Choosing stair shapes

Stairs can become a focal point of any room. They add dramatic lines, bring a common theme to a room, and provide stunning curves. Choosing what stairs best fit your home is based mainly on the amount of space you have for them. However, the materials, look, and style of your stairs are based mostly on what look you want to bring into your home, or what common theme you have throughout the home. There are a variety of ways to construct your stairs. Often, building from scratch can be quite costly. There are now various pre assembled stair kits in metals and woods that make installing easy and simple for you. The cost is relatively less expensive than building from scratch, and provides you the ease of installing them if you are installing the stairs yourself. Below is a simple guide to the various types of stairs you can have in your room, the uses, and the materials you can use for those stairs. Just make sure before you choose your stair and start the process that you make sure your new stairs will be up to your area’s particular building codes.
Straight Stairs

Straight stairs are the most common type of stair in a home. As the name implies, these stairs offer no curves, turns, or twists. These stairs are often the most popular in homes because they generally are the most inexpensive to install. The most common materials used for construction are woods and many choose to carpet over them. Companies like Stair Systems offer hardwood stairs in sections, and come to your door ready to assemble for approximately $1,000-2,000. The company also offers banisters, posts and railings to fit your new staircase and the ability to customize any staircase. Assembling the stairs requires nothing more than a hammer, level and drill. Straight stairs are ideal for second floor to main floor and main floor to basement access.

L Stairs, Double L Stairs, or Winder Stairs

L Stairs offer a 90 degree angle while double L stairs offer two 90 degree angle turns to the stair. Winder stairs offer a more dramatic look to the typical L shaped stair and offer a pseudo-landing in between. Stairs are typically pie shaped. These type of stairs are not as common to residential construction. They are often only used when tighter spacing is needed, and more often with main floor to basement access. Construction of these stairs is typically made of wood and many people will often apply carpet over them. If assembling and building yourself, the degree of difficulty increases, especially with the Double L stairs. Companies like Stair Systems also offer the ability for you to buy pre assembled staircases for relatively inexpensive.

U Stairs

U Stairs consist of two flights of stairs parallel to each other with a small landing in between. These types of stairs are typically found in split level entry homes and occasionally in tri-level homes. These stairs are also typically made of wood, and many people choose to carpet them. These types of stairs are narrow in construction. While the degree of difficulty may not seem hard, these can be quite tricky to try to assemble yourself because of the small space usually required to install them. Consider buying a preassembled kit or having someone install these for you.

Circular Stairs

Circular stairs are most often designed for higher end homes. Owners typically want to add a more dramatic effect to their home, or have the stairs become the focal point of their rooms. Circular stairs offer an opportunity to add a unique look to a room. Many circular stairs come in a half moon shape, but many circular stairs are uniquely curved. The cost to install these types of stairs increases extensively. Some companies like Duvinage offer the ability to build the stairs for you in their factory, and then disassemble them into three or four different sections. These sections will need to be lifted by crane or another type of lifting device to be lifted from the truck into the home. The average cost of installing circular stairs runs between $10,000-25,000. Stairs are typically wood but can also be made of metal as well depending on the type of circular stair you do. These types of stairs are typically only used for main floor to second floor landings because of the cost and look.

Spiral Stairs

Spiral stairs have grown in popularity over the years and are now popping up in homes across the country. Typically, these stairs are made of metals and some companies like Spiral Stairs of America offer the ability to ship complete one piece units by freight to your door. Other companies like Boston Design offer the ability to bring illuminated low voltage lighting to the staircase to bring a dramatic effect to the staircase. Spiral stairs are popular in smaller loft style homes, as a secondary access in homes. They are also very popular for main floor to basement and access to attic space. Most are constructed of welded metals. These types of stairs are not as safe as other types of stairs. These types of stairs are more economical to build and install in a home.

Storage Staircase

This novel idea is a knock off of what houseboats and yachts currently use to add more storage space. If your home is tight on space, consider converting, or installing your new staircase with pull out storage drawers. The drawer pulls out easily from the staircase and when put back looks exactly like the stair. What a great idea for storing winter gloves and hats, children’s school books and materials, and more! Just make sure you put the drawer back. There is a link to doing in yourself, or companies that offer the ability to do it for you when installing the stairs for you.

Tube Slide Stairs

Tube slides are a fun way for grandkids or children to access various parts of the home without using the stairs. One home we went to had a tube (or tunnel) slide connecting from their upstairs kitchen to the downstairs playroom. The kids will have a blast climbing and sliding down their very own secret passageway. Not much room is required to install them. However, you will need to make sure that you don’t interfere with plumbing, pipes, or electrical wires. Most of the time these slides are installed during new home construction to work around plumbing and pipes. Most slides come in heavy duty plastic. One family, tired of having their children constantly sliding down the railing of their stairs or taking sleeping bags down their stairs expanded their wooden staircase going downstairs so they had the standard staircase but shaved and smoothed out the wood on one edge of their staircase and then installed a slide on it. The slide lay flush to the staircase. Their children loved taking their sleeping bags down the slide (much faster). It made for a great way to get around for their small children and now their grandchildren are enjoying it. They also enjoy it for safety because they can slide items down the slide instead of “breaking their hips” in their old age trying to carry baskets and items downstairs. Contact playground system companies in your area for installing any of these ideas, or contact a certified contractor.

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