Safety Concerns for Spiral Stairs
Spiral stairs are beautiful staircases that can enhance a home or business and provide an efficient and elegant solution to accessing different floors. However, attention must be given to their design, manufacturing and installation to ensure that they are safe for people or pets that may have difficulty traversing the staircase. People that have difficulty traversing a normal staircase will tend to have more difficulty traversing a spiral staircase. The elderly or anyone with physical limitations, small children, and pets with short legs may have trouble going up and down a spiral staircase.
The difficulty with spiral stairs and why they are sometimes harder to traverse for some people is because typically they have smaller treads and higher risers due to the nature of their design. This makes the spiral stairs a little more daunting to walk on for some people. We advise all of clients who are considering a spiral stairs for their home or business to think about if they have any of these human or pet elements that may have a harder time getting up and down the spiral stairs. For example, if a spiral staircase is the main access for pets to get down from a deck to the lower ground, they probably can do it but certainly pets can be very intimated by spiral stairs and as pets age, they will tend to go up the spiral stairs, but not down.
Another consideration is carrying items on a spiral staircase. For example, if you have a loft in your home with a spiral stairs for access and you have a laundry basket, it is sometimes difficult to traverse a spiral staircase because you want to look at your feet and because the width of a spiral stairs is usually smaller than a regular stair, it is not easy to see your feet.
While there are safety considerations which we advise our customers regarding spiral stairs, the positives generally outweigh the negatives when thinking about adding a spiral staircase to your home or business. You can do a lot with a spiral stairs in a limited amount of space. The goal is to have a minimum of a 5’ diameter spiral stair to allow the easiest access up and down. When you go smaller than a 5’ diameter, an average sized adult will tend to have to walk sideways to get up and down instead of straight. If you have the space, we recommend even going to a 5’6” diameter or even a 6’ diameter. Now you are making the spiral stairs much more accessible for humans and pets and easier for use.
Other approaches we can use to make spiral stairs safer if necessary would be to install outer and inner hand railings. For example, in commercial applications such as a stage in a theater where lighting and sound people need to traverse a spiral stairs to gain access to lights and sound equipment, we will install the inner and outer hand railings for additional safety.
Great Lakes Stair – Creating Successful Spiral Stair Projects for over 33 years!
At Great Lakes Stair we have been designing and manufacturing spiral stair projects for over 33 years! We take a very consultative approach with our customers when taking on a spiral staircase project, our goal is to turn your vision into a reality. We do not produce any base or entry level products; all our spiral staircase solutions range from semi-custom to all custom designed and hand fabricated projects. Remember, one size does not fit all when it comes to spiral stairs. The inexpensive commodity spiral stair market and cheap prices will only lead to problems. We routinely replace commodity spiral staircase kits that were poorly constructed and/or installed by unqualified individuals. Lastly, if it resembles a one size fits all “Erector Set” it typically is.
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