A stairway is not only a functional and vital element of any home environment. It also has an architectural and aesthetic value. Therefore, a stairway can and should be designed at an early stage of a home design process. If not, you may end up with having to build your stairway in a place other than the one you have planned to, or having to recalibrate your stairway’s structural and functional characteristics according to existing parameters. Not unlikely, you are going to have to redesign your entire interior.
The Three Whales of Stairway Design
The angle, the steps’ high and width are the ‘three whales’ of choosing a stairway design solution. Parameters should be calculated based on the amount of available free space. It should be noted that the most optimal step width ranges from 23 to 25 cm, and the height – from 15 to 20 cm. The sharper your stairway’s angle is, the harder it is for children, elderly, and ill people to use.
A stairway is a kind of object where convenience borders on safety for those who have to use it. Consequently, it is not something to be trifled with. If your project requires that heaters be installed in direct proximity of your stairways, please, note that excess heat may destroy wood. If you have no alternatives, it is advisable to use a metal stairway.
Types of stairways
Flight stairways, most of which feature landings, are the most popular ones. They can be either straight (run along a single wall) or turn to a side. Both types have space beneath them, which is usually viewed as ‘effective’: you can place a bookcase, wardrobe, shelves or any other household facility there.
Spiral stairways are popular too. However, this is more due to lack of options than because of convenience. Designed by medieval European engineers, they occupy a minimal amount of effective space and interfloor space. They are not quite so convenient or safe, and are downright bad for transporting large-size objects. On the other hand, they were ideal for castles, which were used as fortresses and therefore were to withstand all sorts of dangers. Spiral stairways were very helpful in fighting back enemies. Such a stairway can be blocked by a metal grid.
Circular stairways are rarely used. They go well with various types of interiors and boast high longevity and convenience. However, they take up a lot of space and can be tailored for exclusive projects only. This makes them very expensive.