How to Build a Spiral Staircase
Purchasing and Installing a Spiral Staircase Kit
A spiral staircase offers advantages to your home unparalleled by a conventional straight staircase. Spiral staircases are attractive and functional, shrinking the staircase footprint to as little as 14 square feet. Spiral staircases efficiently tuck away in spaces too tight for a conventional staircase, such as kitchens, halls, and foyers.
Building your own DIY spiral staircase is an advanced home improvement project for do-it-yourselfers, especially if you need to create a staircase well in the upper floor. Assistance from a partner is required. However, the results are rewarding, and installing spiral stairs is a good option for homeowners looking to increase their home's value.
Purchasing the Right Spiral Staircase Kit for Your Home
Spiral staircase kits include carefully machined steel parts that fit perfectly together with little tolerance for error. Metal treads nest on top of each other around a strong metal pole that provides most of the support. Treads, pole, spindles, handrail, balusters: all are specialized parts unavailable piecemeal at most home centers. To produce these parts from scratch, you would need machining tools, welding equipment, and the skills that go along with each. Most do-it-yourselfers find it safer and more efficient to use spiral staircase plans with pre-purchased kits.
Spiral stairs cost between $1,000 and $20,000 depending on the material chosen. Professionals charge between $35 and $85 per hour for installation, so homeowners can make more room in the budget by completing the installation themselves using a kit. Metal is the most affordable material, ranging from $1,000 to $4,400 for steel stairs and $1,000 to $4,600 for cast iron. High-end materials include wood, aluminum, and glass.
Codes, Permits, and Regulations
Call your local permitting office for information about spiral staircase codes and building permits. Due to spiral staircases' unique sizing, local code for spiral staircases usually will differ from that of straight staircases. For example, your local code may permit risers up to 9 1/2 inches. Code for straight staircases often specifies riser heights of no more than 7 3/4 inches. The following table lists common spiral staircase dimensions:
|Spiral Staircase Dimensions: Well and Center Pole Calculation Chart|
|Stair Size||Well Size (Squared)||Pole Position|
|3 feet, 6 inches||3 feet, 8 inches||22 inches|
|4 feet||4 feet, 2 inches||25 inches|
|4 feet, 6 inches||4 feet, 8 inches||28 inches|
|5 feet||5 feet, 2 inches||31 inches|
|5 feet, 6 inches||5 feet, 8 inches||34 inches|
|6 feet||6 feet, 2 inches||37 inches|
Staircases, especially spiral staircases, can be dangerous if not constructed and used properly. Begin with a spiral staircase kit from a reputable manufacturer. While instructions in this guide illustrate features shared by most spiral staircase assemblies, instructions included with your kit should take precedence over instructions in this guide. Be especially careful of the open well area on the upper floor.
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Tape measure
- Manual screwdrivers
- Laser level with plumb or a string plumb bob
- Set of wrenches or socket wrenches
- Adjustable wrench
- Safety glasses
- Set of drill bits
- Set of masonry drill bits (optional)
- Spiral staircase kit
- Lag bolts
- Concrete anchors (optional)
How to Build a Spiral Staircase
Measure Height and Well Requirements
With the tape measure, measure the distance from the lower floor to the walking surface of the upper floor (not the ceiling of the lower floor). Use this height when ordering the spiral staircase kit since you will be required to specify the number of stair treads needed. Calculate the area of the staircase well by measuring length by width.
Locate the Center Pole
While on the ladder, measure halfway out on two sides of the staircase well. For example, if the well is 3 feet, 8 inches in square, half of this is 22 inches. You would measure out 22 inches on two adjoining sides. Most spiral staircases require at least 44 by 44 inches of floor space. Plumb down to the floor with the laser level or the plumb bob to locate the attachment point for the center pole on the lower floor.
Attach the Base Flange
Place the center pole's base flange on the center point marked in the previous step. Attach the flange to the floor with lag bolts. Use concrete anchors if the floor is concrete. Use the wrench set or socket wrenches to drive the lag bolts firmly into the concrete or wood floor.
Install the Center Pole
Slide the center pole into the base flange. Have the partner hold the pole firmly and as close to plumb as possible.
Add the Treads
Move all of the treads to the upper level. Carefully slide the treads down the pole; do not let them fall. The partner on the lower level, standing on a ladder, will control the descent of the treads and let them gradually stack up. Some spiral staircase systems require spacers between treads. If so, be sure to have the spacers on the upper level and add them accordingly.
Secure the Landing
Once all treads are in place, slide the top landing over the pole. Attach the landing to the upper level using the method prescribed by the staircase manufacturer. Typically, lag bolts attach the landing to the sides of the floor joists.
Rotate the Treads Into Position
Rotate the treads sequentially so that they form an upward corkscrew or helix shape.
Attach the Spindles
Spiral staircase kits always have a system that both aligns the treads and provides balusters for the handrail. Many kits use separate spindles that attach from one tread to its upper neighbor. Attach these spindles as recommended by the manufacturer.
Install the Railing
Many spiral staircase kits have a railing that is delivered in the form of a tight coil. With your partner, widen the coil until it is the diameter of your spiral staircase. Then, slowly walk away from each other to draw out the railing so that it forms a corkscrew. Attach the railing to the spiral staircase's balusters using the included hardware.
What are the disadvantages of spiral staircases?
Spiral staircases are not as comfortable to use as standard stairs because the landings are smaller at the center than the outer edges. This can be difficult for kids, pets, and many adults. Spiral stairs also make practical tasks like moving furniture to the upper floors much more complicated.
What is the difference between a spiral staircase and a circular staircase?
Circular staircases are not always tightly wound around a center support. Unlike spiral stairs, circular stairs can be built in a gentle C-shape for full-sized treads at the smallest point, which gradually expand out to extra-large treads on the outer edges.
Do buyers like spiral staircases?
Spiral staircases are a high-value feature for homes that have another standard staircase available for use. If your home has only a spiral staircase to reach the upper floors, it may deter potential buyers.
How Much Does a Spiral Staircase Cost to Install? HomeAdvisor.