In ancient times, high-rise buildings, one of the architectural elements of which was a staircase, were considered the privilege of “God’s chosen ones”- kings, pharaohs or priests. Today, stairs lead us not only to the sky, but also to ordinary “earthly” chambers.- bedrooms, living rooms, billiard rooms or winter gardens. ATthis article will focus on those structures that “settled” inside country houses and two-story apartments.
The staircase design is, first of all, functional: it serves as a link between different rooms, movement along it should be carried out quickly and as conveniently as possible. In addition, the staircase is decorative and participates in shaping the style of the interior. When preparing to become a caring owner of a two-story apartment or a country house, you will definitely “stumble” on stair issues. When to design a staircase? What designs and materials to give preference? Which firms have settled in the Russian market and what do they offer? Finally, how to operate the ladder so that it lasts as long as possible? Our article will tell about this and some other intricacies of the staircase business.
Future owners of a country house or a two-story apartment sooner or later ask themselves: when to design a staircase? And, unfortunately, very often they are content with a schematic sketch in general terms, leaving the detailed development of the staircase structure to the final stage of construction. This approach is inefficient, because it leads to many “construction” errors. Mistake one: improperly planned space. The house is almost ready, but that’s the trouble- no design that you like can fit into the existing dimensions of the opening. You scold the specialist, and he stubbornly claims that it is impossible to choose a competent ratio of the width of the tread and the height of the riser to your dimensions. This is indeed one of the most important quantities in the stair business.- it depends on it how convenient it will be to move around the floors of the dwelling.
Error two: planning the design of the stairs without taking into account the characteristics of the material of the walls to which the fastening is carried out. Stairs can only be fixed to strong, usually load-bearing walls (made ofconcrete, thick timber, bricks with a thickness of more than 25 cm) and in any case- toplasterboard, asbestos-cement walls half a brick thick- that is, “decorative” partitions.
Mistake three: placing heaters directly under the stairs. This is especially dangerous for wooden structures. There is a practical way to determine the optimal distance between the wood and the heaters: check the surfaces near the appliance to the touch and make sure that they do not heat up. Consider in advance the location of electrical wiring, pipelines, heating and windows in relation to the staircase. If you value space, try to use the nook under the stairs wisely.- build a wardrobe or bookcases here.
In a rainy climate (for example, in Central Russia with its characteristic long autumn), avoid placing stairs in the northern and northeastern corners of the house, since the walls are wetter here. Andconcrete and brick, albeit in small quantities, still absorb moisture, thereby contributing to the creation of a separate microclimate zone, even within the same dwelling. If the architectural plan does not allow avoiding the north corner, try to “tear” the staircase from the wall or provide a constant flow of dry air between the stairs and the wall (for example, install a heat convector). Keep in mind that not every architect is a stair designer.- it is quite possible that you will have to invite another master.
When building a wooden house, you must also remember about the shrinkage of the building, which lasts for several months and even years, as well as possible soil movements.- for example, clay and loam. The supporting pillars in the stair structure must have a compensating structure of the “telescope” type, if necessary, the height of such a ladder is adjustable. This is only one of the options, while experts in each case will offer you the most correct solution. It is not recommended to build stairs in a completely “fresh” house- Withfrom the moment of installation of the log house, at least a year must pass.
The production of a staircase takes quite a long time: from the beginning of design to the delivery of finished parts, it takes from one to threemonths. ATwhich company to contact- a question to be solved jointly with the architect. A fairly large number of manufacturers, both domestic and foreign, are represented on the Russian market.
Of the foreign, the most popular are the Italian firms ALBINIFONTANOT, ALFA SCALA, MARRETTICAST, INTERSCALA, LINEA SCALE, NELUR, RINTAL, TAIL, German KENNGOTT TREPPEN, French LAPEYRE recently appeared. All of them produce stairs of various designs (mid-flight, spiral) and make them from a wide variety of materials.- wood, metal, glass, stone. Ladders of foreign firms are ordered through dealers who provide design services, selection of a specific model from catalogs, ordering, delivery of finished elements to Russia and, finally, installation. Thus, they are a kind of “co-producers” (“INTERIOR ACADEMY”, “EUROSTROYSERVIS‑K”, “SAVEKS STAIRS”, etc.). When choosing a “ready-made” model from the catalog, you choose, first of all, the type, construction and design. Dimensions are determined during design. All this information goes to the manufacturer, and he makes a staircase based on the model you have chosen and the dimensions you have determined. Therefore, in a sense, each staircase is unique.
Of the Russian companies, the largest manufacturers are “DOP№1″, “CAREX STYLE”, “MAPLE LADDER”, “LADDER”, “SMKVADRAT”, pilot plant MNPO “TEMP”. There is also a fairly large number of companies specializing in the supply of stairs or their parts from one specific material (for example, “CAUCASIAN FOREST” supplies wooden components, “WHITE STONE”- steps made of marble and granite, and the BAG company produces steps and railings from laminated glass and stainless steel).
There are several classifications of ladder structures. ATIn this article, we will stick to the simplest of them, according to which the stairs can be divided into mid-flight and spiral.
A flight staircase consists of one or more spans interconnected by intermediate platforms. The number of steps in one span ranges from 3 to 18pieces (according to the norms of SNiP 2.08.01–89* “residential buildings”). A marching staircase can be either straight (the simplest design- a straight staircase, consisting of one span), and a rotary one. Theoretically, marches can be located at any angle relative to each other and even be curvilinear, but in practice, structures with a rotation of 90 and 180 are most often encountered.. The latter, with the same step height, take up less space, although they are less convenient for moving furniture. Another kind of construction- swing: the first one or two marches lead to the site, from which two other marches diverge in opposite directions. This is the most grand staircase, it is often decorated with sculptures, and it can even serve as the main element of the interior. Movement on swing stairs- the whole ceremony.
The design of the spiral staircase includes a vertical support rod and winder steps arranged around it in a spiral. ATIn most cases, the supporting column has a complex composite structure: an inner rod and “glasses” mounted on it, between which steps are clamped with the help of special bushings and rings. Some Russian firms offer designs in which the steps are attached to the support post using brackets. Such stairs are inconvenient to use: they rattle when walking, the steps and the supporting column are deformed.
Minimum diameter of a spiral staircase- 110cm, and the most convenient- 150see and more. The angle of elevation can reach 55–60. Spiral staircases are not particularly convenient for moving people, for transporting furniture (it happened that the owners had to deliver furniture to the second floor through the windows or disassemble the entire structure of the stairs and transport the furniture through the opening). Screw structures sometimes do not have a main support column- some experts distinguish them in a separate group of circular stairs.
The fashion for stairs is amazingly diverse. According to the experts of all firms practicing in this field, the most popular designs- marching wooden and marching, combining wood and metal. Marching stairs are really much more convenient than spiral ones. Moving along the latter is especially difficult for small children, the elderly, and the disabled. Spiral staircases are usually installed as secondary (for example, as a separate lift to the bedroom, study or dressing room) or in case of large space problems.
Anatomy of a ladder
Any staircase consists of a base (kosour, bowstring, bolts or support post) and steps (open or with a riser). Additional elements are platforms between marches, railings and decorative elements.- balusters, sculpture, as well as built-in lighting. The customer usually chooses a staircase based on its appearance and compliance with the overall architectural style of the interior, and does not go into technical details, relying on professionals. While leafing through catalogs, you may well come across more technical terms and professional information.
Kosour- this is an inclined load-bearing beam on which the steps of the flight of stairs rest. ATDepending on the design, the staircase may have one or two stringers.
bowstring- also an inclined load-bearing structure of the stairs, but the steps “cut” into the inner sides of the bowstring.
Bolz- a steel element connecting the steps to each other. The ladder on the bolts is probably the “lightest” of all in its appearance. Its steps are attached to the wall with one end.
support pipe- the central pillar, around which a spiral staircase twists.
tread- the horizontal part of the step.
riser- the vertical part of the step, closing the gap between adjacent treads and giving the stairs additional rigidity. ATsome designs are missing.
winder steps- those in which the normal width is observed only in the middle line of the march. Their inner edge is narrower, and the outer one is wider.
Balustrade- fencing of the landing or balcony above the stairs. As a rule, it has a round shape.
Balusters- decorative details of the fence, carry the railing.
Material, installation, care
The basis of the staircase structure can be concrete, reinforced concrete, metal or wood. ATdepending on this, the staircase will be called concrete, metal or wooden (with the exception of stone and glass structures- they got their name from the material of the steps). Combined designs are also common.- “metal-wood”, “metal-glass”, porcelain stoneware with reinforced concrete kosour, etc. Of all the materials, wood is considered the warmest, most pleasant and affordable material. Stairs made of glass or bare metal- still very rare and exotic.
Depending on the design of the building, reinforced concrete floor slabs can withstand the load 500‑1000 kg/m2. This is usually enough to install a heavy staircase made of stone or glass (weighing up to 500 kg). Most of the wooden and metal structures have a mass of 150 to 350kg. ATwooden house (here the floors must withstand a load of at least 250kg/m2) at the location of the stairs, the floors are reinforced with additional beams. Even at the planning stage, one should take into account the state of the ceiling at the points of attachment of the stairs: the builders may have to create an additional support structure that will distribute the load over a large area. The choice of reference points for a ladder structure depends on the configuration of a particular model. So, a direct marching structure is usually attached to the ceiling and rests on the floor. A flight ladder with one turn will require additional fastening to the wall, with two turns- fastening to the floor, to the ceiling, to the wall and support on a vertical pole. ATin complex structures with a large number of turns, through fastening of stringers, bowstrings or steps to the wall is also used. Metal stringers are attached to embedded elements with anchor bolts, while wooden- Withusing bolt screws. On the outer surface, the locations of anchors and bolts are masked with decorative plugs.
The greatest load is created by spiral staircases: the area of their contact with the floor and ceiling is small. In order to avoid overload problems in wooden houses, experts try to place the support pillar of the spiral staircase above the beam or in close proximity to it.
Depending on the chosen design, installation will be carried out at different stages of construction. Thus, a reinforced concrete kosour is cast at the stage of the main construction work. Metal and wooden stringers and embedded elements of stairs are installed at the final stage of construction, before the start of finishing work. The remaining elements (steps, balusters, etc.)e.) install only after the paint has completely dried. True, some firms prefer to install the stairs after finishing work. The advantage of such a solution- protection of the stairs from the effects of residual moisture and one hundred percent protection of an expensive structure from accidental ingress of paint or enamel. The difficulty lies in the fact that the embedded elements will need to be fastened with high accuracy so as not to damage the finish of walls, ceilings and floors.
Each of the materials used in production is capricious in its own way and requires individual care.
Wood- the most common material for creating stairs of any design. Moreover, a wide variety of breeds are used.- both soft (pine, spruce, cedar, fir) and semi-hard (birch, maple) and hard (oak, beech, ash). Especially popular today are pine (as the most affordable material), beech and oak. Cherry, walnut, cypress, iroko, teak, mogano and other types of mahogany are considered exotic for staircases. Regardless of the chosen type of wood, all elements (steps, bowstring, handrails, risers) must be glued, since monolithic wood cracks and deforms very quickly. Permissible moisture content of dried wood for stair structures is 8–12% - inin domestic conditions, a special moisture meter will help to measure it. It is recommended to buy all components in one place, where they are selected according to their decorative properties (tone, pattern) and have undergone the same processing. ATload-bearing structures, it is not recommended to combine breeds with different coefficients of thermal expansion of the fiber- after a while, the ladder will “swell up” or “float”.
Wooden stairs are treated with stain and varnish. It can be either a colorless varnish or various colored tinting varnishes, enamels and paints. The painting procedure is carried out before the assembly of the structure. Whether or not to keep the natural color of the wood depends on your taste. Many people prefer to tint wood to match the color of doors, parquet or even window frames. Lovers of uniformity should remember that the varnish is erased. Restoring the original appearance of colored varnish will not be easy.- when applied again, it dissolves the previous layers, and you will not achieve a uniform color without the intervention of restorers. If the tree was originally covered with a colorless varnish, the problem of re-coating is solved by the owner himself at home.
Even glued wood is prone to cracking, especially due to temperature changes. Therefore, manufacturing companies guarantee the normal service of a wooden staircase only under certain conditions of its operation. ATroom temperature must be maintained 20–22FROM and relative humidity 60–70%. ATIn very dry weather it is recommended to use humidifiers. ATas humidifiers, you can use not only specialized devices, but also various shade-loving plants (for example, “weeping” vines), as well as fountains installed directly under the stairs. Stairs must be protected from direct sunlight, be at a sufficient distance from heating appliances. It is also necessary to exclude the possibility of water getting on parts of the structure in the event of a failure of the water supply system. These requirements, unfortunately, are not met in almost 80% of cases of operation of wooden stairs. First of all, we are talking about the so-called “low-budget” stairs located in country houses that are not heated in winter. But the result is appropriate: the staircase creaks, cracks, gaps appear in it.
The second minus of a wooden staircase- its high fire hazard. Therefore, in houses with a height of more than two floors, the only staircase in the house must necessarily have a metal stringer and metal step substrates coated with fire-resistant paint (for example, UNITERM).
Wooden stairs, like wooden houses, have a shrinkage period of several months.- You may need to adjust the fixing screws afterwards. Components for wooden stairs are supplied by the Russian companies ARBOL, CAUCASIAN FOREST, CANADIAN KEDR, PRAKTIKA.
A natural stone. When working with it, a good sense of proportion is simply necessary, because a bulky stone staircase threatens to turn your home into a railway station or scenery for a film about new Russians. It is not necessary to build the entire structure from stone- it is enough to confine oneself to steps and separate decorative elements. The frame of the structure is most often made of metal, concrete or reinforced concrete, the railings are usually metal.
It is recommended to use rock quarried by drilling rather than blasting (internal cracks caused by the explosion are likely to show up during use). Of all the rocks, granite and marble are the most widely used, the latter being noticeably more capricious. Marble is easily scratched, absorbs various acids (a spilled cup of coffee or tea will entail very unpleasant consequences). For laying marble, do not use ordinary cement mortar or ceramic tile adhesive.- after a while, irremovable spots will appear on the surface of the stone. The Russian market offers special adhesives and plasters from AKEMI (Germany), BELLINZONI (Italy), LITHOFIN (Germany). The same companies also produce various mastics for stone care.both marble and granite.
When arranging stairs, it is better to give preference to polished surfaces, since it is very easy to slip on a polished stone. For additional protection against falls, the central part of the steps is covered with special anti-slip mats (for example, from SURE STEP). They can be made from various materials: sisal, natural wool, polypropylene, polyamide or rubber. On the one hand, such mats are usually self-adhesive, due to which they are fixed on the steps and, if necessary, are easily replaced. The second option, which allows you to secure the stone staircase and at the same time not disguise all the beauty of the natural material,- anti-slip strips that are cut or sprayed along the outer edge of the step. To the touch, this edge becomes a little rough.
On the Russian market, stone steps as an independent product (slabs of various thicknesses) are offered by manufacturers such as “ALPARISTK”, “WHITE STONE”, “GRANULES”, association “SARDIS”. But many firms specializing in stairs supply stone steps as a set.
Ceramics. One of the possible solutions for those who want to design floors and stairs in the same style- their facing with ceramic plates or porcelain stoneware. ATunlike natural stone, these are more durable materials that are resistant to chemical attack and abrasion.
Most floor tile manufacturers- both Russian and foreign- offer products in size 3030, 2020 and 15thirtysee Such elements are convenient, including for the design of stairs. It is better to choose anti-slip tiles. Fans of a heat-insulated floor have an opportunity to supply a “ceramic” ladder with heating.
The convenience of the stairs is determined by a combination of several factors: the angle of ascent / descent; passage width; the presence of turning sections, intermediate platforms; the presence of free space above the head of a rising person; safe stair railing; good lighting.
It is obvious that gentle stairs are more convenient than steep ones, the best slope option for mid-flight stairs is 30–40. If the design is intended for the movement of the elderly or the disabled, it is recommended to make it more gentle. The steepness of the rise is related to the ratio of two quantities- step height (riser) and step width (tread). Back in the XVIIIcentury, the French architect Jean-Francois Blondel calculated the formula for the “architectural step”: G + 2H = 59 64 cm where G- step width, H- lifting height, and 5964cm- the average step of a person. But compared with those distant times, today not only the average height of a person has increased, but also the size of his legs (for example, in the XVIIIcentury, the average foot size of an adult male was 37–38). Therefore, now the most convenient stairs with a riser height 14–17cm and tread width 34–37 cm. ATa house where there are small children, it is recommended to choose designs with risers- it’s more secure.
The most compact is the ladder design with a variable (“goose”) step. Its steps have a non-standard shape.- on them “fully” the foot of only one leg can fit.
For convenient passage of one person up the stairs, its width should be 70–80 cm, for two- 120–150cm. The distance between any step of the march and the ceiling must be at least two meters. This distance is increased if the height of the owners is more than 180see Standard railings and balusters are height 90–100 cm. For convenient movement on the stairs of the elderly, the design is complemented by a wall-mounted handrail with a height of 80–85 cm. The distance between the balusters is from 12 to 25cm.
For the last three years, there have been new products on the Russian market- monolithic steps from porcelain stoneware. They are offered by the Italian factories IMOLA CERAMICA, PANARIA, MIRAGE CERAMICA and the Russian company “WHITE STONE”. Monolithic steps are aesthetic (the seams do not spoil their appearance) and, moreover, they are not clogged with sand and dirt. They can be fixed without first leveling the concrete base. For laying, it is recommended to use a special adhesive for porcelain stoneware (for example, Atlas Plus from the Polish company ATLAS or Keraflex from the Italian company MAPEI, the latter is more expensive). The cost of one Altair porcelain stoneware slab (manufacturer- IMOLA CERAMICA)- from $34. Andthis is the lowest price for monolithic slabs, achieved through the in-line production of steps with a size of 330125022mm and their subsequent trimming to the individual dimensions of the stairs. The cost of steps of other firms 2–3 times expensive. Plates will need exactly as many steps as your staircase has. Manufacturers also offer auxiliary elements- risers, skirting boards, corner steps, cornices. Ceramic steps are slippery, like stone ones,- recommendations for creating safe operating conditions are the same.
Metal- the most durable material for stairs. The steps that are subjected to the most severe operation are made of steel (profiled steel) and cast iron (shaped casting). Metal railings are often used as an element of stairs made of wood, stone, ceramic or glass. Basic fencing options- this is forging from black metal, a bent polished profile or a pipe made of stainless steel or brass. Rarer and more expensive options- casting from non-ferrous metals, as well as combinations of “metal-glass”, “metal-ceramic”. The cheapest fences- reinforcing bars, bars, mesh. There are many companies involved in the artistic processing of metal, most of them also offer railings for stairs (PARAVOZ, SVAROGART”, “FACTORY OF GERMAN ARTISTIC FORGING”, “RUSSIAN FORGING”, “CRYSTALSC”).
Glass. This is the most unconventional, avant-garde material for decorating stairs. For the manufacture of stair steps, glass is used, made using the technology of multi-layer gluing (“triplex”). Two or more layers of glass are interconnected by a polymeric material (this can be a liquid polymer followed by ultraviolet irradiation or a polymer film laid between the layers, followed by heating in special ovens). The intermediate layer of polymer is a reinforcing element and gives the structure a special strength, and also does not allow glass fragments to crumble on impact. For the production of colored glass, tinting additives are introduced into the liquid polymer. The mass of one stage is 15kg or more (with a size of 100035028mm). For the safety of movement on the glass steps, it is recommended to put anti-slip carpets, mount inserts made of rubber or any other non-slip materials. In addition, protective mats will protect the glass from scratches. The cost of the stairs is very high and practically does not depend on the design you choose.- the glass steps themselves are so expensive (from$500 per piece). Glass steps are produced by Russian companies SAN-MASTER and BAG.
Design, material, color- all this forms the style of the stairs, which ideally should match the style of the interior or even dominate the house. There is no rigid division of designs into different styles, but some priorities have historically developed. So, the classic interior is associated with massive wooden stairs. They are decorated with complex configuration balusters, volutes, carved fittings. The carrier bowstring has a complex configuration. At the same time, the staircase should be elegant and in no case rude. A classic-style room can be decorated with stucco and wood paneling with the same decorative elements as the stairs. Country- The style is warm and homely. Roughly hewn stone, aged ceramic steps, a dark wood surface with small cracks, or unhewn logs are welcome here. Copper ladles, bouquets of dried flowers or bunches of onions are hung on the sides of the stairs. The style of polished metal, as well as metal combined with glass, is close to techno and high tech interiors. Wrought iron railings are a traditional element of Art Nouveau and Gothic styles.
The cost of a staircase structure includes the cost of a design project, materials, manufacturing of parts, taking into account the complexity of the chosen design (handmade wooden balusters are more expensive than serial ones), delivery and installation. A simple single-flight pine staircase with a distance of three meters between floors will cost the customer about $2000, beech- in $4000, in ash or oak- in $6000. It is also customary to calculate the cost of one meter of vertical rise. For wooden structures, it averages $1500–2000 per meter, for metal-wooden- $1000–1700, for all metal- $800‑1500, for stone- $2500–5000, for glass- $7000. There is no upper price threshold. Most of the structures sold on the market fit into the interval from $5–6 thousandto $12–15 thousand.
Attic and mansard stairs have their own specific requirements. These designs are used quite rarely, they should be invisible and compact.- inin order to save living space. ATideal- fits in a small box and is convenient to unfold when needed. These are the “coolest” products (the angle of inclination reaches 63–74). The Russian market is represented by manufacturers ALFA SCALE (Italy), CENTURY (USA), HENKE (Germany), OMAN (Poland), RINTAL (Italy), ROTO (Germany).
Depending on the design, attic stairs are telescopic (sliding) and folding (fold like an accordion), and according to the method of attachment- built-in and attached (removable). To access the roof, attic stairs are made with a locking device that protects your house from unauthorized access. Factory stairs have a height 250–350 cm, On request, other sizes can be made. The cheapest wooden staircase will cost $100–200, most of the models on the market are $300–400.
|Product price*, $
|Bearing pole, winder steps, web-type fencing
|Beech (bleached), aluminum
|To the floor and ceiling
|Support, steps, fencing in the form of spiral bowstrings
|The Red tree
|To the floor and ceiling
|Marching, curvilinear shape
|Kosour, steps, railings, balusters
|Frame, railing- metal, sheathing- wood
|To the floor and ceiling
|marching, L‑shaped forms
|Two strings, steps (13–14), risers, railings, balusters
|Toari (Brazilian oak)
|To the floor and ceiling
|Marching, curvilinear shape
|Two bowstrings, winder steps, web-type fencing
|Bowstring, “web”-metal, steps, railings- beech
|To the floor and ceiling
|Marching, with a turn of 180
|Two bowstrings (one attached to the wall), steps, risers, railings, support posts, balusters
|Beech, wrought iron (fencing)
|To the floor, walls and ceiling
|Marching, with a turn of 180
|Two bowstrings, steps, risers, support pillars, balusters
|To floors, walls and ceilings
* — product — conditional staircase with a width of 1m, height 3m.
The editors thank the firms “INTERIOR ACADEMY”, “EUROSTROYSERVIS‑K”, “CAREX STYLE”, “SAVEKS STAIRS”, “SKVIREL”, “SM KVADRAT” for their help in preparing the material.