Stairs are a very important feature of a home, and a great amount of care should be used in designing them. How they look in the home really makes an impression on the looks of the whole house. They can’t be considered as a separate and unrelated piece of furniture, decorated with carvings and useless ornaments, but must have a distinct relation to the interior trim. A fancy staircase certainly does not go well with plain trim, and the reverse is also true.
Experienced drafters and designers, when designing a home for a client who has the extra money to spend, will draw up a distinctive staircase for that individual house; but when you have to keep the expenses down, will specify a stock stair of some good mill-work company. Catalogs will show a great variety of stock designs suitable for any scheme of interior decoration, and sold at a reasonable price because they are made up in quantities, whereas a single stair will cause so much extra labor that it costs too much for the average home.
|In Figure 28 above, we are showing a simple designed staircase, and label its various parts. A study of it and the following images will make its definitions clear. The staircase is the complete stair. The stairway is the space taken up by the staircase. The stair well is the opening in the upper floor through which a person passes in going up the stairs. The rise is the vertical height of the stairs, measured from the top of the lower floor to the top of the upper. The run is the horizontal length over the floor that the stairs will occupy. The pitch is the angle of inclination of the stairs. The horizontal surface of each step is called the tread, and the vertical surface is the riser.|
The rise of each step is the vertical height from the upper face of one step to the upper face of the next. The run of each step is the horizontal distance from the front face of one riser to the front face of the next. Do not confuse these with the rise and run of the staircase. The string board is the board forming the side of the staircase and supporting the ends of the steps. A stair rail is placed at the outer edge of the stairs to assist in climbing and as a matter of safety. It is supported by spindle-like balusters, which are mortised into each tread. Newels are posts placed at the ends and turns to which the rails run. They also help to support the strings. A starting newel, an angle newel, and sections of common stair rails are illustrated in Figure 29.
The images below also illustrate various types of common stairs in plan view. The walls are represented by parallel lines scaling 4 to 6 inches apart, and only the treads of each step are seen. The first is a box stair, entirely enclosed by walls. The second and third show two types of dog-legged, or winding stairs, following the walls on one side and carrying a rail on the open side. The winders are triangular in shape, and, on the line of travel, that is, the path that a person follows in ascending the stairs, must be the same width as the treads. The last plan is of an open newel stair, and illustrates how the short flights end upon platforms, and how the railing forms a well in the center. This form of stair takes up considerable space, but its artistic possibilities are limitless; so it’s often used.
Usually stairs range in width from 3′-0′ to 4′-0′, depending, of course, upon the size of the rooms of the house.