stairs

stairway

[stair-wey]
or staircase

Series or flight of steps that provides a means of moving from one level to another. The earliest stairways seem to have been built with walls on both sides, as in Egyptian pylons dating from the 2nd millennium BC. The Romans were noted for their monumental stairs. The modern use of steel and reinforced concrete has made possible the curves and sweeps of contemporary design. Staircases have traditionally been built of wood, marble or stone, and iron or steel. A step's horizontal surface is called its tread, the vertical front its riser. Traditional wooden staircases are constructed with stringers, beams inclined to the angle of the staircase. Stringers are supported by newel posts, which also support the handrail, forming a balustrade.

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Dog-leg is a term used to describe a configuration of stairs between two floors of a building, often a domestic building, in which there are two short flights running parallel to each other, joined by a half-landing to enable the 180 degree turn. The flights do not have to be equal, and frequently are not.

Structurally the flights of a dog-leg stair are usually supported by the half-landing, which spans the adjoining flank walls.

From the design point of view the main advantages of a dog-leg stair are:

  • To allow an arrangement that occupies a shorter, though wider, floor area than a straight flight, and so is more compact. Even though the landings consume total floor space, there is no large single dimension
  • The upper floor is not directly visible from the bottom of the stairs, thereby providing more privacy
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