The system family of stairs in Revit can be complex. Individual family components make up each part of the stair. Once we have an understanding of the parts, creating stairs in Revit becomes much easier.
In more recent versions of Revit, the Stair by Component method is the only option for creating stairs from the start. In previous versions, it was possible to start a stair by using “Stair by Sketch”. Now we simply create a Stair (assumed to be “By Component”). Those looking for the Sketch tool can find it as an option on the contextual tab of the Stair tool. The Stair button is located on the Architecture tab, Circulation panel. For this example, we will use the default Run tool.
The Type Properties of the Stair command (Stair – Properties dialog box – Edit Type) is where we “put together” the stair components. Stairs consist of multiple system families that use profiles (saved as .rfa files). In this example, the Run Type uses a system family named “2” Tread 1” Nosing 1/4” Riser”.
Clicking on the ellipsis button to the right of this line opens yet another dialog box where we can make adjustments to the stair run. In this dialog box, we break down the stair run even more. We can adjust the Tread and Riser size and profile using any loaded Profile component family. This is where many people get really creative! Materials can be modified specifically for the Treads and Risers. In the original Type Properties dialog box, similar settings can be modified for the Supports and Landings.
To begin creating a stair, begin on a plan view of the bottom level of the stair. For example, if the stair will be going from Level 1 to Level 2, work in a Level 1 plan view. The default option is to start creating the Run. (Hint: always check the Properties dialog box first to make sure the Base Level and Top Level are correct, especially if creating a stair that is offset from a Level.) Click to place the bottom point of the Run and move the mouse to begin showing treads. If creating a midpoint landing, click to place the second point of the first run when the desired number of treads has been reached. Then move the mouse to the opposite side of the landing and click to start the second run. Move the mouse until 0 Remaining treads shows below the run. Use a similar process to create L-shaped and U-shaped stairs.
More recent versions of Revit include the ability to create Multistory Stairs from a single-level stair. Create a stair as above from Level 1 to Level 2. In a Section or Elevation view, click on the stair run (you may need to use the Tab key to find the correct selection item). With the stair selected, click the Select Levels button on the green contextual tab.
Holding the CTRL button, click the Levels in order, bottom to top, to connect the stairs. The resulting stair runs work like Model Groups – changes to the original stair run will populate to the rest of the runs. Each run can be “unpinned” from the group in order to make individual changes. Pinning the modified group will restore the configuration of the original run.
Of course, modifications may need to be made to individual landings and railings, however the time saved in creating each individual run of stairs and landings is significant especially in taller structures.
The key to understanding stairs in Revit is understanding how the individual parts come together in the Stair system family.