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 Guides
Browse through our curated Stairs Guides for additional categorizations, tips, details, variations, styles, and histories of Stairs. Guides provide additional insights into the unique properties and shared relationships between elements.
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Three-Quarter-Turn Stairs
Side elevation illustration of a woman climbing a set of Three-Quarter-Turn Stairs

Three-Quarter Turn Stairs change their directions through 270° by the time the stair reaches the next floor. The direction is changed three times through three right angles, with the upper flight crossing the bottom one. In this type of construction, an open well is formed. This type of stair is normally used when a space has a greater vertical distance but a limited length. Some flights have very few risers, and the landings can provide a place to stop and rest during ascension.

Dimensioned plan and elevation drawings of Three-Quarter-Turn Stairs measuring height and width
Three-Quarter Turn Stairs change their directions through 270° by the time the stair reaches the next floor. The direction is changed three times through three right angles, with the upper flight crossing the bottom one. In this type of construction, an open well is formed.

Dimensioned plan and elevation drawings of Three-Quarter-Turn Stairs measuring height and width
Three-Quarter-Turn 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:
Three-Quarter-Turn Stairs side elevation, side (person), front, plan

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Egress Stairs
Dimensioned section drawing of vertical Egress stairs with people

Egress Stairs are exit access stairways that incorporate an area of rescue assistance within an enlarged floor-level landing. It provides a protected path that is continuous and unobstructed of egress travel to the exit discharge or public way. The means of egress consists of the exit access, the exit, and the exit discharge. Egress Stairs do not have to be enclosed. With occupant loads for 501 to 1,000 there need to be three exits or exit access doorways, and in spaces with occupant loads greater than 1,000, there need to be four exits or exit access doorways.

Egress Stairs are exit access stairways that incorporate an area of rescue assistance within an enlarged floor-level landing. It provides a protected path that is continuous and unobstructed travel to the exit discharge or public way. The means of egress consists of the exit access and discharge.

Egress Stairs
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Drawings include:
Egress Stair elevation (person)

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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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Split Stairs | Bifurcated Stairs
Side elevation illustration of an elderly man climbing a set of Split | Bifurcated Stairs

Split Stairs, also known as Bifurcated Stairs, have one sweeping set of wider steps that split off into two smaller flights going in opposite directions; these ultimately reach the same horizontal level. The two more narrow flights start at the mid landing, and the railing of the stairs starts at the base of the wide stairs and continuous up to the top of the narrower flights. These stairs are suitable for the interior of public modern buildings at their entrance hall to create a very grand appearance.

Collection of plan and elevation drawings of Split | Bifurcated Stairs measuring height and width
Split Stairs, also known as Bifurcated Stairs, have one sweeping set of wider steps that split off into two smaller flights going in opposite directions; these ultimately reach the same horizontal level. The two more narrow flights start at the mid landing, and the railing continues from the base.

Collection of plan and elevation drawings of Split | Bifurcated Stairs measuring height and width
Split Stairs | Bifurcated 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:
Split | Bifurcated Stairs side elevation, side (person), front, plan

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Curved Stairs | Arched 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
Curved Stairs | Arched 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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