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What Is a Flight of Stairs?
A flight of stairs is a set of steps between two floors or two landings. Flight of stairs is also called as a stairway or stairwell.
Many people wonder about steps vs. stairs, which means what is the difference between steps and stairs. A step is defined as support for the foot while going upside or downside of the stairway.
A Stair is a short version of the stairwell. People often confuse steps vs. stairs and stairwell vs. staircase. These words are related to each other.
The vertical length of the step, from one step to another, is called the riser. The horizontal length of step, from the top end of one step to the bottom- most point of another step, is called as the tread.
The core of the step is called nosing.
The total run or total going of the stairs is defined as the horizontal distance from the first riser to the last riser. It’s not defined as the sum of individual tread lengths due to the nosing overlapping between the treads.
If there are N steps, the total run is N-1 times the going. Also, the tread of the first step is considered as part of the landing. The slope or pitch of a stair is defined as a ratio of rise and going. It’s also called the rake of the stairs.
There is something called the pitch in the stairs, an imaginary line along tip of the nosing of the treads. Headroom is the height above the nosing of a tread to the ceiling above it.
While there is no definite number of steps in a flight of stairs, but we can tell the type of stairway made for different constructions and the number of steps required. There is no definite answer for how many steps on one floor or how many steps per floor are there.
If you’re going to make it a dwelling, and if there are more than 30 risers consecutive flight of stairs, it has at least one change of direction, with a landing with a minimum length equal to the stairs’ width.
If it’s other than dwellings, there are two cases. First, if the number of risers between landings is 16, then it’s a utility stair. If the number is 12, then it’s a general access stair.
We count the number of risers in the set of stairs as the total number of steps.
Types of Stairs
There’s a total of five significant types of stairs. These are:-
- Straight Staircases
- Half-turn staircases
- Quarter-turn Staircases
- Spiral Staircases
- Helical Staircases
1. Straight Staircases
The straight staircases have one straight flight of stairs or sometimes two separated flight of stairs by a landing partway up. It’s generally economical. But it also has a drawback that it covers more space of the room.
Landings are incorporated between two staircases to connect it, making it safer with a resting place partway up. Except for the landing between two flights of stairs, all the treads are rectangular and of the same dimensions.
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2. Half Turn Staircases
Half-turn staircase, or 2/4, is a variant of the quarter-turn staircase. The Half-turn staircase consists of two straight flights with two 90 degrees turns
The steps of this type of staircase turn 180 degrees from the base to the top. It covers comparatively less space of the room to build.
Quarter turns may feature angle treads or intermediate landings, and the centre of the staircases could work as an open space enabling several different configurations depending on your space.
We can also see this staircase taking turns sometimes, making the step more comfortable and safer by reducing the angled treads’ tapering.
3. Quarter Turn Staircases
A quarter-turn staircase is two straight stairs connected with a quarter-turn of 90 degrees. The steps turn at 90 degrees.
This stairwell is also known for saving a lot of space in the place where it’s made. When we’re moving with the trend of making a home smart home, this type of space-saving stairs will sure make our dream home possible.
The stairway turn may also feature an intermediate landing or angled steps. The turn can be anywhere in step, be it the base, the middle, or the top of the staircase. You can choose any design as per your requirements.
The staircase turn may also be curved, making ascending and descending much more comfortable.
4. Spiral Staircases
The spiral staircase is the type with an open stairwell (hollow newel) in which treads go around a circular pillar or shaft, following a circular or polygonal plan.
The Spiral staircase is also known as screw, helical, corkscrew, or cockle stairway. Mostly found in an industrial context, its diameter doesn’t exceed 150 or 160 centimetres.
The tread of a spiral staircase is generally less wide than all other types. So, it’s normally used in places with less space. It also has its share of drawbacks, like it can not help the furniture move because of its reduced width. It also has a high risk of failing because of the pronounced tapering of the treads.
5. Helical Staircases
The helical stair is a type of stairs in which the treads rotate from their base in circular, elliptical, or polygonal. The treads on a helical staircase are not installed around the pillar.
A Helical staircase stands out in aesthetics. It requires expertise to design the specific design of the helical staircase. As far as the construction of this stairway is concerned, it usually requires custom made designs.
Helical stairs are much like spiral stairways. It also has space-saving qualities because of its reduced passageway, less wide treads, and hence not helpful in moving furniture through this stair.
How Many Stairs in a Flight?
Most flights of stairs average out at 12 or 13 steps but it depends on the height of the staircase, the location of the stairs (as stair height regulations differ between public and private buildings and between countries), and the purpose of a staircase (as fire escapes have more specific rules than other sorts of stairs).
Some Facts About Stairwells
The ideal height of rising 170 mm but the height of rising of steps in ancillary rooms may be up to 220 mm. To design a stair, you have to understand the tread to rise ratio.
The ratio of rise and tread is expressed as
m = a/s,
m = ratio of rise and tread
a = width of tread
s = height of rising.
We build any stair after determining the ratio of rising and tread in advance. The staircases have traditionally been built of wood, stone or marble, and iron or steel.
The use of steel and reinforced concrete has made it possible to design better-looking staircases and add aesthetics to them by making nice curves and other features.
Escalators and ladders are considered special types of stairs.
There are some alternatives to the stair too. These are elevators (also called lifts), stairlifts, inclined moving walkways, and ramps.
Advantages of Flights of Stairs
The following are benefits of a flights of stairs in the staircase,
- While long staircases may require landings due to space constraints, these are always just found in structures with more distance between floors.
- While one straight run or flight of stairs might be suitable, it just might not be feasible in your home.
- You may have to utilize a landing, and if so you would then have two separate “flights” of stairs instead of one.
- A flight of stairs can be a showpiece in your household, especially if you choose floating stairs or satisfactorily finished hardwood treads.
- The uniform aesthetic combined with extraordinary finish details can generate a flight of stairs as a showpiece.
- Breaking up a satisfactorily finished flight of stairs with a landing does not have a different aesthetic.
- One flight of stairs can save an area in a home and can similarly be visually appealing to the aesthetic of the house, as long, straight lines make for pleasing sightlines in a space.
- It is standard for the houses to have either between 8 feet and 10 feet ceilings, with 8 feet being the extensively common.
- Unless you have a split-level house, dwellings with ceilings of these heights will nearly always have at least one flight of stairs.
- Flights of stairs are more popular clearly because there isn’t the space to have a landing in a conventional house, and there isn’t a requirement.
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Total Steps in a Flight of Stairs
There are various ways to compute the number of steps you will require, but the simplest is to take the whole ceiling height, including the width of the joists helping the floor above and the thickness of the subfloor.
- If the ceiling is 10 feet, then a flight of stairs will have 17 steps if the rise of each step is 7 ¾ inches.
- If ceilings are 9 feet, then a flight of stairs will have 16 steps if the rise of each step is 7 ¾ inches.
- A flight of stairs in a house with 8 feet ceilings will have 14 steps if the rise of each step is 7 ¾ inches.
Total Steps for 8 Feet Ceilings
- For example, your house has 8feet ceilings, with 10inches wide joists supporting the floor above. 10inches wide joists are 9¼inches wide. You similarly have a ¾inches subfloor on top of those joists.
- Therefore, the total rise from the ground to the top floor of your flight of stairs is 8’10”. Transform that total into inches to get 106 inches.
- We will utilize the maximum permitted stair rise per the IRC which is 7.75inches. Divide 106 inches by 7.75 inches and you get 13.7 inches. Therefore, you will need 14 steps. Divide 106 inches by 14 to discover the rise per step and you get 7.6 rises per step.
How Long Is a Flight of Stairs?
- The length of stairs can differ widely since tread depths frequently observe a wider variance than riser height. Since vertical drop is more of a safety concern per step than tread depth, builders frequently manipulate tread depth to fit horizontal space.
- The lowest tread depth of a residential step is 10 inches. Each tread must possess a nosing that is at least ¾ inches beyond the front perimeter of the step and no more than 1 ½ inches. There is no extreme tread length.
- Computing the length of a flight of stairs involves recognizing the depth of your tread and the length of the stair tread nosing. The lowest tread nosing is ¾inches. Therefore, if you have 10 inches treads, subtract ¾inches for true horizontal span so, 9¼ inches.
How Tall Is a Flight of Stairs?
- A flight of stairs is generally the height of the ceiling plus the framing and subfloor of the floor above where the stairs end. In a space with 8 feet ceilings, a flight of stairs is anywhere from 8 feet 8 inches to just over 9inches high.
- Houses with ceilings that are 9 feet or 10 feet will have stairs that are either 10 feet or 11 feet, respectively. Similarly, the real height depends on the floor framing and, to a lesser extent, the subfloor on the top floor.
- To compute the stair height, take the ceiling height and add the width of the joists that frame the ground where the height of the stairs terminate. Generally, this is either 8inches, 10inches, or 12inches dimensional.
- Then you have to add the thickness of the subfloor generally between ½inches and ¾inches. Most of the stairs are framed during construction and are computed without the finish floor in place, which is why we just compute the subfloor in the computations.
- The landing at the top of a flight of stairs does not compute as a stair “tread”. There is often one additional riser than stair tread because a flight of stairs starts up with a riser and ends with a riser.