A run-down of the most common kinds of staircases found in modern homes

February 04, 2013 2 min read

There are a few very basic kinds of staircases found in most homes. Generally these are determined by the kind of entryway that the main staircase pours out into, as well as the style of architecture of the home where it is found.

In most traditional two-floor colonial homes, for example, the staircase works to bisect the house at the doorway. This is a straight stair, which features no curves or deviations in its path from the first level to the second. Much of the time, these stairs will be boxed in and not have a traditional balustrade. Instead, these "box staircases" are simply treads and risers with a wall on either side and usually some form of handrail.

In more fancy or dramatic foyers, the staircase will have a full balustrade, complete with newels and staircase balusters, and the steps will also go to one side of the room rather than straight down the middle. There are a few different classifications of staircases that fit the bill here. Usually, while one side of the staircase hugs the wall, there will be a handrail on the other. This is called an open one-side stair, while steps that combine an open side and a box setup are called combination stairs.

Other times, homeowners look into building a central staircase that has two divided flights on it. These are called platform stairs, as the first flight will face a landing before the second flight continues either to the left or the right of the first before ending at the second floor. These stairs essentially weave up the main entryway as this space extends to both floors, making it more dramatic than a basic box staircase would allow.

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