How to Design Spiral Staircases


As you remodel your home, consider designing a spiral staircase to add a dramatic touch to a living or dining room. These staircases add value to any home because of their uncommon form and expert craftsmanship. And today’s architects offer a wider range of spiral styles, from the simple full revolution staircase to elaborate stacked models. Beyond their beautiful architecture, spiral staircases are popular choices for home remodeling projects since they don’t require too much extra space.

Spiral staircase.
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Step 1

Consider the diameter of the staircase. You must allow for the same amount of space upstairs and downstairs. Take into account how much traffic the staircase will handle. Ask your town’s building inspector if the building code requires a minimum diameter. (Reference 1)

Consider the diameter of the staircase.
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Step 2

Measure the height from floor to floor. Make sure the top and bottom of the staircase is at least two inches away from the floor and ceiling. Decide on the width of treads. Make the stair landing more than two times the treads’ width. (Reference and 2)

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Step 3

Decide how much space should separate each baluster. Prefer smaller spaces that children cannot fall through. (Reference 1)

Keep the spaces between balusters small so that children can not fall through.
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Step 4

Determine where to place the railings. Also decide what style of railings to install.They come in aluminum, bead and groove, black vinyl and solid wood.

Determine where to place the railings.
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Step 5

Choose a half or full revolution. For a full revolution, you need only consider how many runs and stair rises you want. If you choose the half revolution, you will have to give up tread width in order to accommodate runs and rises.

Half revolution.
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Step 6

Select the type of staircase, such as winding spirals, stacked spirals, domed spirals or rectangular spirals.

Select the type of staircase.
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Step 7

Design a well enclosure rail at the top of the staircase to prevent anyone from falling. Check with your town’s building code for the minimum height of the rail. Decide whether the rail will circle the top of the stair case or whether it will attach to the top floor in straight lines.

This type of staircase can look nice in a room.
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Tips & Warnings

  • Opt for a staircase made from galvanized stair which doesn’t rust and doesn’t require painting or costly maintenance.
  • When deciding on the staircase’s diameter, a 6 ft. size requires 6’2” x 6’2”, above and below. If you have more size, extend that opening several more inches just to allow for extra room.
  • If you’ve hired a contractor to do the job, ask about stair packages custom made according to your town’s building code.
  • You can choose to cut a hole in your floor or attach the staircase next to a balcony.
  • If you decide to go the floor route, you can choose whether to make a square or round opening.


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