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Spiral stairs are a beautiful addition to any home, but they’ll need some updating just like any other aspect of home design. By updating your spiral stair design, you can change the entire look of your house and create a safer stair for you and your guests. It may seem like a daunting task to replace a spiral staircase with a completely new design, but it’s easier than you think. These questions break down any concern or question you may have about replacing a spiral staircase.

Replacing a Rusted Outdoor Spiral Staircase

Spiral stairs are the perfect option for a homeowner who wants to save space while moving from one level of their deck to another. With outdoor applications come different considerations for a spiral stair. A stair placed outside must stand up to the outdoor elements while still keeping the beauty that you expect with a spiral stair. There are two stair types that are great for outdoor applications.

Aluminum Spiral Staircase

Aluminum spiral stairs are a versatile option for those who want a custom stair that will last outdoors. The naturally rust-prohibitive aluminum goes through a powder coating process that creates a weather proof finish on the stair. This finish also allows you to give your stair a custom color creating a one of a kind stair. An aluminum spiral stair has plenty of customizable options that help you to design the stair that will best fit your home’s design. If you want a classic stair, you can choose to add solid wood tread coverings and a wooden handrail. If you have a more ornate home design, you can add decorative balusters to enhance your stair.

Galvanized Spiral Staircases

Galvanized Exterior stairs are a durable and cost-effective solution for a second story deck. The steel stair goes through a multistep cleaning and galvanizing process to ensure a flawless and professional finish. The entire stair is hot dipped in a zinc alloy solution to make sure every piece has the maintenance free finish, meaning that your initial cost of the product is the only cost. This include everything from the center column to the edges of treads and balusters where rusting typically starts. The finished product is a stair that has a metallic industrial grey finish that develops into a battleship grey over time. Many homeowners leave the stair in its natural state, but if you want a custom color, your stair can be painted with the proper paint and primers after 6 to 9 months.

Upgrading to a Match My Décor

Home décor is constantly changing with different tastes and trends over time. Your old spiral staircase may not fit the new vision you have for you home. This is common in homes that were recently bought. Not every design decision the home’s previous owner made will be your taste. If you like to keep your home up to date with home design trends, you may want an updated spiral stair design. There are several different design choices that you can make to create the perfect spiral stair for your home.

A Contemporary Look

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If you prefer to keep your home décor contemporary, the Classic Steel spiral stair can be designed to fit into your home. Contemporary design is defined by the meeting of simplicity and personal touches. This particular Classic Steel spiral stair is the perfect example of using the stair as a centerpiece to a contemporary décor. The stair is relatively simple in design, with classic balusters and solid wood tread coverings. However, the homeowner added a personal touch with the custom red color. All Classic Steel spiral stairs can be powder coated a custom color or kept classic with black or white.

A Traditional Look

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If you want a traditional spiral stair, a Forged Iron spiral stair is the perfect choice. This stair has a traditional elegance that fits well into any Victorian or Traditional home. You define your stair’s style through the decorative choices, such as tread coverings and balusters. Solid wood tread coverings and a wooden handrail give the stair a classic design. Your balusters are grouped by pattern to create a complimentary arrangement for your stair. Your Forged Iron spiral stair can be designed down to the small details, such as endcaps, to put the classic finishing touches on your stair.

A Minimalist Look

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One of the most recent trends in home design is a minimalist approach. Minimalism is defined by simplicity and open space. A Classic Steel spiral stair can easily be designed to fit the uncluttered design aesthetic. This stair has a 3’6” diameter and keeps the footprint as small as possible. The metal treads are kept smooth and are paired with simplistic balusters (spindles) to eliminate any unnecessary decoration. There is no center baluster which leaves an open frame.

Increasing the Size of a Spiral Staircase

One of the benefits of a spiral stair is that it can fit into small spaces. However, sometimes you want a wider stair to ensure comfortable and safe use. A larger stair will make it easier to not only walk up and down the stair, but also carry things from floor to floor.

Diameter & Footprint

When you increase the size of your spiral stair, the first measurement that changes is your diameter. The diameter is the overall width of your stair. You can increase your stair’s width in 6” increments. For instance, if you currently have a 4’ diameter stair and you want a larger stair, the next size would be 4’6” If you’re concerned about the amount of space a larger staircase will take up, you still get the benefit of a small footprint. Your stair’s footprint is simply the amount of space that your staircase will take up. Your spiral stair’s footprint will never be more than a circle or square around your stair. If your stair goes through a hole in the floor, you just have to extend the opening to be 2” wider than your stair. For example, you have a 5’ diameter stair, your stair diameter would be 60" x 60" and the size of the hole in your floor will be 62”x62”. You will need those extra two inches so that your fingers can traverse the stair without being pinched as you walk up and down the stair.

Clear Walking Path

When you increase your stair’s diameter, the individual step size will also increase. Not only does each step become longer, but it also becomes wider. This increase in size gives you a larger surface to step on as you walk up and down the staircase. You’ll gain 3” of walking space for every 6” of diameter added to your stair. To give an example, if you have a 5’ diameter, you will have a 26” walking path. If you increased the diameter to 5’6”, you will then have a 29” walking path.

Upgrading a Spiral Stair to Meet Building Code

It’s common for building code to change over time to meet new safety standards. While a non-code spiral staircase is just as structurally sound as a code compliant stair, building code is in place to ensure the safety of homeowners and their guests. It’s possible that in the time since you installed your spiral stair, building code has changed.

6' Smooth with Code Riser and Wood

The first code measurement is the width of the stair, or the diameter. The smallest diameter that a stair can have to meet code is 5’. The main reason for this measurement is to keep a clear walking path of at least 26”. Your clear walking path is the amount of space that a person can step on to walk up or down the stairs. Your platforms and landings must match the clear walking path of your stair. As they are the entry and exit points of your staircase, it’s important to have a large enough space to safely step to and from the platform. For more details on meeting building code, you can reference spiral stair building code page.

Upgrading a Spiral Stair for Safety

A common question about spiral staircases is if they are safe for regular use, particularly in homes with children and pets. Unlike their ancient counterparts, modern spiral staircases often come with a lifetime warranty of fabrication and are engineered for safety. However, there are always extra safety measures you can take with your stair. Many homeowners are concerned with the gap between steps being wide enough for a foot to fall through. You can design your stair to include full risers that close that gap completely. If you want to leave some open space, you can choose a code riser that only allows a 4” space between the two steps. You can also create a minimal gap between the balusters of your stair. By adding extra spindles on each step, there’s only a 4” gap. You can add more balusters to your stair if you want to close the space as much as possible. If you’re worried about children accessing the stair unsupervised, you can add a safety gates to the top and bottom landing. This will keep the stair closed off from children and pets.

There are plenty of reasons you  may want to replace your existing staircase with a new and updated spiral stair. Whether it's because of your desired design aesthetic or for safety reasons, replacing a spiral staircase is easier than you think. A quick call to one of our consultative designers at (800) 368-8280can help you get started on your new design! They can take you through the different design options and safety considerations to create a spiral staircase that will fit into your vision. Not only can they provide you with new stair pricing in 5 minutes or less, but they're just a call away to help you through the replacement process as well.

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