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What You Need To Know About Spiral Staircases

Since mediaeval times, spiral staircase designs have been used in churches and castles and, for many, they represent a masterpiece of construction methods. Where homes suffer from limited floor space, spiral staircases provide a solution that modern architects use regularly. By comparison with a conventional flight of stairs, which need lots of space space and which can cut out light flow, a staircase based on a spiral design takes up less room and can be relatively open. Despite their long history, spiral staircases suit modern living designs and look set to stay.

Open Plan Living Spaces.

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Contemporary designers, that favor open plan homes, have a problem if the space needs a staircase. If a straight stair well is added to any room then part of the floor space is necessarily cut off, with ‘dead space’ left over beneath it. The continuous eye line of a room can be lost. Worst of all, the staircase can cause shadow. This can really compromise an interior design. However, a spiral staircase, with open steps and a balustrade that can be seen through, takes up less floor space and allows light to pass. Any shadow cast by an open spiral staircase will be much less than a regular flight of stairs.

Exteriors And Fire Safety.

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Spiral staircases are also often used by architects for exteriors for similar reasons that they specify them for open plan interior designs. A spiral staircase can be much less obtrusive than a regular staircase and, as with interiors, will cast less shadow. Sometimes, designers would prefer not to add a staircase at all to an exterior, but fire safety regulations mean that a second exit is required. In such cases a spiral staircase can be the most attractive resolution, combining functionality with aesthetics. If you have to install a fire exit, opt for a spiral staircase.

Wonderful Wood.

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Spiral staircase kits, that are most often made from cast metals and which slot together, are available from a number of manufacturers. However, they do not suit all applications, since spiral staircases are so commonly found in homes with an awkward available shape for stairs or a limited space to install them. If your budget will run to it, a bespoke staircase, constructed by a carpenter or a joiner, in wood will make a real design feature for your home. A skilled woodworker will be able to work in even the tightest spaces to create something to look at as well as walk up.

Mezzanine Floors.

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In homes where you want to create more floor space without extending the property, the addition of a mezzanine floor can be the best way to achieve it. In such cases, being able to access the newly created area can be a headache. A spiral staircase is the obvious way forward, since it takes up the minimum space at both the mezzanine level and the ground.

Modern Cellar Design.

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Nowadays homes with cellars are more popular than ever. Even if you don’t have an extensive collection of wine, a cellar that can be accessed easily from your kitchen, is highly desirable. However, a steep flight of stairs running down from a kitchen is not ideal. Modern designers tend to opt for a spiral staircase design to provide access to a cellar storage space. By using a transparent hatch cover, the staircase remains an integral part of the kitchen’s design, without getting in the way.

The Central Feature.

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Space saving is a great reason to consider installing a spiral staircase. However, even if you have great deal of space to work in a spiral staircase can be a preferred option. Make a feature of your spiral by extending the radius in to a grand sweep rather than a tight turn. Making the amount of turn irregular can be a good idea, too. As most spiral staircases will follow a bespoke design, if used as a central feature, you can experiment with different curves. Why not consider an S-shape? A larger room will allow you to design a less steep staircase, which will make it more user friendly and easier to ascend.

Picture sources: 1, 2, 3&4, 5,6&7.

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Posted in How To, Tips, and Advice on October 19, 2012

About the author

Stefan
Stefan is the owner of Homedit.com – he started the site back in November 2008, from his passion for interior design and decorations and since then the site went from being a simple blog to one of the most popular home design websites on the web right now.

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