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17 September 2020

Let’s face it. A spiral stair isn’t for everyone. Sometimes they’re dangerous. Especially old ones. They might not even be up to code in New Zealand. Check out your options before you replace your outdated spiral staircase…

7 steps to take when replacing a spiral stair

1. Measure your space

Once a spiral stair is in place, it can be hard to visualise other options. Alternative designs just seem so much bigger than that little old spiral!
An architect or draughtsperson should be your first point of contact and will be able to tell you just how much space you have to work with and what size of staircase is feasible. It might surprise you what can be done.

2. Find out what building consents are needed

Again, an architect or draughtsperson will advise you on what consents are needed
for your location. Otherwise you can always call your local council and ask for their advice – many councils have guidelines published on their website to help you know whether or not you will need a consent.  Access a summary of the New Zealand stair regulations here.

3. Have plans drawn up

Once your professional has drawn up plans for you, you’ll have something tangible to work with. Examine these drawings carefully. Think traffic patterns and impact on the rest of the room. Make sure that the best use is being made of your space.

4. Talk to a builder

They will give you a quote on the building work required. This will include:

    • the removal of the existing staircase and,
    • ensuring that there is a support structure in place for the new stairs.
    • Any other associated building work that might be required to replace your stairs

5. Contact your stair manufacturer.

At this point we can review your plans and provide you with an initial quote.

We can then measure the space, finalise your quote and book time in for the manufacture of your new stairs.

6. Arrange with your builder

Your stair manufacturer will let you know the date when your new stair will be ready. Make sure that builder is all set to remove the old stairway and have the site prepared before the new one arrives.

7. Installation

Your chosen staircase will now be ready to be installed.  We will liaise with yourself or your builder to book this in.


About those tight space solutions for stairways

Are there alternatives to spiral stairs? Absolutely.  And almost always, what you think will only fit a spiral staircase will also fit one of the following four options.

1. Winder stair

Safer and more generous than a spiral stair, winder stairs are still compact enough to fit into tight places.

Instead of a flat landing, turns are made by a series of pie-shaped treads.  For tight spaces these give you a small stair footprint and will usually provide a compliant alternative to a spiral stair within your existing space.

The average diameter for a spiral stair is 1500mm.
The width of a stair tread can be as little as 800mm. This means that the minimum width needed for a winder stair is 1600mm – only 76mm more than a spiral staircase!

Use the space under the stair for storage, a small play area or a sleek home office.

2. Switchback or U-shaped stair

Another layout option to replace a spiral stair, the switchback design can be fitted into small-scale living areas. The two straight sections are joined by a landing – which doesn’t have to be big.  It requires slightly more space than a winder stair so could be a better option for those who require larger steps, or have a bit of extra space to fit a stair into.

Zig Zag Steel Stringer

3. Straight stair

You will use more floor area with a straight stair than with a switchback. After all it takes about 4.5 metres of run to span 2.7 metres between floors.

However, bear in mind that stairs can be built to allow light to flow through them, which means that a small room is not dominated by a bulky-looking stair. And you won’t have signed away the space below the stair. It could house a piano, shelves or again, a small play area.

Timber Feature Stairs and Balustrade

4. Curved stairs

Apart from being a really cool architectural feature, curved stairs can make awkwardly shaped spaces work.  But bear in mind they will often take up more room than a spiral stair, so these are more for serious renovators who are committed to investing in a high end renovation project.

Explore different configurations with an architect in view of utilising your space to the max while you enjoy a lovely stair.

Timber stair with wrought iron balustrade

If you have a spiral stair you’re looking to replace, and have got a set of plans ready for quoting, give us a call at 0800 896 500 or drop us a line by email. We’re here to help.

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