Stone Steps and Stairs

Is there a difference between a step and a stair? After looking up both words in the dictionary, I’m still wondering because a step is defined as one of a series of structures consisting of a riser and tread, and a stair is considered the height of a single step in a flight of stairs.

Passing from one level to another, we take a step on a stair but not a stair on a step. So, I guess they’re not synonymous, exactly. I do know that if I build a set of stone steps, or a stone stairway, the steps and stairs had better have even rises and similar treads. Or, is that similar rises and even treads? While you’re pondering, have a look at two I recently built, along with their “before” photos.

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4 Responses to Stone Steps and Stairs

  1. peter brush November 2, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    a stair is one of a number of steps, as is a step. ‘stairs’, is short form for staircase, which is more than one stair in a progression…. in my opinion stairs are usually wood and have a railing… steps not necessarily so. here’s a link to my latest set of steps…
    notice on the photos shown, how the original old moss covered set is offset to the door to allow for ease of access based on the way the door swings.
    i love building steps, love the challenge of making them work safely and most importantly , they must flow and feel good climbing or ascending, be safe and be ascetically pleasing. here’s a link to my latest set of steps…

    • Dan November 3, 2013 at 8:04 am #

      When it comes to making steps, one can take an interpretive, generative or conceptual approach. It’s either about structure from an engineering perspective, layout as a function of use, or, taking the psychological path, conceiving meaning from its being. Of all construction methods, dry stone has the greatest capacity to reflect the builder’s personality. Thanks for your comment.

  2. T.J. November 1, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

    Nice transitions, I’ve learned to love building transitions. How does one go from down to up, or up to down? That transition is what we build when building steps in a hill or more importantly, the step to the threshold of the home. The steps are the gate to the home. They ground the house and set the tone of the entrance. Great work as always. thanks for posting again. T.J.

    • Dan November 3, 2013 at 10:17 am #

      Hi TJ. Thanks for your comment – a nice reflection on steps & transitions.

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