Lucky enough to be designing your dream home? While it’s easy to find yourself caught up in the excitement of a new, state-of-the-art kitchen or a massive master bathroom, you’d be remiss not to devote careful consideration to what is often a home’s main focal point: its stairs.
While they’re one of the most highly-trafficked parts of your home, your stairs also serve a distinct purpose – to see you and your guests from floor to floor safely. So, when designing your staircase, it’s smart to consider both fashion and functionality. Here are some things to ask yourself before settling on a final staircase design.
Who’s using them?
If you plan to have pets, aging parents or toddlers in your home, you may not want to go with, say, a floating staircase, which eliminates some of the structure of the stairs, presenting a potential safety hazard. Consider the common users of your staircase and then adjust your design accordingly.
What materials are appropriate?
Are you going for a traditional wooden staircase, or something more contemporary in nature? Do you prefer a timeless, classic wooden handrail or something wrought-iron, eye-catching and elaborate? You also aren’t bound to using one material or another – many of the staircases in modern homes merge several different building materials, creating any number of different looks.
Are landings necessary?
Certain aspects and specifications within a home make landings a necessary part of some staircases. For example, building codes dictate that stairs rising more than 12 vertical feet must have landings as a safety measure. Building codes in your area may also set other guidelines regarding landings and other staircase elements, leading into our next question…
What building codes apply?
The building codes you’re going to have to comply with will be geography-specific, and they typically dictate everything from riser height and tread depth to when handrails, or, as mentioned above, landings, are necessary. There are also regulations dictating how close your balusters need to be to one another, and you’ll need to adhere to them to maintain code compliance and ensure the safety of the people using your stairs.
Once you figure out the size, specs and safety elements of your staircase, you can move on to the fun stuff – nailing down the style.