Stairs are one of the most complex structures inside the house. The author of the article had the happiness (and misfortune) to live in a space with a variety of stairs, so the main points will be given to the pros and cons.
Because a beautiful staircase is good, but its convenience and functionality are much more important.
The most important criteria
Before you build a house, decide in advance whether you want to have a second floor? Because this decision is not always appropriate. But if you have decided for sure: yes, there will be a two-storey house! – it's time to think about how you will integrate the staircase into the common space.
What you need to pay attention to:
- Safety and reliability. A ladder that is too steep or weakly reinforced is at least inconvenient. To wade through it sideways, not being able to walk confidently without hands is very unpleasant. And if there are children or elderly people at home, then security needs to be given even more attention.
- Occupied area. Even the smallest staircase will "eat" 3-4 square meters. If you make it very tiny and steep, the space will be preserved, but then the staircase will definitely be unsafe. Therefore, it is better to give her more space.
- Functionality. The staircase takes up a lot of space, but you don't want to lose it. Therefore, lockers are often arranged under the steps, a mini-greenhouse and other useful things are placed.
From my own experience, I can say: there is no need to regret the place under the stairs.
Because even for a young man it is difficult to climb steep and/or narrow steps (how many bruises there were!). And imagine how hard it is for the elderly? And how dangerous is it for children, even adults? It is better to allocate at least 5-7 m2 for this case. And if there is an opportunity - even more.
Types of stairs with advantages and disadvantages
Here we will not describe in detail all types of stairs – this information is enough in the great and mighty Internet. The purpose of the article is to help you understand which staircase is right for you and your family, what are the pitfalls, pros and cons.
This is the simplest type of construction. Perhaps it can be considered the safest if it has a competent execution.
Of the advantages:
- can be easily done with your own hands
- it is conveniently located along the wall or acts as a divider of rooms
- it is as convenient and safe as possible with a good width of steps, especially important for the elderly and children
- you can do without a large opening in the ceiling of the first floor
- it will fit into any design.
Of the minuses:
- with wide and uncool stairs and high ceilings, it takes up a lot of space
- massive visually and by design
- requires good reinforcement.
If the house is large and allows, you can slightly bend the structure. This will significantly increase the price tag, but it will add beauty and grace. This option is popular in mansions and villas.
It can have several options – 90⁰, 180⁰, be curved (even zigzag) or T-shaped. Where the stairs give a U-turn, they make either a platform or run-up steps.
There are enough advantages of such a design:
- helps to save a lot of space
- it can carry a large functional load, for example, lockers are made under the spans
- easy to make with your own hands
- when using a turntable and wide steps, it is safe and reliable
- fits perfectly into any interior
- good at performing "second light"
- it can be performed in any technique (boltsy, bowstring, kosour, mono, etc. - about them a little below).
Cons, however, are also enough:
- when using running steps, it is very unsafe, it is necessary to constantly monitor so as not to put your foot on the narrow part of the step and not slip off
- if you make uncool steps, then it will take a lot of space
- it requires a large opening in the ceiling of the first floor, because a span is needed.
Tip: if possible, give up running (turning) steps! A very unsafe thing. Use a U-turn - a flat platform.
There is a little trick: it is not necessary to make spans of the same height. The lower span can be made small, and the upper one - bigger.
And there was such an experience - a spiral staircase. It's a very ambiguous construction that has its own fans, but to be honest, I'm not one of them. Although the pros and cons turned out to be equally.
Let's start with the pros:
- it takes up very little space, just a couple of square meters
- it always has airiness due to its design, a monolithic spiral staircase, of course, no one does
- it looks unusual, ideal for creative personalities and non-standard design solutions
- it looks good in both small and large houses.
And now about the cons:
- it is definitely unsafe, some solid turning steps with a narrow part, not the best solution
- on such a staircase, you can't go apart together – it turns into an acrobatic etude
- it looks bad against the wall and at the window, and a staircase in the center of the room is not always a convenient option.
- may cause dizziness when looking down in people with a fear of heights.
Definitely, a spiral staircase should have a good railing and a non-slip coating as much as possible.
Now you can order an excellent, durable and modern design that will be convenient for all family members. However, a folding ladder is not an option that will suit everyone.
Rather, it is an original solution for special cases:
- The minimum area of the house. When every centimeter counts, it makes sense to think about folding structures.
- A house of special purpose. Perhaps this is a mini-house with an attic, or a country house. And someone builds their children houses in trees.
- The house where young people live. Or the stairs lead to the teenager's room.
- Automatic mechanism. The owner of the house should press the button, and the ladder will fold or decompose itself. At the same time, it will have a full-size or almost full-size appearance.
After all, a folding staircase is not an option for the main connection of the first and second floors. But as an additional tool it is worth considering.
A little bit about the material and design
Choosing the type of stairs is 2/3 of the work, but the material and construction are no less important. Appearance, safety and convenience depend on them.
A classic ladder is a ladder on a so-called bowstring. The bowstring is a diagonal beam to which the steps are attached.
It can have a different shape: straight, zigzag, or even look like a "monorail" (one metal bowstring in the middle of the stairs, called a monocosour). Simple in execution – this is the most important thing, you can do it with your own hands. It has a low price if the material is not elite. It is also extremely functional: the space under the steps can be occupied with something.
Another, no less popular type of construction is stairs on boltsy, that is, boltsy. Boltz is a strong metal rod on which the steps are planted. These rods form a single unit with the railing and together with them carry the entire load.
This design is very durable, moreover, it is also airy. Boltz stairs do not look bulky, so they are perfect for any room. Of the minuses: the high cost of creation and installation. Only a few people will be able to make a circular staircase on their own.
The cantilever staircase is a modern option. It looks like the steps are sticking right out of the wall. Despite this, the construction is very strong if you entrust the case to professionals. It takes up little space (at least visually), fits perfectly into modern interiors. But there are two disadvantages: usually consoles go without railings, which is inconvenient and unsafe. Well, they can only be mounted in a strong wall.
A monolithic staircase is a reinforced concrete structure that is supported by internal reinforcement. It looks bulky, is expensive. But it is very durable, ideal for spacious mansions. At the same time, it can have the most bizarre shapes, which is important for design design.
Finally, a radial staircase is a spiral staircase, the steps of which are attached to the casing pipe. It takes up little space, looks extravagant, but is quite inconvenient and unsafe.
It was as short as possible by design, now separately by materials.
Any handy person can independently build a completely reliable and beautiful wooden staircase. Indeed, this material is simple, inexpensive and aesthetic.
It does not require any special coatings, because it is not slippery and beautiful in itself. Also, wood is a warm material, which is especially appreciated in the Cypriot winter.
But there are also a number of disadvantages: for example, the tree is scratched. If something heavy was brought up or lowered down, a scratch may appear completely unnoticed. And if there are pets that rush back and forth - sooner or later the steps will be covered with a thin cobweb from claw marks.
Also, the tree swells and deteriorates from moisture. And Cyprus has a humid climate. Of course, there are various protective compounds and varnishes that can be used to cover the stairs. But still you need to take extra care of ventilation and dehumidification. Because if the ladder gets moldy, it will have to be changed, in parts or in whole.
Very reliable, literally indestructible material. It is safe, does not warp from temperature changes, is not covered with scratches, and is easy to clean. And it fits perfectly into the ensemble of modern types of interior design.
But there are also disadvantages: the metal is cold, and the steps from it are somewhat slippery, especially if you walk in socks. Plus, he reacts very loudly to a person's footsteps.
Therefore, it is customary to make some individual structural elements from metal, for example, balusters or a bowstring. And the steps are either sheathed or made entirely of another material.
Such structures are difficult to manufacture, but they have high strength. In addition, they allow you to create very bizarre shapes, smooth curves, ovals, zigzags and so on.
A concrete monolithic staircase requires a good foundation, so this option is not suitable for a house on stilts. In addition, concrete needs additional finishing: coating, painting, etc.
Stone or marble
Very expensive and time-consuming to create, but in the finished form it looks like a work of art! Such ladders are strong and durable, they cannot be scratched or broken.
Like a concrete staircase, it requires an excellent foundation that will withstand considerable weight. In addition, the polished stone steps are slippery, which is unsafe.
Often, in order to reduce the cost and simplify, stone / marble only make overlays on the steps and small decorative elements, for example, the lower part of the balusters, and the rest is made of wood or metal.
At first glance, the construction is completely unreliable: fragile and slippery. But this is a deceptive impression. Firstly, the steps are covered with an anti-slip matte film. Secondly, the tempered glass (triplex) withstands the fall of a heavy object from a great height and does not even crack!
To make it clearer, an example that was found on the Internet. You can hit the triplex several times with all your strength with an axe and nothing will happen to such a step!
An unambiguous plus of the glass staircase is the visual liberation of space. Even if the steps and railings are entirely made of glass and occupy a fairly large area, the bulkiness will still not be felt.
But for some, it can also be a minus. You can't hide what you want to hide behind glass. That is, the staircase will only be a staircase, but not a wardrobe.
Carpeting on the stairs: pros and cons
Carpeting for clean housewives is a real nightmare. It is simply impossible to pull out dust in ledges and nooks: it has been accumulating for years! Vacuuming is inconvenient, a robot vacuum cleaner will not cope.
And in order to arrange a general cleaning, the carpet must be removed for a long and tedious time, and then just as long and tedious to fasten back. Of course, the coating solves the problem of cold and slippery steps. But it is still better to make wooden non-slip pads, it will turn out much more practical.
Are they needed or not needed? In many design photos, there are no railings as such. In my experience, you can't make a staircase without a railing at all! Unsafe is the minimum.
But you will face the inconvenience without a railing every day. Suddenly you want to take a full mug of tea upstairs? Or you need to lift something heavy with one hand, then it is reasonable to hold on to the railing with the other hand. And if there aren't any?
Definitely, the railing is needed. If you do not want to clutter up the space with them, use thin metal structures, glass partitions. Another good option is a handrail along the wall, and not from the outside of the stairs.
If there are children or people with limited motor ability in the house, the railing needs 100%.
Built-in furniture and other things
To arrange the space under the stairs so that there was a whole closet, closet (remember Harry Potter), Narnia or a soft corner is the most reasonable solution. It allows you to kill two birds with one stone.
The first hare is a large staircase, with wide and low steps. Yes, it will take up a lot of space. But this place will carry a huge functional load! So you shouldn't feel sorry for him.
The second hare – you beautifully, organically and unconventionally perform the arrangement of furniture. Add a fresh look to the interior.
So, what can be placed in the space under the stairs:
- large wardrobe, chest of drawers
- the pantry
- any shelves – open or extendable
- household space (water heater, washing machine, etc.)
- a kitchenette, if you have a living room combined with a kitchen, you can take part of the lockers and even a refrigerator here
- the hallway
- a niche for embedded home appliances
- small bathroom
- a playroom for children
- pet corner
- mini-office with a table and a computer chair
- soft recessed sofa
- a greenhouse or a Japanese garden
- bookcase, library.
Can you imagine how many there are in total? It goes without saying that this will require additional costs. But every centimeter of your house or apartment will carry a payload. And this is very important and very convenient.
So, these were arguments, excerpts from personal experience and other useful things. Of course, the decision is still up to you. Be sure to discuss all options with your family. Remember the main thing: between beauty, saving space, money and convenience, always choose convenience. Because where there is convenience, there is safety!
Believe me: steep, narrow, slippery steps, uncomfortable turns in the middle of the way, the absence of railings. All this will annoy and even frighten every day. Therefore, do not spare space for a high-quality staircase.
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