Types of premade steps that are available include straight, return, L-shaped and spiral. Some manufacturers prebuild the steps in sections, and then label each one so the entire staircase may be put back together. The newel posts, balusters and other parts of the handrail are also numbered. Newel posts are load bearing sections of the handrail. Balusters are the upright posts at the end of the stairway. Both may also be decorative.Continue Reading
Straight stairs go from one floor to the next in one flight. They tend to be one of the simplest premade steps to install. They may have risers between each step; a riser is the board that closes the space between one step and the next. Stairs may also have open or closed strings, which are the load-bearing pieces that have the cut out areas where each step fits. Closed strings have an extra section of wood that fits along the sides of the stairs.
Return and L-shaped stairs have the same basic elements as the straight stairs, but have added platforms to break the climb. The return has stairs going up roughly halfway, where they are interrupted by a rectangular platform. The second half of the stairs makes a 180 degree turn to the first half.
Spiral staircases are also popular, especially in tight spaces. They may be made of wood, steel or aluminum, and may only have a center pole that doubles as a handrail. A circular handrail makes the stairs safer and usually more decorative. To order a premade version, all that's needed is the direction of the twist and the diameter of the staircase.Learn more about Building Materials