If you’re planning to build a multi-storied timber frame home, the chances are pretty good you’ll be agonizing over what type of stairway to have built. You’re right to spend time researching timber frame stair systems, as they can be a focal point for the entire public area of your home.
The most common general shapes of staircases are straight, L-stair, double L-stair, U-stair, pie stair, curved stair and spiral stair. Designing a staircase for your home can include several factors, including available open space, the position of beams, structural members and your budget.
The most popular forms of staircases are open riser and closed staircases. You should check with your local building code for restrictions in your area on open riser staircases.
Open Riser Staircase
Open riser staircases don’t have risers to enclose the treads. This gives an open and airy feel. However, this open configuration can pose some risks, and your local building code may have restrictions on them.
These designs add drama to a room and are certainly a focal point. Using contrasting woods and metal accents for banisters and balustrades really punch up the wow factor of these dramatic staircases.
This type of stair is enclosed and is less attention-grabbing than open staircases. However, they are very practical and are perfect for a traditional-style home.
Basic Stair Construction
There are several popular variations in the basic construction of stairs. Some variations are best suited for a particular type of staircase, and there are certainly more variations that are less frequently used.
In an open thread system, the stringers have a mortise cut into them, and the tread acts as the tenon. A peg is dropped through the tenon protruding on the outside of the stringer.
Using a closed box system, the treads are mortised into the stringer and do not protrude on the outside.
A third popular method is to have cutout stringers upon which the treads rest. This is the simplest and least labor-intensive method.
Since a staircase can dominate a room, it’s something you should think about when deciding the best way to get from floor to floor in your home. Certainly, there’s the budget to be considered. Compatibility with the style of your home is another factor. Choice of materials and ease of maintenance are other things that should be on your checklist. Take your time and find a staircase that suits you and your family now, and in the future.