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 are designed to establish a route or bridge between vertical levels by dividing the distance or height into steps feasible for occupants to travel. Stairs refers to a stairway, staircase, or stairwell while steps refers to the individual vertical distances that make up the stairs. There are many various types of stairs that can be straight, curved, or a set of straight pieces connected at a turn or landing. There are general requirements for a stair’s minimum and maximum tread depth and riser, with a tread being the component of the stair that the occupant steps on and a riser being the vertical component between each tread.
The main parts of a stair include the treads, which are the horizontal surfaces that you step on, the risers, which are the vertical surfaces between the treads, the stringers, which are the structural support for the treads and risers, and the handrail, which is a safety feature that provides a hand grip for people using the stairs.
To prevent accidents on stairs, keep them clean and clutter-free, well-lit, and equipped with handrails. Wear non-slip shoes and hold the handrail while using the stairs. Be careful when carrying objects and repair any damaged steps.
It is difficult to determine the exact date when stairs were invented, as they were likely developed independently in different parts of the world at different times. However, the oldest known stairs were discovered in the ancient city of Ur in modern-day Iraq, and are believed to date back to the early 4th millennium BCE. These stairs were made of brick and were used to provide access to the city's ziggurat, a large pyramid-shaped temple.