How to Build a Spiral Staircase

spiral staircase inside a modern home

If you have limited space and want to create access to a loft or upper floor, a spiral staircase is an extremely efficient solution. Spiral staircases can be purchased prebuilt and installed in a home, or they can be custom created out from iron or wood.


Before you begin installing a spiral staircase, you should first apply for a building permit. In many cases, if you attempt to purchase a kit without a permit, it will not be shipped to you until you can show a valid building permit.

Next you will need to select a set of stairs. You can look at building magazines for ideas and order catalogs from manufacturers or can you find an online source if you want to buy a kit. You can also go to a local wrought-iron artisan to have a custom-designed spiral staircase created specifically for your interior space.

Step 1 - Determine Location

Decide where to install the stairs. Start by cutting a hole in the floor of the second level, or by choosing a spot along the edge of the loft. Do not choose a location that is next to a wall. Doing so will make the installation difficult.

Step 2 - Allow for Headroom

Set the stairs in place so that they have a headroom of at least 6.5-feet.

Step 3 - Measure for Clearance

Measure the height and diameter of the staircase. Include a clearance of at least 2-inches from the walls and the floor for the handrail.

Step 4 - Measure for Tread Height

Measure the outside of the steps to calculate the tread height.

Step 5 - Cut Treads

Cut the treads for the staircase all at the same time using a pattern that you have made. The treads should be no wider than 4-inches. You will be gluing the risers together, so vary the wood grain as you glue the pieces together after you have sanded the edges smooth.

Step 6 - Cut Center

Use a band saw to make the circular cut for the inner center circular cut.

Step 7 - Mount Center Pole

Mount the center pole to the floor. Make sure that it is level and securely attached to the floor so that it does not move back and forth.

Step 8 - Weld Steps to Pole

Weld the top and bottom steps to the pole. Install the rest of the steps and attach them to the pole.

Step 10 - Install Railing

Purchase a railing that is specifically designed for a spiral staircase. It is extremely difficult to build one unless you have special skills as a carpenter or other artisan experienced. Install the railing as directed.

Spiral staircases offer attractive way to access a tight space. If you have high ceilings, you may even find that a spiral staircase will allow you to build a loft in a room where a full-sized staircase is not possible.