a combination of these materials. Whatever type of staircase, you have, it will often be the first thing people see when they visit your home, so it is important to make the most of it Understanding different types and how they are constructed will give you a better insight into what can be achieved with any staircase, however grand or small.

Timber Stairs

In private homes the majority of staircases are manufactured from timber. If the stairs are in particularly bad shape then replacing them entirely is often a more economical option than attempting to repair or refurbish them. With most older stairs you will find the structure is sound but there are just a few creaks. These can be effectively repaired and given a new finish by being sanded and then painted or stained, and when this is combined with a new set of spindles and newel post or panelling under the stairs, a total revamp can be achieved for relatively little cost.

Closed tread stairs are the simplest to make and are undoubtedly the most common – most modern houses include a staircase with a single straight flight of stairs of closed tread construction. More traditional closed tread stairs tend to be made from solid timber, but with the invention of relatively inexpensive manufactured building boards, on many modern staircases treads and risers will often be made from MDF or plywood.

Building regulations state that a staircase with over sixteen treads must incorporate a landing. Few domestic staircases are greater then twelve treads but they may still include a landing if the stairs turn a corner.

Open Tread Stairs

Open Tread Staircase Designs Open tread stairs are similar to closed tread stairs except that more of a feature is made of the staircase. Although once very popular, nowadays domestic staircases are seldom built with an open tread construction, partly because of changing trends and fashions and partly because of the increased cost of production. Lacking the support of risers, the treads must be more stoutly constructed to be able to cope with the loads placed upon them without deflecting.

For obvious reasons open tread stairs are not usually covered with carpet, but the treads tend to be made of hardwood which can be stained, varnished, polished or painted. The absence of risers mean that these stairs cannot be boxed in with any great success. Indeed, the very idea of the open tread is to allow the eye to see other parts of the room and the structure of the building.

Choosing Timber

Stairs can be so much more than just a means to travel from one level to another. There is a huge range of timbers suitable for stair construction if you are considering installing a new staircase or completely replacing an existing one. You may buy a pre-constructed staircase, or you may choose to have one custom-made.

The cost depends on the type timber you choose. If you select a hardwood timber such as oak, be prepared to pay a premium price. Conversely, softwood timber such as pine will be far more affordable. You can always use cheaper wood or manufactured boards if the stairs are to be painted, but a pine stair will look good stained or varnished.

Renovating a Staircase

Another option is to dress up the staircase design you already have. Many DIY stores offer stair part kits to transform the look of a staircase. Without touching the treads and risers it is possible to remove the existing newel, balusters and handrail, replacing these with something else better suited to your taste and the surrounding décor.

15. December 2010 by admin
Categories: DIY Home, Stairs | Tags: , | Comments Off on Staircase Designs and Construction Types


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