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Straight Stairs Design | An Architect Explains

A straight staircase can be defined as one having a single, straight flight of stairs like a ladder that connects two levels or floors in a building. A straight staircase is one of the oldest and most common types of staircases found in buildings.

Straight Stairs
Straight Stairs have a single straight flight

ADVANTAGES OF STRAIGHT STAIRCASE:

Simplicity:  Some people prefer the simplicity of a straight staircase.
Many Design Options:  Despite its simple form, different types of materials can be used to make the Straight stairs unique and attractive.
Convenient and functional:  Straight stairs are very convenient to use.
Affordability:  A straight staircase is cheaper than other types of staircases such as U-shaped or curved because of it’s ease in construction.
Ease of Construction:  A straight staircase is the most easy to design,  construct and install among staircases.
Uninterrupted View:   A person walking up or down the stairs has a clear view of the entire flight, so he is at a lower risk of bumping into someone going in the other direction.
Safety:  Because a straight staircase offers a clear view of the stairs, there is a lower chance of falls or misplaced steps.
Stair lift:  It is easy to accommodate additions like a stair lift that is a necessity for people with mobility issues.
stair lift fixed to a straight staircase
It is easy to install a stair lift to a straight staircase

DISADVANTAGES OF STRAIGHT STAIRCASE:

Lack of privacy:  Because there is no visual barrier between the two floors connected by a straight staircase, there is often a lack of privacy. This is sometimes awkward in buildings that house multiple families on different floors.
Falls can be Serious:  A straight staircase often consists of more treads than a staircase with landings. As a result, a fall from the top of the stairs could result in serious injuries.
Uncomfortable for older people: The lack of a landing can be tiresome for older people who have to climb all the stairs at once.
Requires More Space:  Straight staircases require more linear space as compared to curved or platform staircases.


DIFFERENT IDEAS FOR STRAIGHT STAIRCASES:

TWO-STRINGER STRAIGHT STAIRS: The commonest type of straight stairs is the two-stringer staircase with stringers (supports) on either ends to support the treads. The stringers are “cut” to show the profile of the treads and risers from the side.
straight, two-stringer staircase with cut-profile
Straight, two-stringer staircase with cut profile

Or the stairs have “closed” stringers that does not show the profile of the steps. In this case the steps are supported by what looks like two straight, solid beams running at the bottom of the balustrade.

straight, closed, two-stringer staircase
Straight, closed, two-stringer staircase. The profile of the steps is not visible

FOLDED-STRINGER STRAIGHT STAIRS:  Sometimes the stringers are folded like in the image here below.

Straight, folded, staircase
Straight, folded-stringer staircase

OPEN-RISER STRAIGHT STAIRS: Nowadays, open stairs which have open treads, that is without risers, are more popular since the form of the staircase can be seen from all angles. See picture below.

Straight, open staircase with open treads
Straight, open staircase with open treads

CENTRE STRINGER STRAIGHT STAIRS: Another way of supporting the treads in straight stairs is with one central stringer. These are called centre-stringer stairs (mono-stringer stairs). Normally, the steps in this type of staircase are open so that the central stringer is highlighted. See here.

Straight, centre-stringer staircase
Straight, centre-stringer staircase with open treads

CANTILEVERED STRAIGHT STAIRS: In some cases, there is no visible stringer and the steps appear to cantilever out of a wall (see the image below).  These are called cantilevered-stringer stairs. In this type, usually there is a concrete or steel stringer embedded within a wall, to which the treads are fixed.

Straight, cantilevered, wooden staircase
Straight, cantilevered, wooden staircase

CARPETED STRAIGHT STAIRS: To enhance the straight line of the stairs, sometimes, a carpet runs along it’s length.

Straight staircase with runner carpet
A runner carpet on a straight staircase enhances it’s length

The stairs shown in this post are just a few examples. Innumerable types are possible with the imaginative use of different materials for the treads, risers, stringers, balusters and railings.

While Straight stairs have their advantages, the Straight stairs with landings are an improvement. For more information on other stair shapes go to:  Stair Shapes.

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