“What is there to know about stairs?” you may ask. Stairs are actually one of the most expensive and regulated parts of constructing a home– they take up such a huge amount of space and are a complex, three dimensional shape. They are functional and iconic, and can truly make a home interesting.
Building codes require strict construction for stairs. Each must come with a handrail, as they are potentially very dangerous. Handrails must be a certain size, distance from the stairs, and must be able to be grasped by a hand. Building codes also regulate the size of the tread (the part that you walk on) and the height of risers.
There are also different designs for stairs– switchback stairs are more compact than a traditional staircase, and feature a landing. Spiral stairs have more strict requirements. Treads, for example, cannot be rectangular but curved.
While many think of stairs as just the entry to the second floor, stairs can actually be a major element of home design. Putting a window near the stairwell can brighten your whole home; a tall stairwell can naturally cool your home without air conditioning. Stairs can be a sculpture, a statement. When imagining your perfect staircase, what do you see?