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The hazards of "goose-step" staircases

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There are many types of stairways that can look great in the main entryway of the house, like winding arched staircases or even stairs with multiple landings. Much of the time, the kind of staircase that you use in your main foyer is determined by how much space you have to let your stairs make a statement. For example, you may only have room for a straight staircase that descends down one of the side wall if your entryway is too narrow. On the other hand, you may simply need to incorporate multiple landings that weave up to the second floor because the layout of your house lacks the depth to support a long flight.

There are some spaces that require a staircase although room is extremely cramped. Usually, some form of spiral staircase is the best for a tight area. However, there is another design apt for narrow quarters that homeowners will sometimes use.

"Goose-step" or "samba" stairs are a risky venture because instead of having traditional rectangular treads and risers, each step is curved so that it supports only one foot at each elevation. In many areas, building codes prevent homeowners from constructing flights of this style, as they can be extremely dangerous if an individual misses a step or literally starts out on the wrong foot.

Since each tread is essentially shaped like a "P" on its side, alternating direction back and forth throughout the flight, half of the space is essentially missing the entire length of the stairs. This allows the staircase to be extremely steep as space is economized, which is great when it comes to making room, but can a serious safety hazard.

In addition, the spacing of the balusters on such a steep staircase may not coincide with certain building codes as the distance between each step is limited.


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