8 Different Styles of Stairs: Finding Your Perfect Match

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    Whether you’re renovating an existing property, or constructing a new building and looking to install a staircase, our guide sets out the different styles of stairs to make your choice faster and easier.

    Gatehouse Architectural designs, manufactures and instals all different styles of stairs, ensuring we can supply the right fit for your space. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, we deliver high quality staircases for large contractors and bespoke architectural and commercial projects.

    Different Types of Staircases

    Here, we discuss some of the most popular types of staircases. At Gatehouse Architectural, we have formed specialised product lines to meet the needs of our customers – as demonstrated below.

    Mild Steel Staircases

    Our ZuBar range is a mild steel staircase, featuring a tubular handrail and powder-coated finish for ultimate protection.

    The staircase balustrading is formed of railing, avilable in different coloured powder coating, to add a touch of individuality while meeting stringent safety standards. Alternatively, our ZuBar range can be created from a stainless steel balustrade in grade 304 or 316.

    Glass Staircases

    ZuGlass is Gatehouse Architectural’s glass staircase range.

    Glass staircases are formed from sturdy stainless steel tubular posts, which support toughened 10mm glass panels; however, panel thickness may vary depending upon your project requirements.

    Our glass staircases are also available with tinted glass panels, for lighting control and design preferences, and are complete with flat core rail or hardwood handrails. If you prefer a different material, we offer a powder-coated mild steel balustrade option, which can be hot dip galvanised for outdoor use.

    Wire Staircases

    The wire staircase is formed from a mild or stainless steel structure with a steel wire infill.

    Gatehouse Architectural’s ZuLine is an effective solution for both indoor and outdoor environments, however excels in coastal areas, with a variety of finishes to provide corrosion resistance and longevity in this environment.

    When designing and manufacturing your wire staircase, we always adhere to the latest safety standards to ensure peace of mind and high quality.

    Mesh Infill Staircases

    Our ZuPlex line is a mesh infill staircase, featuring a perforated sheet infill panel.

    Manufactured from sturdy mild or stainless steel and finished with your choice of handrail and optional aesthetic coating, this staircase offers increased privacy and safety, particularly in environments such as educational facilities.

    Different Styles of Stairs

    The above staircases are all available in the styles listed below, ensuring you can achieve the look you want while making certain the staircase is practical for its application.

    Straight Staircases 

    Straight staircases have the simplest design, with no changes of direction. However, a landing can be incorporated into the design if preferred.

    Straight staircases are suitable for narrow entries, and can be seen in both residential and commercial buildings.

    Stairs with Glass Steps

    L-Shaped Stairs

    L-shaped stairs are an efficient solution when space is at a premium.

    L-shaped stairs offer a change in direction, typically 90 degrees, and can be installed in a corner to free up floor space.

    It can also be argued that the turn makes L-shaped stairs safer than a straight stair, since the turn reduces the number of stairs a user could fall down.

    Winding Reception Metal staircase

    U-Shaped Stairs

    U-shaped stairs turn back on themselves 180 degrees at a landing, often seen when the staircase extends over several floors of a building, such as office buildings, hotels and apartment blocks.

    Perforated Mesh Balsutrade Panels for Stairs

    Spiral Staircases

    For a more unique aesthetic, spiral staircases offer an impressive design while remaining practical, particularly in tight spaces.

    This style of stairs wraps around in a tight spiral pattern, which is supported by a central structural column. The compact nature of this design is ideal for tight spaces where traditional stairs might not fit.

    Because of the central column, spiral staircases do not require extra support structures, meaning they don’t have to be placed against a wall.

    However, these staircases can be more difficult to navigate for those with limited mobility, due to their steep, tight structure.

    Spiral 5

    Helical Staircases

    Similarly to the spiral staircase, the helical staircase is structured around an open void rather than a central column, allowing for a larger radius.

    The larger radius means the helical staircase is easier to use; however, it will take up more room than spiral staircases.

    Factors to consider when choosing a staircase

    Cantilever Stairs

    Cantilever stairs provide one of the most contemporary looks available for staircases.

    Often referred to as floating stairs, cantilever stairs are securely fixed at one end of the stair tread, generally against a wall, so that there is no visible means of support.

    In order to achieve this, cantilever stairs must be carefully designed, with means of support calculated exactly. The strength of the tread must also be considered, as they bear weight while only being structurally supported at one end.

    An example our a Cantilever Staircase from Gatehouse Architectural

    Split and Bifurcated Stairs

    Bifurcated stairs, also known as split stairs, are suitable for commercial buildings and educational facilities, as well as grand entrances on large homes.

    These unique stairs start with a wide main staircase that splits into two directions at a landing, for a dramatic effect.

    This style offers the functionality of two staircases, while only taking up the floorspace of one. However, it should be noted that, while they are more space-saving than two separate staircases, they still take up a lot of room, and are suitable for projects where space is not an issue.

    Central Staircase System

    Prefabricated Stairs

    Prefabricated stairs refer to modular staircases that are manufactured in sections off site.

    This convenient and efficient solution is suitable for construction projects, as they reduce the amount of labour needed on site, as well as minimising installation timescales.

    Prefabricated Stairs Complete with Frameless Glass Balustrades

    Choosing a Staircase Design

    Your decision-making process on the type and style of staircases your project requires should factor in several considerations. These include: budget, space and location, usability, material, maintenance and industry regulations.

    Budget Considerations

    The project’s budget can greatly influence the type of staircase you choose, from a simple straight design with standard materials to a more complex design with high-end finishes.

    Beyond the initial cost of materials, you should also factor in installation expenses, including labour costs and any possible alterations to existing structures.

    Available Space

    Crucial for the functionality and appearance of your space, your staircase proportions should be right for your space and amount of predicted foot traffic.

    Working with an architect will make certain that your staircase does not become lost or take over the available space, which is particularly important when considering accessibility and fire safety regulations.

    Comfort and Usability

    Comfort and usability should also be considered in the design of your staircase.

    They can be affected by the type of staircase you choose. For example, spiral staircases are more difficult to navigate. 

    Handrail shape and material, as well as tread materials, such as non-slip treads, should also be determined alongside more technical calculations. This could encompass the handrail height, and vertical rise between each tread.

    Landings can also aid a more comfortable experience, offering a resting spot for those with mobility issues.

    Design, Style and Material Selections

    As discussed, there are a range of designs and styles available to fulfil all needs. These should be chosen in light of your project specifications, environment, and estimated foot traffic, balancing practicality with the look and feel you want.

    A large part of this is your material choice. For hard wearing materials, consider: toughened glass or steel – including both mild steel and stainless steel.

    Offering an aesthetic and modern look, toughened glass meets safety standards for durability and impact resistance. However, it is a harder material to maintain, requiring regular cleaning.

    Mild steel is made for heavy use, and can be treated to enhance its corrosion resistance, making it suitable for harsh environments including outdoor spaces. Mild steel can also be finished with powder coating for a colourful final result.

    Stainless steel offers enhanced aestheticism and the strength and durability of a mild steel. It can be provided polished, making it brighter and more reflective to elevate appearance. 

    Maintenance and Longevity

    The material of your staircase isn't just about the aesthetics, it also dictates your maintenance efforts and the integrity of the structure over time.

    For instance, a glass staircase might be the most contemporary choice, but it will also demand consistent cleaning and care to keep it spotless.

    On the other hand, steel stairs offer durability and can be enhanced with treatments like galvanising and powder coating to extend the life of your staircase and minimise maintenance requirements.

    Compliance with Building Codes

    An essential element that should drive the design and style of your staircase is building codes.

    Your staircase must meet the necessary building and safety regulations, which are in place to ensure your stairs are as safe and functional as possible for users.

    Gatehouse Architectural always adheres to the latest building and safety regulations when designing, manufacturing and installing your staircases. This will differ depending on whether the building is commercial or residential, however will generally cover the structural and dimensional requirements, including the width and depth of each step; the height and placement of handrails; pitch of the staircase; and headroom.

    Location of the Staircase

    The location of your staircase – whether it is installed indoors or outdoors – will not only affect the design but the materials you select.

    Staircases in outdoor environments will require durable and non-corrosive materials to withstand weather conditions. They will also require non-slip treads to prevent wet steps from becoming slippery.

    When designing a new staircase for your building, there is plenty to consider – from materials and design, to regulations and placement. Working alongside an architect and structural engineer will help you determine many of these choices.

    Gatehouse Architectural is experienced working alongside contractors to deliver different types of stairs, designed, manufactured and installed to specification. For an end-to-end solution under one roof, you can rely on us to provide the perfect bespoke staircase for your project.


    From standard and bespoke ranges of architechtural and industrial staircases, balustrades and balconies to beautiful domestic feature metalwork, we've got all the information you need.

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