Staircase, or a series of steps/flight, or a pathway that covers vertical distance. Its surface consists of treads (horizontal surface) and risers (vertical surface) with a nosing that is the portion of tread that overhangs in the front of the riser to protect the stair’s most exposed area, i.e. tread from damage. The rail in the railing system is what you hold while climbing up which is connected to stairs or floor with a vertical structure called newel or post. Spindles are wooden/metal structures between posts to provide a safety barrier in the stair system. The stairs are supported by a stringer that is fixed on either side of the stair treads.

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Staircases ©

Although the classification of staircases can be done in various types regarding the material, open-closed structure, geometries, uses, etc. The major types of staircases are identified by its geometries and are as follows:

1. Straight

Straight stairs is a single linear series of steps without changing any directions. It is the most common, simplest, and easiest to build. It is a type that is most preferred in minimalist designed buildings. Though it takes up a fair amount of linear space with no account of any privacy barrier.

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Straight ©
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2. Quarter-turn

Quarter-turn staircases or L-shaped stairs are stairs that make a 90-degree turn at any point after a landing or a transition point. It is more comfortable since it provides a landing for rest between the continuous steps. It is a great type in layouts where the staircase is to be with a surrounding wall.

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Quarter turn ©

3. Winder

Winder stairs are similar to L-shaped stairs but instead of a landing, it consists of winders which are wedge-shaped or triangular steps at the corner transition. This requires less space than any other type. Their compactness is often preferred in sustainable designs. But winder stairs can be a little harder to navigate.

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Winder ©
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4. Half-turn

Half turn or U-shaped stairs consists of two straight series of steps that make a 180-degree turn in the walk line joined by a landing. These types of stairs can be a bit difficult to build but offer certain architectural interest in designs.

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Half turn ©

5. Spiral

This type of stair is a compact style of flight resembling a part of the circle, or following a helical arc and is supported by a single centered column. Spiral stairs are aesthetically pleasing and effective in space but unsafe to navigate or carry large items. They were very widely used in the medieval era and are mostly seen in forts or other ancient structures. 

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Spiral ©

6. Three-quarter turn

Three quarter turn staircase is an elaborate design that consists of multiple landings between the flights and is mostly used in above-average ceiling heights. It requires a lot of space to build this type of stairs.

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Three quarter turn ©
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Three quarter turn ©

7. Bifurcated

Bifurcated stairs are the type of stairs that is divided into two sets of flights that splits in two opposite directions after a landing. It is often used for its grand and luxurious look. It takes up most of the space and is an imposing design used in palaces or designs with large foyers.

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Bifurcated ©

8. Curved (Winding)

Curved or Arched stairs are stairs that are a continuous flight in the shape of an arch without any landings, almost like winder stairs but curved with a large radius. Curved stairs can be the most difficult and costliest type of stairs to be built. It can add an elegant look to the style of contemporary architecture and is relatively easy to walk on.

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Curved ©

9. Helical

Helical stairs are similar to the spiral staircase, but without the central column support and is almost like a twisting curve. This design is often seen in modern structure to give a more artistic look.

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Helical ©

Ashmita Gupta is an Architecture student who believes art is the medicine of life. A book sniffer and an indie music addict, she is often driven with curiosity and hence finds her thrill in art and literature.