How much space do you need for a staircase?

Staircases, Oak staircases and space saver staircases

How much space do you need for a staircase? 

As with all elements of a house eventually staircases will wear out and need to be replaced or if an owner is renovating their home perhaps a change of style or a more modern option is required.    Staircases probably face more wear and tear than any other part of the home and a worn or weakened staircase can be extremely dangerous. Often when buying a new home the owner will choose to replace existing staircases or add new ones to maximise the available space or just to bring the fittings in line with their particular choice of decoration. Whether safety and ease of use are the main consideration or the choice is purely aesthetic there are many options available. 

Before selecting a staircase, it is worth checking if local authority approval is needed for installation. This is easily overlooked and can lead to unnecessary cost and inconvenience in the future if your application is denied. Once this has been resolved and the available budget has been assessed, there are two main factors that should be considered: 


  • Available space:

     In most homes there will only be a certain amount of space for the staircase to occupy. Luckily there are several staircase ideas for a small house or one with a limited footprint for the stairs. The plan and elevation should be measured first as this will be the main consideration if a traditional staircase is being installed. Simply put, this is a case of measuring the height of the ceiling and the length of floor available below to give the ideal angle, or pitch, for the staircase.  The width of the staircase should also be considered. For example, if the staircase is being installed for loft access it would have to be narrow enough to allow passage on the landing below.  

  • Staircase design:

     Whether the homeowner prefers a traditional, functional staircase or a more modern feature staircase is largely down to personal taste. There are several different styles in various materials and finishes to complement the style of the individual home.  However, it is also worth considering who will be using the staircase. For the elderly or those with mobility issues a traditional design with wide and deep treads is usually preferable. This is also worth considering if young children will be using the stairs unsupervised. 


With space as the main consideration, there are three main types of space saving staircase I will discuss, each of which have their own merits depending on the requirements of the user. While many homeowners are inexperienced in staircase constructionall are straightforward to install with minimal skill and no need for specialist tools. 


  • Wooden space saver staircases

    These are ideal for loft access, as open well stairs or to reach a mezzanine level and have the traditional staircase design familiar to all homes. Due to their wooden construction the treads can easily be cut to reduce width if required and the height can be similarly reduced if necessary. The deeper treads give extra stability when ascending and most models come with an integral handrail for added security. While oak staircases of this design are available they can be expensive so spruce is a good alternative if cost is an issue. Spruce has the benefit of being attractive but also sturdy and hardwearing compared to cheaper alternatives such as pine which are softer and more flexible and can tend to warp over time. Along with a handrail it is also worth choosing a model with rebated treads that are sunk into the frame rather than just being screwed in place for a sturdier construction. As these staircases are supplied ready built they are very easy to install by just securing to the floor above and below. Due to the wooden finish they can be easily varnished or painted to match the surrounding décor. For especially limited spaces some models are equipped with paddle treads and a steeper incline or if the bottom of the staircase would terminate against a wall these are also available as winder staircases that have a ninety degree turn towards the bottom to fit the corner. 

  • Modular staircases:

     These are constructed from several modular pieces comprised of a strong steel tubular support or riser, a solid wooden step and a rear support that the following riser slots into. This design makes them very simple to construct and easy to adjust to fit the available space. The height of the steps on the risers can be adjusted or modules omitted to fit the required height and they can be built as a straight rise or a curve as needed. Once built, a sturdy steel handrail is then fitted to make the staircase safe and secure. The curved or paddle shaped treads not only are an attractive design feature but also make the staircase easy to use while saving as much space as possible. The wooden and metal construction also give a clean, modern look to this design.

  • Spiral staircases:

     Although these can take up more size than the other types of staircases discussed and can have a minimum opening size which can’t be adjusted, they are an attractive design classic that definitely make a statement. However, they still have a smaller footprint than many traditional staircases and for some spaces can be the ideal choiceDue to the steel central column they have an extremely strong construction and high weight tolerance. The tread height can be adjusted and sections added or omitted depending on the height required. It is worth making sure that the banister runs the full length for maximum safety and stability, not all models guarantee this. It is also possible to construct the spiral running clockwise or anticlockwise, making it even more flexible. 


If you are planning to buy a staircase online and value quality and cost BPS Access Solutions are the perfect choice. We have range of high quality space saving staircases available to suit all your requirements, delivered free the next day. All are designed to be installed without professional help and come with full instructions. Our products are independently tested to ensure they meet all current standards and come with a no quibble lifetime guarantee. We check prices against our competitors daily to ensure we offer the best quality for the best price. If you have any queries or need advice on any purchase, please contact our friendly expert staff who will be happy to help. 



Telephone: 0333 006 9776

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