Concrete, wood, steel, glass: how to choose the material for the stairs?
Most of us use the stairs every day, but sometimes we stop to think about the design and function of the stairs. With steps, treads and railings, these are one of the most basic architectural elements in any home. Apart from providing safe, simple and easy access from one floor to another, it is through the stairs that architects create unique spatial forms and powerful visuals. From a distance, you can see people repeatedly moving up and down. From the inside, the user is treated with new angles and ways to perceive space. Therefore, a good staircase is not just a means of vertical circulation. Through its power and scale, it can be the protagonist of space – the focus of design that goes up to the level of art.
The stairs have evolved dramatically over the years. From the intricately decorated designs of Art Nouveau to the aesthetics of today’s more minimalist and clean lines. With innovative technology and improved manufacturing methods, the staircase adopts intricate sculptural shapes, exploring new creative possibilities and even challenging structural limitations. And thanks to this high design flexibility, there are virtually endless options to choose from when choosing the one that fits your home perfectly. Of course, most of us don’t change the internal stairs often, so it’s important for architects, designers, and homeowners to choose wisely, whether it’s a new project or a home remodeling.
Several factors to consider when designing stairs
Before making an aesthetic decision, one of the first factors to consider is your budget. This is because the material and style options can be automatically narrowed down. For example, steel is usually more expensive than wood. Just as a spiral staircase is more expensive than a straight staircase. Second, meeting building codes is very important to ensure safety. Especially if you have children or the elderly in your household who may need stairs that are stronger and more accident-free. The choice is also limited by the size of the available space. Large spaces require large stairs, while small spaces can only accommodate curved or spiral stairs. In that sense, it is useful to remember how to calculate the dimensions of the stairs.
Once these points are defined, there are many types of stairs to choose from. The most common are straight lines, cornering, winders, spirals and helicals. Straight stairs all rise along one straight axis, making them easy to install and push to one side of the building. It provides a sleek and minimalist look, but can be too simple for some. Cornering stairs allow the designation to push them into the corners of the floor plan, requiring a short but large area on both floors. Depending on the 90 degree rotation speed, these can be L-shaped, U-shaped, and even S-shaped. On the other hand, stairs with winders use two 45 degree treads or three 30 degree treads to turn corners and draw smooth curves.
Spiral and helical types are often confused, but in reality they are quite different. The spiral staircase is much tighter and wraps around the thin edge of the winding tread around the central axis, while the spiral staircase contains a wider, deeper tread that rises more slowly. With their elegance and complexity, both styles represent the pinnacle of staircase craftsmanship.
The importance of choosing the right material
Regardless of the style that tends to be defined by the amount of space anyway, perhaps the most important decision is about the main materials (concrete, wood, steel, glass, etc.) on which the stairs are built. But why is this so important? Choosing the right material does more than just contribute to the aesthetics of your home. It also defines impacts on structural integrity, performance, lifecycle, design limits, and cost and traffic. Ultimately, it all comes down to personal tastes and priorities. Some people prefer glass stairs to suit their luxurious style, while others prefer concrete stairs for durability.
To facilitate the selection process, the following details the unique features of common staircase materials and the series of beautiful and inspiring staircases that are certainly claimed in modern homes.
Concrete: Modern and durable
Concrete has the unique ability to form complex shapes and is the most popular material used to build stairs. It offers a modern look and is trending, especially in its raw, exposed form. The manufacturing process from foundation preparation to material hardening can be very time consuming and cumbersome, so concrete stairs are usually more expensive than stairs made of steel or wood. However, it has excellent noise and heat absorption, fire resistance, strength and durability, and has an unparalleled ability to withstand high loads and shocks. These stairs can also be manufactured in a sustainable manner, as concrete can be crushed and reused into new mixtures.
For more examples, see Architonic’s “Concrete Stairs” product category.
Wood: Warm and versatile
Thanks to their coziness and naturally inspired warmth, the wooden staircase has been around for quite some time, giving it a traditional rustic feel or a sophisticated modern look. However, not all wood or wood choices are suitable for stairs. Solid wood like fir, beech, oak and walnut is best, not wood made like plywood or MDF. These differ in price and visual quality, but generally work very well on stairs. Exposed wood does not last as long as steel, but improved manufacturing methods, regular maintenance, and shellac and lacquer-like finishes can provide exceptional performance. If this care is not taken, the stairs can be damaged in daily use.
For more examples, see Architonic’s “Wooden Stairs” product category.
Steel: industrial and flexible
In recent years, sophisticated industrial looks have become popular, and steel staircases are once again in the limelight. The material is flexible and can be processed into a variety of narrow shapes – applied on top, left exposed, pierced or continuous. Withstands great stress and the steel stairs last a lifetime. In fact, repeated reuse does not compromise strength or durability. These stairs can also be easily assembled with nuts and bolts or welds. For example, it is usually faster and cheaper to install than wooden stairs. Nevertheless, steel can be very noisy, which can create inconvenience in areas of the home that require silence.
For more examples, see Architonic’s Steel Stairs product category.
Glass: gorgeous and surprisingly strong
Glass is the ultimate choice for an ultra-modern luxury look. It gives the impression of walking in the air, and its different levels of transparency allow natural light to pass through at different intensities. At first, the glass and stairs don’t seem to be compatible. However, thanks to significant technological advances, once delicate materials are now gaining tremendous power. By using special architectural glass that has been chemically treated, fortified and laminated, it is possible to build glass stairs with excellent load-bearing capacity. Not only can they withstand everyday wear and tear, but they can also withstand shocks and shocks. However, among other common materials, glass stairs are still the least durable and require the most regular maintenance.
For more examples, see Architonic’s “Glass Stairs” product category.