Alternating Tread Stairway

Very nice implementation of an alternating tread stairway.

“I am not young and I don’t know how much longer I would be comfortable climbing stairs every day. So I did a lot a research and learned about alternating tread stairs (ships ladder, Thomas Jefferson stairs). If carefully designed, these stairs take up much less space than a regular stairway.”

Take a closer look at Tiny House Over the Hill: Stairs, etc.

4 thoughts on “Alternating Tread Stairway”

  1. Just one red flag about alternating tread stairs. If you miss the first step going down, you will not recover. We all are creatures of habit, and in an emergency or panic situation (a fire for example) we all revert to what we know best and it is not remembering which foot you need to begin with going down stairs.

    I have used these stairs, and find them very comfortable in either direction, but I always need to think about which foot goes first going down. In the middle of the night, half asleep, covered in smoke trying to “get out”, I would find them dangerous. Best not to use them from a sleeping room.

    Personally, I find “ships’ ladders safer… and apparently so do naval architects.

    You might find that some codes will allow them in situations where a ship’s ladder is prohibited.

    1. Robert Aulicky

      The idea is to hand the stair for the client. In this exercise the client uses the same foot on a normal stair either up or down. The design should encompass this by changing the number of rises. If the client is older the knees will not allow a 9″ rise and would prefer a 6-7″ rise. Keep this in mind as you design.

      Robert Aulicky

  2. I built a set of “Half-step stairs” in my childrens playhouse back in 1991. I absolutely LOVE them. They are ten times as easy to use as regular stairs, and the floor space needed is cut in half, because of the half steps. So, limited spaces can make very proficient use of them. I wouldn’t worry about forgetting how to use them in an emergency. You become accustomed to them very quickly.

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