Stairs | Stairways

Stairs, stairways, staircases, or stairwells, are building components that provide users with a means of vertical movement with the distribution of separate and individual vertical steps. In a building setting, a flight of stairs refers to a complete series of steps that connects between two distinct floors. Either as conscious design decisions or as reactions to existing spatial conditions, stairs can take on a variety of organizational types from straight runs to spiral, L-shaped, U-shaped, or circular forms. Each stair step is typically comprised of a horizontal tread and a vertical riser.

Stairs

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180° Winding Stairs
Side elevation illustration of a man climbing a set of 180° Winding Stairs

The 180° Winding Staircase, also known as a Winder Staircase, makes a 180° turn up toward the next level because of the addition of a landing at some point. It is an ideal staircase design for an entryway when it is combined with a mid-point landing for its space efficient qualities. The 180° Winding Staircase has an easy walk up, and it can give a home a grand appearance, and the winder adds a safety feature to help break a fall. They are usually made of wood or metal to give a space either a traditional or a contemporary feel.

Plan and elevation drawings of 180° Winding Stairs with dimensions
The 180° Winding Staircase, also known as a Winder Staircase, makes a 180° turn up toward the next level because of the addition of a landing at some point. It is an ideal staircase design for an entryway when it is combined with a mid-point landing for its space efficient qualities.

Plan and elevation drawings of 180° Winding Stairs with dimensions
180° Winding 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:
180° Winding Stairs side elevation, side (person), front, plan

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90° Winding Stairs
Elevation illustration of a woman ascending a set of 90° winding stairs

A 90° Winding Staircase makes a 90° turn up towards the next level. The staircase allows the user to turn a corner and change their direction. The primary benefit of a 90° Winding Staircase over a flat landing straight staircase is that the 90° Winding Staircase saves much more space. The winders are the steps that are narrower on one side than the other, and when three steps are used to turn the 90° corner, the middle step is called the kite winder, as it looks like a kite-shaped quadrilateral. 

Set of dimensioned drawings of 90° Winding Stairs with measurements for height and width
A 90° Winding Staircase makes a 90° turn up towards the next level. The staircase allows the user to turn a corner and change their direction. The primary benefit of a 90° Winding Staircase over a flat landing straight staircase is that the 90° Winding Staircase saves much more space.

Set of dimensioned drawings of 90° Winding Stairs with measurements for height and width
90° Winding 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:
90° Winding Stairs side elevation, side (person), front, plan

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Z-Shaped 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 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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Quarter-Turn | L-Shaped Stairs
Illustration of a man walking up a Quarter-Turn | L-Shaped Stair viewed in side profile

A Quarter Turn staircase changes its direction to the right or left, but the affected portion of the turn introduces a quarter space landing or winders. The flight of stairs turns 90°, as it rises to connect two different levels, so it is also called a L-stair. L-shaped Stairs have many advantages; they provide a visual barrier between floors to add privacy, and they can somewhat aid in sound transmission between floors if the stairs are contained within walls. The landing can provide a place to stop and rest when ascending, and the staircase is safer than straight stairs, as the central landing can reduce the number of treads when falling.

Dimensioned plan and elevation drawings of a Quarter-Turn | L-Shaped Stair measuring height and width
A Quarter Turn staircase changes its direction to the right or left, but the affected portion of the turn introduces a quarter space landing or winders. The flight of stairs turns 90°, as it rises to connect two different levels, so it is also called an L-stair. L-shaped Stairs have many advantages.

Dimensioned plan and elevation drawings of a Quarter-Turn | L-Shaped Stair measuring height and width
Quarter-Turn | L-Shaped 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-Turn | L-Shaped Stairs side elevation, side (person), front, plan

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Spiral Staircase (Residential)
Dimensioned drawing 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 Staircase (Residential)
Height:
Width:
Length:
Depth:
Weight:
Area:

Drawings include:
Spiral Stair elevation (person)

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