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What is a winder staircase?

A winder staircase is a type of combined staircase (both straight and curved sections) with no landings, so the turns of the staircase can add steps, thereby shortening the staircase.

What types of winder staircases are there?

Winder staircases can be very different from each other, but there are two main types:

  1. Half-turn stairs: they have a 180º turn.
  2. Quarter-turn stairs: they have a 90º turn.

In these turns, the extra steps are located where other types of stairs would have a landing.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a winder staircase?

The main advantage of a winder staircase is saving space. This is because the spaces with the turn also require less length to cover the same distance for ascending and descending. It is also a very versatile staircase from practical and aesthetic points of view.

The main disadvantage is the difficulty in calculating its structure. Like any other staircase, winders must respect the parameters set forth in the Technical Building Code (TBC). By using these, it is possible for the staircase to be limited in size (i.e., it will be used by a limited number of people and will be located in a predominantly private space) or in the public sphere. In any case, for the staircase to be considered safe, it must comply with a number of technical measures related to the slope, angles, heights, steps, etc.

Other possible disadvantages are similar to those of the spiral staircase:

  • If the narrowest side of the angled steps is too small to allow traffic, the staircase will only work in one direction because it won’t be possible for two people going in opposite directions to use it at the same time. In that case, it could not be a high-traffic staircase.
  • Depending on the shape of the ladder and the angle of the turn, the staircase could be uncomfortable for those who are taller.

One advantage of this type of staircase is its aesthetic potential. In the case of the winder staircase shown, the shapes of the steps can be altered, as can the materials of the supporting structure and railings to make creative compositions. On the other hand, the lined winder staircase, thanks to the combination of straight and curved shapes and the twisting of its lower coating, offers fluid, dynamic shapes that have great visual appeal and that can be combined in different ways in both minimalist and more classic environments.

What are the main safety standards that a winder staircase must meet?

As with all safety regulations, these standards vary by country, time, and the nature of each project (public, private, mass use, etc.). However, the general rules for making winder staircases take the following aspects into account:

  • Width of the sections.
  • Maximum and minimum width of the footprint in curved sections.
  • Minimum size of the staircase opening.
  • Distance to be covered with respect to the size of the staircase.
  • Slope.
  • Relationship of the tread and riser.

What are the tread and riser on a staircase?

The tread is the depth of the step, or the space available for the foot. The riser is the step height, or the distance the foot must be lifted to climb to the next rung.

When designing a staircase, the total height is divided among the risers, while the distance is distributed among the tread. The relationship between these will give the slope of the staircase.

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