December 1, 2023
Classification of Stairs

Classification of Stairs Used in Buildings

Classification of Stairs Used in Buildings

Stairs are an essential component of any building, providing access to different levels and enhancing the overall functionality and aesthetic appeal. While stairs may seem like a simple element, they come in various types and designs, each serving a specific purpose. In this article, we will explore a comprehensive classification of stairs commonly used in buildings.

1. Straight Stairs

Straight stairs are the simplest and most common type of stairs found in buildings. As the name suggests, they run in a straight line from one level to another, without any turns or curves. Straight stairs are highly functional and easy to construct, making them a popular choice for residential and commercial buildings.

2. L-Shaped Stairs

L-shaped stairs consist of two straight flights of stairs that are connected at a 90-degree angle. This design allows for a change in direction, making it suitable for buildings with limited space or where the layout requires a turn. L-shaped stairs are commonly used in homes, offices, and public buildings.

3. U-Shaped Stairs

U-shaped stairs are similar to L-shaped stairs but with an additional flight of stairs that creates a U-shape. This design provides a more spacious and grand appearance, making it popular for larger buildings or areas where aesthetics are important, such as hotels, malls, and public spaces.

4. Spiral Stairs

Spiral stairs are a compact and visually appealing option that involves a central pole with steps spiraling around it. They are often used in areas with limited space, such as attics or outdoor decks. Spiral stairs can add a unique architectural element to a building and are commonly found in residential properties and historical buildings.

5. Curved Stairs

Curved stairs are a more elegant and sophisticated option, featuring a graceful curve or multiple curves. They are custom-made to fit the specific dimensions and design requirements of a building. Curved stairs are often seen in high-end residential homes, luxury hotels, and grand public buildings.

6. Floating Stairs

Floating stairs, also known as cantilevered stairs, create a visually stunning effect by appearing to float in mid-air. They are supported by a hidden structure, such as a wall or a beam, giving them a minimalist and modern look. Floating stairs are popular in contemporary and minimalist designs, adding a touch of architectural flair to the building.

7. Dog Legged Stairs

Dog legged stairs are one of the most common types of stairs found in residential and commercial buildings. They consist of two flights of steps that are connected by a landing in the middle, forming a right angle. The change in direction allows for a more convenient ascent or descent, making it suitable for spaces with limited floor area.

8. Open Newel Stairs

Open newel stairs are characterized by the presence of an open well at the center, with the steps winding around it. This design offers a visually appealing look and allows for better natural lighting and ventilation. Open newel stairs are often found in grand buildings and are considered a symbol of elegance and sophistication.

9. Geometrical Stairs

Geometrical stairs are known for their intricate and decorative designs. They feature a combination of geometric shapes, curves, and patterns, resulting in a visually stunning staircase. Geometrical stairs are commonly seen in historical buildings, museums, and luxury residences, adding a touch of artistic flair to the space.

10. Circular Stairs

Circular stairs, as the name suggests, are designed in the shape of a circle or a helix. They are visually striking and create a sense of drama and grandeur. Circular stairs are often seen in places where aesthetics are of utmost importance, such as palaces, theatres, and upscale hotels.

11. Bifurcated Stairs

Bifurcated stairs are characterized by a wide landing in the middle, from which two separate flights of steps branch out in opposite directions. This design not only provides a grand entrance but also offers a sense of symmetry and balance. Bifurcated stairs are commonly found in large public buildings, government offices, and prestigious institutions.

12. Straight Stairs with Top Landing

Straight stairs with top landing are one of the most common types of stairs used in buildings. These stairs consist of a straight run of steps that lead to a landing at the top. They are simple and easy to construct, making them a popular choice for residential and commercial buildings.

13. Alternating Tread Stairs

Alternating tread stairs are designed to save space and are commonly used in industrial and commercial settings. These stairs have alternating treads, with each tread being wider on one side and narrower on the other. This design allows for a steeper pitch, making them more compact and efficient.

14. Crossover Stairs

Crossover stairs are typically used in industrial settings where there is a need to cross over machinery or equipment. These stairs are designed with a platform that allows users to safely traverse over obstacles. They are often made of metal and can be customized to fit specific requirements.

15. Stair Towers

Stair towers are vertical structures that provide access to multiple levels of a building. They are commonly used in construction sites and temporary structures. Stair towers are designed to be sturdy and safe, with handrails and guardrails for added protection.

16. Scissor Stairs

Scissor stairs, also known as accordion stairs, are a unique type of stairs that fold and unfold like a scissor mechanism. They are often used in tight spaces where traditional staircases cannot fit. Scissor stairs are versatile and can be installed in various configurations to suit different needs.

17. Winder Stairs

Winder stairs are a type of stairs that change direction without the use of a landing. They are commonly used in residential buildings where space is limited. Winder stairs are designed with tapered steps that allow for a smooth transition between directions.

18. Ship Ladder Stairs

Ship ladder stairs, also known as ship’s stairs or loft stairs, are steep stairs commonly used in ships and lofts. They have a steep incline and narrow steps, making them suitable for areas with limited space. Ship ladder stairs are often made of metal and can be folded when not in use.


Stairs come in various types and designs, each offering unique benefits and aesthetics. Whether it’s a straight flight for simplicity or a curved staircase for elegance, choosing the right type of stairs can greatly enhance the functionality and visual appeal of a building. Consider the space available, architectural style, and intended use when selecting the perfect stairs for your next building project.

Also Read

Requirements of Good Stair – Importance

Technical Terms Used in Stairs

FAQs on Classification of Stairs Used in Buildings

Stairs are an essential component of any building, providing access to different levels and ensuring the safety and convenience of its occupants. However, not all stairs are the same, and they can be classified based on various factors. In this article, we will answer some frequently asked questions regarding the classification of stairs used in buildings.

Q1: What are the different classifications of stairs?

Stairs can be classified based on their shape, construction materials, and purpose. The common classifications include straight stairs, L-shaped stairs, U-shaped stairs, spiral stairs, curved stairs, wooden stairs, concrete stairs, steel stairs, interior stairs, and exterior stairs.

Q2: What are straight stairs?

Straight stairs are the most basic and commonly used type of stairs. They consist of a straight flight of steps that connect two levels without any turns or landings. Straight stairs are easy to construct and provide a simple and efficient means of vertical circulation.

Q3: What are L-shaped stairs?

L-shaped stairs, also known as quarter-turn stairs, consist of two straight flights of steps that form a 90-degree angle. They are often used when space is limited, and a change in direction is required. L-shaped stairs can be more visually appealing and provide a sense of privacy between different levels.

Q4: What are U-shaped stairs?

U-shaped stairs, also known as half-turn stairs, consist of two parallel flights of steps that form a U shape. They are commonly used in residential and commercial buildings and provide a smooth and continuous flow between different levels. U-shaped stairs require more space compared to straight or L-shaped stairs.

Q5: What are spiral stairs?

Spiral stairs are a space-saving option that consists of a central pole or column around which the steps are arranged in a helical pattern. They are often used in tight spaces or as a design feature in buildings. Spiral stairs can be made from various materials such as wood, metal, or glass.

Q6: What are curved stairs?

Curved stairs are similar to spiral stairs but have a wider radius and provide a more gradual change in direction. They are often used in grand entrances or architectural designs that require a visually striking staircase. Curved stairs require skilled craftsmanship and are typically made from wood or metal.

Q7: What are interior stairs?

Interior stairs are located within a building and provide access to different levels or floors. They can be designed to match the overall interior design of the building and are often made from materials such as wood, concrete, or steel.

Q8: What are exterior stairs?

Exterior stairs, also known as outdoor stairs, are located outside a building and provide access to different levels or areas such as balconies, terraces, or gardens. They are designed to withstand outdoor elements and can be made from materials such as concrete, stone, or metal.

Er. Thalib Mushtaq Tantary

My name is Er. Thalib Mushtaq Tantry and I am the founder of this very site. I am a MBA and civil engineering student and I love to help people get out of trouble they counter in their lives.

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