A spiral staircase is a set of stairs connected in the center by a structural column that is mounted to the floor below and the ceiling above. Each stair radiates from this center column, creating a sturdy platform for moving from floor to floor.
Spiral staircases have been in use for thousands of years. Originally built from stone for use in castles, now custom spiral staircases can be built from a wide array of materials, in just about any size and design imaginable. A spiral staircase can be practical in terms of saving space, but it also provides an opportunity to showcase a unique design element or even be the centerpiece of a room.
The Benefits of Spiral Staircases
A few good reasons to include a spiral staircase in a building include:
- Saving Space: Spiral staircases require less square footage than traditional staircases. Where a traditional staircase requires a long rectangular footprint, a spiral staircase takes up only a square or circular footprint. And, depending on the width of your treads (the part your foot lands on), that footprint can be quite narrow. Spiral staircases can be as narrow as 3 feet, 6 inches in diameter. Keep in mind, though, that if it is the only staircase you have, most codes dictate a diameter of at least 5 feet for fire safety.
- Using Space: Of course, if you have plenty of room, you can make your spiral staircase as large and grand as you want, creating a standalone sculptural piece. While a spiral staircase is usually no more than 6 feet in diameter, your custom creation can be even larger.
- Impressive Style: A spiral staircase takes on a sculptural quality like no other architectural feature. It’s a great opportunity to showcase your décor aesthetic, whether it’s sleek and modern, antique and ornate, or spare and minimalistic. Any component — the center column, handrail, tread, etc. — can be an artistic feature.
- Unique Designs: Spiral staircases can be made from a variety of materials — wood, stone, concrete, metal of any kind. The individual components can be fabricated of a combination of materials to create a one-of-a-kind look.
The Drawbacks of Spiral Staircases
Of course, spiral staircases can present some challenges:
- Transporting Furniture & Other Large Objects: Spiral staircase treads are usually narrower than their traditional counterparts, so moving furniture from floor to floor can be a challenging task.
- Navigation: It can be difficult for small children and the elderly to walk up and down spiral staircases. The treads tend to be narrower and the risers steeper than in traditional straight staircases, so a sure foot is needed. Pets may also have a hard time using them.
The Versatility of Spiral Staircases
If you have your heart set on the beauty of a spiral staircase, but the drawbacks seem too much, consider installing one in a secondary location instead of using it as your main staircase. Spiral staircases work wonderfully for a loft or wine cellar. Or, consider installing a spiral staircase outside to connect a balcony or deck to the ground. The materials and finishes you choose will need to be different for outdoor use, but you will still have plenty of options for a unique look and outstanding performance.
Whether you are interested in a traditional spiral staircase or something more modern, Mid-Atlantic Steel Fabrication can design and expertly fabricate a high-quality staircase to fit any style. Over the years, we’ve worked with architects, designers, and homebuilders to create quality, unique pieces for many staircase projects.
Let our experienced team help you design your next custom spiral staircase project. Contact us today.