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What is a Spiral Staircase?

By definition, a spiral staircase is a stair that consists of individual steps, or treads, that are connected to a center column. The treads rotate around this central point as you go up or down the stair, creating a spiral design. A spiral staircase shouldn’t be confused with a helical or curved staircase, which have no center column.

Spiral Staircase Design Factors

While that is a simplistic definition of a spiral staircase, there are several factors that go into a spiral stair. These are the height, diameter, and the location of the staircase.

Height
A spiral staircase’s height will define several factors of the design. Obviously, this is the most important measurement for safety reasons. You want to ensure that your stair’s top platform will be even with the floor. This measurement will also determine the amount of individual steps. To find this, they divide your stair’s total height by the riser height, or space between each step.

Once you’ve found the amount of steps, you can calculate your rotation. Most spiral stairs use a 30 degree rotation. This means that each stair rotates around the center column at a 30 degree angle. To find your stair’s full rotation, multiple the number of steps by your rotation angle. For instance, if you have a staircase with 12 steps, you’ll have a full 360 degree rotation, where as a 9 step stair would only have a 270 degree rotation.

Diameter
A spiral staircase’s diameter can be simply defined as the width of the stair. This is an important factor of the design because it will determine whether or not your staircase fits into your space. The smallest diameter Salter Spiral Stair offers is a 3’6” diameter which then increases in 6” intervals, i.e.: 3’6”, 4’, 4’6”, 5’, and so on. This compact design is perfect for fitting into a small corner or a hard to reach loft. While spiral staircases can be grand and fill entrance halls, they can also be a great alternative to ladders and other unstable stairs. The minimum diameter needed to meet building code is 5’.

Indoor Designs
There are three different types of spiral staircases that are typically used for indoor applications: Classic Steel, Forged Iron, and All Wood. While they are all equally beautiful and structurally sound, they also have their own unique elements to the design.

Our Classic Steel spiral stair is the most flexible design that can fit into a wide range of home design styles depending upon the customization of the stair. Whether you decide to keep an all metal stair, or add solid wood treads and handrail, you’ll have a beautiful centerpiece in your home.

The Forged Iron spiral stair is known for its traditional elegance and ornate detail. Not only can you enhance your design with solid wood tread covers, but you can also choose decorative balusters that come in carefully chosen pattern groups. The details can be simplistic or decorative depending upon your vision for your spiral staircase.

An All Wood spiral stair is the meeting place of traditional design and strength. Our design is solid wood, but has all of the strength that you would find with a metal frame. The softness of the organic material adds warmth and charm to your home design.

Outdoor Designs
The two spiral stair designs most commonly used outdoors are a Powder Coated Aluminum spiral stair and a Galvanized Steel spiral stair. They are both finished with maintenance free barriers, making your initial cost the only cost. While both stairs are made to last in your outdoor space, they fit into different aesthetics.

A Powder Coated Aluminum spiral stair is a stylish option to move from one level of your deck to the next. The lightweight aluminum goes through a powder coating process that finishes the stair with a custom color and weather proof barrier. The clean lines compliment any deck or patio design that you may have in your backyard.

Our Galvanized Steel spiral stair is a cost effective and durable option for your outdoor space. The carbon steel frame goes through a hot dipped galvanizing process that coats every part of the stair, from the individual steps to the handrail and spindle connection. The finished product is a metallic silver finish that gives your stair an industrial look.

A spiral staircase design doesn’t need to be as intimidating as it may seem at the beginning of your research. For further information on spiral staircase designs, you can visit our spiral staircase dimensions and measurements page or call one of our consultative designers. They can help you to determine the best stair design for your space in five minutes or less!

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