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Spiral Stairs Design | An Architect Explains

Like an arched staircase, a Spiral stair is a curved stair. The treads of a spiral stair wind around a central post in a spiral or helix shape. A Spiral stair is the best option in small spaces. A Spiral staircase is also great for modern houses as it gives a nice, glamorous look. Generally, it is cast in place, though pre-assembled spiral stairs are also available.

Spiral stairs
Spiral stairs wind around a central post in a spiral manner


Advantages of spiral staircases:
Less space : than normal staircases and can be introduced into the tiniest spaces.
Cheap: Easier to install then normal staircases.
Pre-assembled: These offer a wider variety of materials and shapes and sizes.
Add value: They are great as second staircases and also they add value to your home.

Disadvantages of spiral staircases:
Steep: because they take so little space. This makes them almost impossible to use by elders and larger people.
Head room: When you install them you should make sure that you have adequate head room as you climb up, otherwise they are not usable.
Expensive: Pre-assembled stairs are usually more expensive than normal staircase and will surely add to the costs.

Spiral stairs require less space
Spiral stairs can be introduced in the tiniest spaces


Once you have decided to connect two floors by a Spiral staircase, you will have to do some calculations:
Location of staircase: Find the right location for the staircase. The minimum width of a Spiral staircase is 5′, so have this in mind.
Size of Staircase: Its size depends on how inclined the stairs are. For a more comfortable climb, the stairs should be larger than 5′.
Height of Staircase: Next you will need to measure the height of the staircase, from the lower to the upper floor. But be careful to measure from floor top to floor top, and not from floor to ceiling.
Number of Steps: Now you can calculate the number of steps. 8” high risers are much easier to climb compared to 9” risers, so divide the floor-to-floor height by 8 and you will have the number of steps.
Headroom: At the top of the staircase make sure that you have a minimum height of 6’6″, to allow people to stand up. Spiral_Stair.


WOODEN SPIRAL STAIRS: Wood is used to make Spiral Stairs as seen in the picture below. But it is not as commonly used as metal in India.

Wooden spiral stairs
Wooden spiral stairs

METAL SPIRAL STAIRS: Cast iron, steel and aluminium are the metals popularly used to make spiral stairs. The treads may be made of slotted metal, perforated metal, brushed steel, wood or stone.

Metal spiral staircase
Metal spiral staircases are the commonest

In the example below of a metal Spiral staircase, the treads have wooden slats.

spiral stairs and wooden slat treads
Metal spiral stairs with wooden slats

The example below is of a cast-iron Spiral Stairs. It is very decorative and belongs to a bygone era. Sometimes it adds decoration to a very simple and understated space like in this picture.

Cast iron spiral stairs
Cast iron spiral stairs

The image below is an example of a brushed-steel staircase with brushed-steel treads, welded to the central pole.

Brushed steel spiral stairs
Brushed steel spiral stairs

This is also an example of a Steel Spiral staircase, but with perforated steel treads.

sleek steel spiral staircase
A sleek steel, spiral staircase with perforated steel treads

The imagee below shows a metal staircase with metal treads, painted white to go with the rest of the building. The acrylic baluster and wooden railing highlight the helical curve of the stairs.

Metal spiral (helical) stairs
Metal spiral (helical) stairs painted white

GLASS SPIRAL STAIRS: Sometimes, instead of metal treads, glass treads are used to make the whole staircase look lighter and admit light into the lower levels. See image below.

Glass and steel spiral stairs
Spiral staircase with glass treads around a steel post

In this innovative example of an all-glass Spiral staircase, glass treads are fixed to the glass central post with the help of bolts. But one might be forced to walk gingerly.

Glass spiral staircase
All glass spiral staircase

All images are courtesy The stairs shown in this post are few examples. Innumerable types are possible with the imaginative use of different materials for the treads, risers, stringers, balusters and railings.

Spiral stairs are very steep and not comfortable to climb. A better option is the Circular stairs. For more information on other shapes of stairs go to:

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