How to choose a staircase

How to choose a staircase
There are many homes throughout Australia with staircases and in some more than one. A staircase can be tucked away and unobtrusive or can be a focal point and add real wow factor to your home.

Taking regulations and guidelines into account your staircase can then only be limited by space, budget and imagination.

The main initial points to consider are the positioning of the staircase, the slope, width, number of steps, size of the treads, head clearance and position of handrails or balustrading. Many of these points will be determined by the style of your home and the stair case you choose.

Choices include:

Materials used in the manufacture and finishes of staircases include timber, steel, glass, stone, tiles, concrete and carpet or often a combination. For example a traditional timber staircase could have a carpet runner up the length of the staircase. You could have polished timber treads with painted risers. A floating staircase could be made of steel with timber treads. Handrails and balustrading could be timber, steel or glass.

If you are building a new home your architect will discuss the staircase with you. It’s positioning and size will be decided upon and then the style and materials will be chosen. A professional staircase manufacturer will also be able to advise and assist with this process. If you are replacing an exisiting stair case for a new one, a staircase builder will be able to not only design and construct the new one, but he also may demolish and remove the old one.

Safety aspects of any staircase are paramount. First and foremost the structural integrity, but also the balustrading, handrails, the size and surface of the treads and the lighting are all important factors. Natural light close to stairs is ideal, while the installation of lighting either overhead, wall mounted or recessed into the walls, risers, balustrading or under handrails not only provides the necessary safety aspect but can create a pleasing aesthetic and mood. Most floating staircases are surrounded by ambient light both natural and artificial from their surrounds. The height of your handrails and balustrading is important as is the necessity for a non-slip surface on the treads.

A staircase is not only a necessary way to get from one level to another but it can be of use in other ways as well. Under your stair case can become a valuable storage area. It could be enclosed to form a cupboard, it could have exposed shelving or a series of drawers for storage. It could be a wine storage area, or a reading nook. It could be left open to display your favourite sculpture or piece of furniture. Whatever you choose it can become a useful spot to hide or highlight just about anything.

For more information, please contact the expert contributor.

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