How to Build a Spiral Staircase
A spiral staircase is built in such a way that each of its step is supported by brackets that are attached to a pole at the center. This structure is particularly good when the available space for building a staircase is very limited. Generally, an outdoor staircase is built to access a deck and the indoor ones for a loft within the house. Some people also opt for a spiral staircase because of its great look which enhances the overall home decor and has got a nostalgic feel associated with it. Metal staircases are made of either wrought iron or steel and are more popular because of their sturdiness.
Planning and Preparation
You need prior permission from the local authority in your area to build a spiral staircase in your house. Therefore, the first step to implement your plans is to complete the necessary formalities and obtain the required permit from the concerned authority.
Next, you have to figure out the exact location where you would like to put up the stairs in your house. Though the wall plays a major role in adding strength, the central pole should not be positioned anywhere too close to the wall. Otherwise, you will face a lot of difficulty to get the turn during installation of the staircase. Another important aspect is that the staircase should be set at such a place where there is sufficient headroom. Keep in mind that the usual norm is that a headroom of 6 feet 6 inches should be there at the top stairs.
Take the accurate measurements of the height and diameter of the staircase. You have to include 2 inches of space from walls and the floor of the stair steps for the handrails. If required, take the measurements twice as you cannot afford to make any mistake. While calculating the tread height, the width of the area outside the steps has to be taken into account.
You can purchase a DIY (or do it yourself) kit from the manufacturers after selecting the right design from their catalogs. The kit has all tools and materials that are needed for construction of a spiral staircase. It consists of - a sturdy pole for the center of the staircase, steps and brackets that need to be attached to the central pole with the help of a circular clamp. The clamp consists of a brace to which the stairs are rested upon. The stair is further strengthened with the support of the nearby wall. Even if you do not have prior experience in building staircase, you can carry out this task without any difficulty by referring to the manual provided with this kit. The main steps are as follows:
Prepare Stair Treads and Risers
Begin the process by cutting all the stair treads at a time in
any specific pattern of your choice. The minimum length of each of the treads should be of 36 inches so that one can climb the stairs comfortably. Make sure that their width is 4 inches and not more than that. This will give a smooth gradation to the flight of steps. Similarly, cut all the risers each with a width of 4 inches.
Installation of Pole at the Center
The next step is to install the center pole into the floor on the baseplate provided with the kit. Place the baseplate on the designated area of the floor on a leveled surface and fix it onto the ground. The length of the pole is equivalent to the height of the upper level step from the lower floor. The entire weight of the staircase comes on this pole and it should be strong and steady enough to bear that pressure. Therefore, you have to secure it properly to the ground or else it will keep moving to and fro. To make it safer, the upper end of the center pole can be fixed up with the help of a plumb bob.
Installation of Treads and Risers
First of all, the topmost step of the spiral stair has to be affixed with the top of the central pole near the opening of the loft. Then you can proceed towards installing the remaining lower steps. This technique will ensure that there is adequate headroom at the upper entrance and you can adjust the position of the rest of the steps according to availability of space. Place the top step on the brace and fasten it properly to the pole with the help of the screws. Install the following treads in the same manner. Then slide the risers vertically in between two treads. This will add more stability to the treads of the staircase. In order to maintain a uniform space in between two steps, circular spacers are inserted over the circular pole.
Installation of Hand Railings
Hand railings are a must for the spiral staircase as it provides adequate vertical support to a climber. Installation of hand railings is a bit tricky task. People without proper carpentry skills may find it difficult. To avoid any kind of hassles, it is better to buy those railings that are specifically designed for spiral staircase. Manufacturers of such railings provide instructions for its installation. Go through the guidelines carefully and install the hand railings accordingly. You should start installing the handrails from the bottom and move to the top.
Before I conclude, I would like to tell you that the procedure for building up a spiral staircase outdoors is more or less the same as indoors. Rather, it is easier to build it outdoors as you do not have to worry about the headroom in an open area.