types of stairs

Before we start discussing the different types of stairs let’s find out what a staircase is.

Stairs are building elements that facilitate the communication between two areas located on different levels.

Staircases can be divided into 4 different types depending on:

Types of stairs by building material


In this day and age, there are endless options to design and build a staircase thanks to the wide variety of materials available on the market. These may be used as part of the structure itself or as an overlay, as shown in the following cases:

Wooden stairs

Wood adds warmth to any environment. That is why it is such a classic choice for staircases, where the wooden steps are placed on top of metallic stringers.

Marble stairs

Marble is highly appreciated by architects and interior designers due to its versatility, durability and wide range of colours. It is an ideal overlay for reinforced concrete staircases that adds a touch of distinction and elegance.


button go marble stairs


Concrete stairs

Thanks to its own features, concrete is usually present in either the staircase structure or used for the overlay itself, in the form of exposed concrete.

Iron stairs

Like concrete, iron is a structural material that is sometimes left exposed in staircases, with the purpose of providing a light, industrial look.


Types of stairs according to location within the building


Access steps are outdoor stairs that provide access to buildings located on elevated ground. These can be split into front and side staircases..

Front stairs

In this case, the staircase will be located opposite the façade.


Front staircase

Front staircase


Side stairs

These staircases are attached to the building, allowing access via either one or both sides.


side stairs

Side stair of the Green School Building Public Letter Bilingual Mundo Verde in Washington.


Types of stairs according to building shape


In contrast with the above section, these staircases are located inside the building.

There are three types of staircases depending on their shape: straight, curved and mixed stairs.


Straight stairs

In these staircases, all steps are resting on a straight surface. Within this group, staircases may be split into the following types.

Straight flight stairs

These directly connect two levels without any half landings.

Double straight flight staircases

These connect two levels with straight flights joined by a half landing.


Double straight flight staircases

Straight stairs with two sections with central stringer beam


U shaped double flight enclosed staircase

Its main feature being that both flights are joined, leaving no gap between the steps on either side. Therefore, both handrails will be on the same side.

U shaped staircase with shaft

En esta ocasión existe separación entre los peldaños que componen los tramos de escalera, es decir, el hueco central queda delimitado por los tramos de la escalera.


U shaped staircase with shaft


Staircases with three or four flights of steps

Due to the space available, sometimes there is no choice but to design a staircase with more than two flights.

Imperial staircase

This type of staircase is typically seen in stately homes or mansions. It features a peculiar shape with a wider main flight that divides into two narrower flights running parallel to the first.


Imperial staircase

Imperial staircase of the Círculo de Bellas Artes de Madrid


Curved stairs

In curved staircases, the steps rest upon an upward rotating surface in the shape of a curve, as seen from the upper level.

These can be classified into the following types based upon their shape.

Elliptical stairs

This is a type of staircase where the step ends are arranged forming an elliptical shape. In these cases, both the larger as well as the smaller hubs are both clearly visible.


elliptical stairs


Spiral stairs

In these cases, there is a central hub that all the steps are attached to, with the outer edges forming a perfect circle.


spiral stairs


Helical stairs 

In the same manner as the spiral staircase, the steps are also attached to a central hub although these are much wider. Therefore, they are also more comfortable to use than a spiral staircase. This type of staircases requires larger areas for their installation.


helical staircase



Mixed stairs

These comprise both straight and curved flights. I.e., they can feature both straight steps in the straight flights, as well as winders for the curved sections.

Kite winders allow us to move between a straight and curved section without requiring a half landing. They also feature a characteristic shape whereby the going reduces from the outer side to the side that is nearer the central hub.


mixed staircases

Types of stairs according to the structural elements


Every staircase has supporting elements that are built into the building’s structure by means of either a ramp or a stringer beam.

Stairs ramps

In projects where the structure is made from reinforced concrete, staircase ramps are part of the structure. There are two different types:

  • Staircase ramps may be an inclined surface on which to support the brick steps.
  • Precast staircases where the steps are already built into the surface.


Stairs stringer

A further method to attach the staircase steps is the stringer system, where the steps rest on top of sloped beams. This could feature one or more beams per section.



If you need specialists in marble or natural stone stairs, contact us, we can help you.


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