Circular Stairs Design | An Architect Explains

Circular Stairs Design | An Architect Explains

A circular staircase resembles a circle in plan. The steps wind similar to a spiral staircase, but there is no support pole in the middle. A circular staircase may have a very narrow diameter like the one seen in this picture or a wide curve giving it a very grand appearance. Using different materials, you can create different types of circular stairs.

Circular stairs are circular

Circular stairs have a circular shape in plan

CONCRETE CIRCULAR STAIRS:  Concrete circular stairs are the easiest to construct since they can be cast at site using two-stringers.  The staircase in the picture above is a free-standing one. The beautiful form of the stairs is visible because of the flexi glass balustrade.


On the other hand, in the example below, the circular concrete staircase is attached to a curved stone wall that forms a striking backdrop to the curved stairs.
Circular stairs attached to stone wall

Circular stairs are attached to a stone curving wall which forms the backdrop

In yet another example, the circular, concrete staircase with wooden treads has two closed stringers (the stringer is not visible). By having everything in white, save the wooden treads that match with the flooring, the curve of the staircase is the focus.

A Circular, concrete, closed-stringer staircase.

A Circular, concrete-closed-stringer staircase.

CONCRETE CIRCULAR STAIRCASE WITH OPEN TREADS: Another way of doing a concrete circular staircase, is by having two white, curved, concrete stringers. Treads made of wood, stone, glass etc are fixed between the two stringers. See image below.

A cicular, concrete, two-stringer staircase

A Circular, concrete-two-stringer staircase with open wooden treads

WOODEN CIRCULAR STAIRCASE WITH OPEN TREADS: Instead of concrete, wood can be used to create a circular staircase with two wooden stringers and wooden treads. But this is an expensive option as thick, wooden sections are required to carve out the curved pieces.

A circular staircase made of all wood

A very beautiful but expensive curved, circular wooden staircase

WOODEN, CARPETED CIRCULAR STAIRCASE:  Adding a running carpet, highlights the curve of the circular stairs. In the picture,  a solid, closed two-stringer wooden staircase is set against a white wall backdrop. The wood paneling continues down to the floor  so that two distinct layers are created – a dark wooden front layer  against a white wall back-layer. The effect is definitely dramatic!   

A circular, wooden, closed-stringer staircase with a runner carpet.

A circular, wooden-closed-stringer staircase with a runner carpet.

STEEL CIRCULAR STAIRCASE:

Circular steel staircase with glass treads

Circular, steel-two-stringer staircase with glass treads

Steel is also used in place of  concrete or wooden stringers. The two-steel stringers are fabricated to the required form and treads made of wood, glass or stone (marble, granite etc) are fixed between them as seen in the two examples, above and below.

circular, steel, two-stringer stairs

Circular steel-two-stringer stairs with marble/corian treads

CENTRE-STRINGER, CIRCULAR STAIRCASE: Instead of the regular two-stringer circular stairs, a staircase with a central stringer made of wood, steel or concrete can be used. But this is expensive to make because of the thick, curved wood sections required  and the accurate design and specialized skill that is needed. But there is no denying the visual impact of the dramatic curve of such staircases. See image below.

Circular, centre-stringer, wooden staircase

Circular, wooden-centre-stringer staircase- expensive but beautiful

 A steel central stringer supports stone treads, in this example.

Circular, steel, centre-stringer staircase

Circular, steel, centre-stringer staircase with corian treads

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

However, circular stairs have to be custom-built and require specialised skill. Therefore they are very expensive. For cheaper options read about other Stair Shapes.

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