Stair types refer to the design and layout of a set of stairs. There are several different types of stairs, each of which serves a specific purpose and is more or less appropriate for different contexts.

Straight stairs are the most common type and have a uniform rise and run, making them simple and efficient. L-shaped stairs have a landing that changes the direction of the stairs, and are often used in buildings with limited space or where the stairs need to follow the layout of the building. Winder stairs have treads that are narrower on one side than the other, allowing them to turn a corner while using a smaller footprint. Spiral stairs are circular stairs that are compact and space-efficient, but can be more difficult to navigate.

Different stair types are important because they allow designers to choose the most appropriate solution for a given context, based on factors such as the available space, the intended use of the stairs, and the needs of the users.

Where are straight stairs typically used?

Straight stairs are the most common type of stairs and can be found in a wide range of buildings, including homes, offices, schools, and public buildings. They are simple, efficient, and easy to use, making them suitable for most purposes. They are often used in situations where there is sufficient space and where the stairs do not need to change direction or follow a specific layout.

Why aren't spiral stairs more common?

Spiral stairs are circular stairs that are compact and space-efficient, but they have some limitations that make them less common than other types of stairs. One of the main reasons why spiral stairs are not more common is that they can be more difficult to navigate, especially for people with mobility issues or for those carrying large objects. Spiral stairs also have a more limited capacity compared to straight or L-shaped stairs, as they are typically narrower and have less space for multiple users to pass each other.

When should winder stairs be used?

Winder stairs are stairs that have treads that are narrower on one side than the other, allowing the stairs to turn a corner while using a smaller footprint. These stairs are often used in situations where space is limited, or where the layout of the building requires the stairs to change direction. Winder stairs can be more efficient than L-shaped stairs in terms of space usage, as they allow the stairs to follow a more compact path. However, winder stairs can be more difficult to navigate.

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Stair Types Guides
Browse through our curated Stair Types Guides for additional categorizations, tips, details, variations, styles, and histories of Stair Types. Guides provide additional insights into the unique properties and shared relationships between elements.
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Egress Stairs - Single
https://p3d.in/e/SZOTr
GUIDE
3D
Egress Stairs - SingleView of Egress Stairs (Single) in 3D available for downloadView of Egress Stairs (Single) in 3D available for download
L-Shaped Curved Stairs
https://p3d.in/e/aNDWX
GUIDE
3D
L-Shaped Curved Stairs3D model of L-Shaped Curved Stairs viewed in perspective3D model of L-Shaped Curved Stairs viewed in perspective
L-Shaped Straight Stairs
https://p3d.in/e/V80R1
GUIDE
3D
L-Shaped Straight StairsPerspective view of a 3D model of L-Shaped Straight StairsPerspective view of a 3D model of L-Shaped Straight Stairs
L-Shaped Winder Stairs
https://p3d.in/e/jAvEY
GUIDE
3D
L-Shaped Winder StairsView of L-Shaped Winder Stairs in 3D available for downloadView of L-Shaped Winder Stairs in 3D available for download
Spiral Stairs - Open Risers
https://p3d.in/e/0PMHJ
GUIDE
3D
Spiral Stairs - Open Risers3D model of Spiral Stairs (Open Risers) viewed in perspective3D model of Spiral Stairs (Open Risers) viewed in perspective
Split Straight Stairs
https://p3d.in/e/vWTAU
GUIDE
3D
Split Straight StairsPerspective view of a 3D model of Split Straight StairsPerspective view of a 3D model of Split Straight Stairs
Straight Stairs
https://p3d.in/e/6gVR1
GUIDE
3D
Straight StairsView of Straight Stairs in 3D available for downloadView of Straight Stairs in 3D available for download
Straight Stairs - Landing
https://p3d.in/e/ZtSdz
GUIDE
3D
Straight Stairs - Landing3D model of Straight Stairs (Landing) viewed in perspective3D model of Straight Stairs (Landing) viewed in perspective
Three-Quarter Turn Straight Stairs
https://p3d.in/e/R7L2t
GUIDE
3D
Three-Quarter Turn Straight StairsPerspective view of a 3D model of Three-Quarter Turn Straight StairsPerspective view of a 3D model of Three-Quarter Turn Straight Stairs
U-Shaped Curved Stairs
https://p3d.in/e/f7Wuy
GUIDE
3D
U-Shaped Curved StairsView of U-Shaped Curved Stairs in 3D available for downloadView of U-Shaped Curved Stairs in 3D available for download
U-Shaped Straight Stairs
https://p3d.in/e/xTD5D
GUIDE
3D
U-Shaped Straight Stairs3D model of U-Shaped Straight Stairs viewed in perspective3D model of U-Shaped Straight Stairs viewed in perspective
U-Shaped Straight Stairs - Landing
https://p3d.in/e/zRcGM
GUIDE
3D
U-Shaped Straight Stairs - LandingPerspective view of a 3D model of U-Shaped Straight Stairs - LandingPerspective view of a 3D model of U-Shaped Straight Stairs - Landing
U-Shaped Winder Stairs
https://p3d.in/e/MNcdb
GUIDE
3D
U-Shaped Winder StairsView of U-Shaped Winder Stairs in 3D available for downloadView of U-Shaped Winder Stairs in 3D available for download
Z-Shaped Winder Stairs
https://p3d.in/e/VlBnY
GUIDE
3D
Z-Shaped Winder Stairs3D model of Z-Shaped Winder Stairs viewed in perspective3D model of Z-Shaped Winder Stairs viewed in perspective
Spiral Stairs - Open Risers
Dimensioned elevation and plan drawings of Spiral Staircase with measurements for width, height, and stair risers

Spiral Stairs follow a helical arc, and the treads radiate around a central pole. They are often found in industrial contexts, and the reduced tread width allows for a very compact design. However, this can be a disadvantage as it can be very steep. A Spiral Staircase typically has a handrail on only the outer side; the inner side just has the central pole. As the central pole provides the structural support for the stairs, it does not need many additional support structures, which makes installation easier than other types of stairs.

Spiral Stairs follow a helical arc, and the treads radiate around a central pole. They are often found in industrial contexts, and the reduced tread width allows for a very compact design. However, this can be a disadvantage as it can be very steep. A Spiral Staircase typically has a handrail.

Spiral Stairs - Open Risers
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Drawings include:
Spiral Stair elevation (person)

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L-Shaped Curved Stairs
Elevation illustration of a man climbing a flight of Curved or arched stairs

Curved Stairs, also referred to as Arched Stairs, use a wider radius than a Spiral Staircase to wind upwards to a second floor or landing. They can be varied in materials from wood to glass and wrought iron to add a traditional or modern feel. And they are great for commercial properties like retail stores, showrooms, and other public spaces, but they also add a glamorous effect in an office or residential location. It is often used as a focal point in the center of an interior space, as it draws in visitors to explore the next level.

Set of plan and elevation drawings of Curved | Arched stairs with dimensions
Curved Stairs, also referred to as Arched Stairs, use a wider radius than a Spiral Staircase to wind upwards to a second floor or landing. They can be varied in materials from wood to glass and wrought iron to add a traditional or modern feel. And they are great for commercial properties.

Set of plan and elevation drawings of Curved | Arched stairs with dimensions
L-Shaped Curved Stairs
Height:
Width:
Length:
Depth:
Weight:
Area:

Inner Radius: At least 2x the width of the stair
Narrow End (Min.): 10” | 25.5 cm

Width (Min.): 36” | 91.4 cm
Rise (Max.): 7” | 18 cm
Run (Min.): 11” | 28 cm
Landing (Min.): 36” | 91.4 cm
Handrail Height: 34”-38” | 86.5-96.5 cm

Drawings include:
Curved (Arched) Stairs side elevation, side (person), front, plan

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U-Shaped Straight Stairs
Elevation illustration of a man climbing a set of Quarter Landing | U-Shaped Stairs

Quarter Landing Stairs, also called U-Shaped Stairs, are two parallel flights of straight stairs that are joined by a landing that creates a 180° turn in the middle of the walk line. They are similar to L-shape stairs, as both can be located in a corner. Some advantages include their ease to fit into an architectural plan, and the landing can offer a resting point partway up the stairs. They are visually more appealing than straight staircases, and they take up less linear floor space. However, Quarter Landing Stairs can be more difficult to build than simpler stair types.

Set of plan and elevation drawings of Quarter Landing | U-Shaped Stairs with dimensions
Quarter Landing Stairs, also called U-Shaped Stairs, are two parallel flights of straight stairs that are joined by a landing that creates a 180° turn in the middle of the walk line. They are similar to L-shape stairs, as both can be located in a corner.

Set of plan and elevation drawings of Quarter Landing | U-Shaped Stairs with dimensions
U-Shaped Straight Stairs
Height:
Width:
Length:
Depth:
Weight:
Area:

Width (Min.): 36” | 91.4 cm
Rise (Max.): 7” | 18 cm
Run (Min.): 11” | 28 cm
Landing (Min.): 36” | 91.4 cm
Handrail Height: 34”-38” | 86.5-96.5 cm

Drawings include:
Quarter Landing | U-Shaped Stairs side elevation, side (person), front, plan

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U-Shaped Curved Stairs
Illustration of a woman ascending a set of circular stairs in side profile

Circular Stairs are helical staircases that lead upstairs in a flowing arc. They are great for commercial properties like retail stores, showrooms, and other public spaces, but they also add a glamorous effect in an office or residential location. It is often used as a focal point in the center of an interior space, as it draws in visitors to explore the next level. Unlike Spiral Staircases, the Circular Staircase does not require a fixed central column, and it usually has two rolled stringers with treads attached between them.

Plan and elevation drawings of circular stairs with dimensions for the inner radius and minimum parameters
Circular Stairs are helical staircases that lead upstairs in a flowing arc. They are great for commercial properties like retail stores, showrooms, and other public spaces, but they also add a glamorous effect in an office or residential location. It is often used as a focal point in a space.

Plan and elevation drawings of circular stairs with dimensions for the inner radius and minimum parameters
U-Shaped Curved Stairs
Height:
Width:
Length:
Depth:
Weight:
Area:

Inner Radius: At least 2x the width of the stair
Narrow End (Min.): 10” | 25.5 cm

Width (Min.): 36” | 91.4 cm
Rise (Max.): 7” | 18 cm
Run (Min.): 11” | 28 cm
Landing (Min.): 36” | 91.4 cm
Handrail Height: 34”-38” | 86.5-96.5 cm

Drawings include:
Circular Stairs side elevation, side (person), front, plan

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Z-Shaped Winder Stairs
Illustration of a woman climbing a flight of Z-Shaped Stairs in elevation

A Z-Shaped Staircase is a specialized staircase that is occasionally needed to fit around awkward architecture. It uses two parallel 90° turns that create a shape similar to that of the letter “Z” if seen from above. The stairs follow a zig-zag line with the tread and the rise continuous from start to exit. It is also referred to as a Double L Stair, as it is very similar to the L Stair but with two intermediate landings, one near the top and one near the bottom with a 90° change of direction at each landing.

Collection of plan and elevation drawings of Z-Shaped Stairs with dimensions
A Z-Shaped Staircase is a specialized staircase that is occasionally needed to fit around awkward architecture. It uses two parallel 90° turns that create a shape similar to that of the letter “Z” if seen from above. The stairs follow a zig-zag line with the treads and rise.

Collection of plan and elevation drawings of Z-Shaped Stairs with dimensions
Z-Shaped Winder Stairs
Height:
Width:
Length:
Depth:
Weight:
Area:

Winding Steps:
Narrow End (Min.): 6” | 15 cm
Tread Run (Min.): Must meet required tread dimensions 12” | 30.5 cm inward from narrow end

Width (Min.): 36” | 91.4 cm
Rise (Max.): 7” | 18 cm
Run (Min.): 11” | 28 cm
Landing (Min.): 36” | 91.4 cm
Handrail Height: 34”-38” | 86.5-96.5 cm

Drawings include:
Z-Shaped Stairs side elevation, side (person), front, plan

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