Living room by Cris Nunes Arquiteta

All you need to know about building stairs in your house

Vartika Gupta Vartika Gupta

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Who does't love stairs? I think you would agree that almost everyone loves to have a staircase inside the house, leading to upper floor and private rooms. All duplex houses have this setting, however not everyone owns a duplex house. This does not mean that one can not still have stairs in their house. See here for compact staircase ideas for small houses. If you love stairs, even just for the cozy seating they offer, this ideabook will be helpful for you to understand the facts, figures and details about stairs, where and how you can plan to have stairs in your house, what all to consider before you start constructing stairs in or out of your house, and the various kinds to stairs that you can have for your house. A professional will help you to a great extent regarding these aspects. Read to find out all about the staircases for your house.

What to keep in mind before planning to build stairs

 Living room by Cris Nunes Arquiteta
Cris Nunes Arquiteta

Apartamento, Maceió Al

Cris Nunes Arquiteta

Building stairs is a task that needs attention to detail and utmost precision in terms of planning, measurements, calculation and construction. First and foremost you need to establish the usage of the stairs, whether the stairs are exterior or interior depending on which you would be able to choose the material for building the staircase. An interior staircase can be constructed using delicate, high maintenance material and even be carpeted for warmth and look, but an exterior staircase has to be weather proof, stain proof and strong enough to endure extreme wear and tear.

If the stairs are interior, then their usage has to be established, whether they lead to the roof, or will they need a lot of furniture to be carried on, or do they just lead up a mezzanine floor and will need to carry less load, or they are just required as a two step staircase that leads to the living room in depth. Once the usage and the place is established, you can proceed to the next step towards building your stairs, i.e. measurements.

The important measures to take before building stairs

The first thing to measure for building stairs is the height of the floor from the level from where the stairs will start. The second thing to measure is the distance on the ground up to which you can stretch your stairs. Once you have these measurements, you will be able to calculate how many steps you will need to build, and what would be the height and width of each step. The height in technical terms is called the rise of the stair, and the width is called the tread of the stair. There is a standard that is set by the regulatory authorities, that requires the rise and tread of the stairs to be compliant within that range. Also apart from these is length of each step, which should be at least 36 inches for a person to step on to it comfortably.

The rise of a stair should be between 4 inches and 7.75 inches which will make it safe and comfortable to climb.

The tread length of a step should be at least 10 inches and a maximum of 11.25 inches. A less tread length would mean less space to keep your foot on, which would lead to accidents, and a higher tread length would mean needing to lift the foot to a larger distance when climbing.

So based on the measurements, you have to settle for the best trade-off that is within the compliance standards and meets your space measurements.

Railings or no railings for your staircase

In a residential staircase, generally railings are required at only side, since generally the stairs are built alongside a wall. You could also opt for a non railed staircase, if the width of the stairs is sufficient and not risky, however in some places the norms by the authorities make it compulsory to have railings on interior stairs. You should check with the concerned regulatory authority of your area for the same.

Exterior stairs railings are generally a mandate for a stair with 4 or more steps. However there are exceptions to this mandate too, and it will be best to discuss with the professionals and consult the regulatory authorities for your specific design and requirements.

Plan the material in advance before starting construction of staircase

Though you would measure the exact height, length and calculate the number of steps as per the standards, the final measurements will be taken on the finished stairs.

This is more relevant in the case of concrete stairs, that have stone or tile stuck on them in the end. While calculating the stairs tread and rise, the thickness of the tile or the stone should also be taken into account, and that is why it is advisable to source the material in advance and have it at the site at the time of measurements.

As per the standards, the deviation in measurements of the riser of a staircase from one step to another can not vary more than 3/8th of an inch, or else the stairway will be termed non compliant. This makes the precision in construction extremely important, especially when masonry is involved. Here are 15 concrete stair samples for a small home.


You can have a staircase, even if it means just a couple of steps

If you are fond of stairs, then you could always find a way to incorporate them in your home. Some ideas to have your own little staircase are:

  • A small staircase from porch to the garden
  • A two step staircase to a raised or sunken living room
  • A small staircase to the home temple room, which can be elevated a little
  • A staircase to a mezzanine floor inside the house
  • Stairs to the roof of the home from the inside.

Here are 12 inspiring staircase designs to figure out how you want to remodel yours.


Creativity within bounds with your staircase

It is not necessary to have straight tall stairs, you can get creative with the size and shape, and have the stairs be the center of attention in your home, even while they are in a corner. You could have the stairs with floating steps or wood or acrylic with open risers. One rule with open risers in stairs is to ensure that the gap is such that a ball with a radius of 2 inches can not pass through it. See here for the types of staircases suitable for Indian homes.


A staircase that solves many purposes

You can get creative with the way you use your interior staircase. This is a make shift staircase, that is half suspended and half kept on floor, that also doubles as storage and a study desk. When the staircase is not constructed in work, you can take some liberties to create something unique for your home. Here are 9 amazing under stair storage for your home.

Hope you have gained a fair idea about the technicality behind stairs, and have decided on a place in your home where you want to build stairs, after reading this ideabook.

So, is it an interior or exterior staircase for you?
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