Designing the perfect spiral staircase for your home

The secret of designing a spiral staircase is making the right measurements and complying to the local building codes. There are many things that you need to consider, like the clearance in case of two-way traffic or in case of large items carried on the stairs. Also the foundation needs to be very strong to support the weight of the center pole.

Here are a few tips for designing the perfect spiral staircase:

  1. Search on the internet for the local building codes. Use the necessary requirements to design it only one time. Consider the overall diameter, step height and width, tread size, headroom, landing widths, etc. You need to draw your design to scale.
  2. Next you will need to measure the distance from floor to floor. Then you will be able to determine the total number of steps. For example you can have a distance of 95 inches. Consider the thickness of the steps, lets say 1 inch and the height of the risers 7 inches. Then divide the total height to the total step rise. You can adjust the height of the stairs and alter the landing to change the total number of steps. Remember to keep the headroom of at least 6 feet and 6 inches. The steps shouldn’t be higher than 9 1/2 inches.
  3. The next thing you will need to do is determine the size of the opening at the top of the staircase. For example if the radius from the handrail to the center of the post is of 34 inches, double this distance and then add at least 2 inches. This means a minimum of 70 inches circumference for the opening at the top.
  4. Add or subtract for the attachment method at the poles and the outer handrail to determine the length of each step. There are different ways to attach the steps to the center pole.
  5. Also balusters will need to be installed. The space between them does not need to exceed 4 inches. Also their height should be of 34 to 38 inches. The balusters will sustain the handrail. This also need to be in harmony with the local building codes.
  6. The foundation of the staircase is very important. It needs to be based on the size and materials used for the staircase.


  • you can use computer aided design programs in the design process.
  • take safety precautions and always wear safety equipment when using hand tools.
  • always follow the building codes.
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