Skip to Content

the Log Looks Blog

6 Different Types of Staircases

Full log stringers coped to fit a 10 inch half log tread standard length of tread is 48 inches.

Staircases are more than just a means of moving from one level to the next. They can also make for an excellent focal point, depending on the staircase design. Different types of staircases provide specific kinds of appeal and take up varying amounts of space. Need staircase ideas? To see which staircase design is right for your next interior or exterior project, check out our most popular types of staircases.

Closed Tread Staircase

Closed tread staircase.

As the name implies, closed tread staircases are completely enclosed. In this type of staircase, a full timber riser acts as a wall that closes the gap between the adjacent treads, giving the staircase a fuller look.

Open Tread Staircase

Full log stringers coped to fit a 10 inch half log tread standard length of tread is 48 inches.

Alternatively, an open tread, or open riser staircase is one in which the rise, or space between the adjacent treads is open. This staircase design trend is growing in popularity for both residential and commercial settings due to the transparency it offers. Open tread timber staircases offer a modern, sophisticated, and airy feel while also giving the perception of a larger space.

Straight Staircase

Milled Half log tread staircase with classic railing on one side and hickory railing on the other

A straight staircase is the simplest and most common type of staircase. The straight line design doesn’t need a landing for special support, as it only needs to be attached at the top and bottom. Keep in mind that the longer the staircase, the most linear space it will take up. For an eye-catching look, consider open treads, milled logs, black bar railings, or a flare butt trees as the end post.

L-Shaped Staircase

Black bar railing on an L-shaped staircase.

L-shaped staircases are a variation of a straight stair but with a twist. Literally. This type of staircase is mostly straight, but with a turn either in the middle or closer to one of the ends. It can be much more visually appealing and takes up less space than a straight staircase. They’re perfect for the corner of a room. Many even find that L-shaped staircases are generally easier to navigate because of the wider the landing that breaks of the flight up stairs.

U-Shaped Staircase

Jacked timber staircase with 4x12 stringers notched or cut to allow the tread to sit on top of the stringers. Standard tread is 4x10 thickness.

U-shaped staircases typically consist of two flights of stairs that go in opposite directions with a landing bridging the two together. Rather than one long, straight staircase, a U-shaped staircase helps break up the flight, making the stairs appear more manageable. When space is tight, this type of staircase is a viable choice as it takes up less linear space and can easily fit into a corner design. The main drawback to this design, however, is that the turn can make it difficult to move large pieces of furniture up and down the stairs.

Spiral Staircase

Custom cedar spiral staircase.

Spiral staircases have one central post to which all the radiating treads are attached, as they spiral upward through a space in the floor above. Because of their compact nature, spiral staircases are greater for tight spaces. However, this staircase design is more novelty than functional, as only one person can typically walk up and down the stairs at a time. It’s also much harder to move large furniture.

Complete Your Wooden Staircase

Whichever staircase design you choose, Northern Log Supply’s custom wood staircases can help you with nearly any look you’re trying to achieve. Our interior stairs and exterior staircases are available in pine or cedar, pre-built or by custom order. And don’t forget to finish your staircase with our log railing. From staircases, strings, treads, and landing, we can supply all the log staircase parts you need to complete your project. Contact us today to talk staircase ideas and see how we can take your design to the next level.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Receive updates on our latest projects and expert advice and design inspiration from the Log Looks blog.

Sign Up Today