Learn more about your new spiral stair kit and how to troubleshoot common issues during assembly and construction with our FAQ below. If you still need assistance, please feel free to contact us today.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Are there any special building code requirements to consider when installing a spiral stair kit?
There is no simple answer to this question as different areas have different building code requirements. Many areas follow IRC/IBC codes or variations of the IRC/IBC code. Other areas do not follow any building code in regard to spiral stairs. We recommend that you contact your local building inspector to find out what code applies to your area and how that code is interpreted. Spiral Stair Warehouse has 5’0″ and 5’6″ diameter spiral stair kits available for order from this website to meet all building code requirements. Call us at 1-877-782-4779 for more information.
- Is there any welding involved in the installation of the stair?
Absolutely not, our stairs are designed to install using just a few simple hand tools.
- What measurements do I need to order a spiral stair kit?
Depending on where you plan to install your spiral stair, there are two critical measurements for ordering.
First, you need to measure finished-floor to finished-floor height. For the base of the stair, that’s easy. For the top of the stair, you can’t just measure to the ceiling height. If you’ve already cut your well opening, simply measure to the top of the opening, including finished floor. If you have not yet cut your well opening, you must factor in the height of your rafters, subfloor (usually 3/4″ plywood) and the thickness of your finished floor (wood, tile, carpeting, or other).
For standard, square “through-the-floor” installations, the second measurement that you’ll need is your proposed well opening. Your finished well opening must be 2″ larger overall than the diameter of the stair you plan to install. Remember, this is a finished measurement, so please factor in the width of any wood, drywall, or other finishing you plan to use to complete your well opening.
- How do I calculate my riser height?
The paperwork included with your order will have the riser height on it, but you will want to double-check just to be safe. First, you re-measure your finished floor to finished floor height. Then take that number and divide it by the number of risers you have (treads plus your landing). The result is your riser height. For example, if you have a finished floor to finished floor height of 108 inches and have a 12-riser stair, your riser height would be 9 inches. Please refer to the installation manual for more information.
- I set my risers to a height of 7-1/2 to 8 inches like a straight stair, but I am short on treads. How come?
Remember, spirals are not straight stairs; they require higher riser heights to work, typically in the range of 8-7/8 to 9-1/2 inches. Please check your paperwork or refer to the instruction manual that came with your stair to determine the proper riser height for your stair.
- Do I have to make an allowance for my riser height if I will be using optional oak tread coverings?
Yes, simply drop your landing the thickness of the wood covering from the upper finished floor. Then use your normal riser height, which you figured by dividing your finished floor to finished floor height by the total number of risers (treads plus landing), for the entire installation. When you get to the bottom tread, you will find that the distance from that tread to the floor below is short the same thickness that you dropped your landing above to allow for the wood coverings. This will allow you to add the wood coverings to all the treads and landing while keeping the riser heights correct.
- How come the optional oak tread coverings do not go to the end of the metal tread?
The oak tread coverings are wider than the metal treads to provide additional tread depth; we then leave the length short to greatly ease installation of the main spindles and the in-between spindles.
- Can I alter the rotation of the treads so I can enter or exit the stair wherever I would like?
No, the treads will always rotate their set amount. For this reason it is very important that when you order, you plan the layout of your stair and how it would fit into your setting. If you are unsure, please call 1-877-782-4779 and consult with our salesperson.
- Why do I have one less tread than the amount of risers that I ordered?
The amount of risers indicates the amount of treads plus the landing platform. For example, a 13-riser stair is comprised of 12 treads plus the landing, the 13th riser.
- Which set screw do I tighten first to level the tread?
Tighten the top two set-screws first and level the tread with the bottom two. Please refer to the installation manual for more information.
- Can I stand on the treads below while I build my spiral stair kit?
No, you cannot. It is not safe to use the stair until all steps of the installation have been completed. You should use a ladder when working on the upper treads from the floor below.
- Do I install the in-between spindles before or after the handrail installation?
The in-between spindles are installed after the handrail is installed.
- Do I put the spindles in the top, middle, or bottom of the slot in the treads?
Most often the position is determined by your riser height. Otherwise, it does not matter as long as you maintain the same location for all of your spindles. This is done by measuring down from the top of the spindle to the nose of the tread to determine the height of the spindle above the nosing; this is the height that you must maintain throughout the installation. Please refer to your installation manual for more information.
- Why does the optional aluminum handrail have bumps on its ends?
The bumps are from the manufacturing process of the rails. Don’t worry, as we always provide the handrails long and as part of the normal installation process the excess is cut off, leaving the handrail bump free.
- What should I use to attach the aluminum end caps to the optional aluminum handrail?
Masking tape can be wrapped around the portion of the end cap that is inserted into the rail end to adjust for a better fit. You can also glue the end cap into the rail end with clear silicon.
- The sheet metal screws that are connecting my polyethylene handrail to the spindles have stripped in their holes. What can I do to fix this?
You should not be using the sheet metal screws with the polyethylene handrail. You have to use the toggle wings and bolts supplied with the rail for installation. Please refer to your installation manual for more information.
- I plan to attach the spiral to a loft, are there any other measurements needed for this application?
Obviously, for a loft application, you do not need a well opening measurement. However, you should make sure that you have enough room for the entire stair (diameter) at the location you plan to install it. One easy way of doing this is by marking off an area on the floor (with masking tape) with the same diameter as the stair.
- I plan on installing my spiral stair outside from a deck. Are there any special considerations?
Spiral Stair Warehouse kits are ideal for decks and outdoor applications. In most environments, our metal can be installed outdoors by replacing our standard hardware with stainless steel hardware. We recommend you order stainless steel hardware — otherwise, standard interior hardware will be shipped. For ocean, lake, and other waterfront environments, and for any ocean-area setting, we have made to order all aluminum stair kits. Our optional Oak Treads are not suitable for outdoor use. Please contact us for additional information.
- I'm installing my stair outdoors from my deck to my lawn. What type of footing is required for the stair?
For the center pole you will want to pour a concrete pad measuring 18 inches square, 36 inches deep or below your frost line — check your local code for requirements. For the starting plate on the first spindle another pad is required or you may simply leave the spindle long and let it run into the ground.
- My stair mounts up to a balcony. I was provided a landing railing for one side of my landing. How come I do not have a rail for the other side?
In most situations our stairs are mounted through a well opening, which does not require a second railing on the landing. When mounting a stair up to a balcony or loft we offer an optional Balcony Landing Railing for the other side of the landing as an extra cost accessory.
- What can I do if I broke a screw off in the adjustable top of a spindle?
Please call us toll free at 1-877-782-4779 and we would be happy to send you a replacement free of charge.
- Can I use a round well opening?
Yes. The same 2″ rule applies as with the standard square opening. Also, you will need to order a special round landing. Call 1-877-782-4779 for details since you cannot order a round landing directly from our website.
- How do I drill concrete for the installation of my base plate or starting post plate?
Use a 3/8-inch masonry drill bit and drill 1-1/2 inches deep, then insert cement anchors and secure with the 5/16 inch x 1-1/2 inch lag bolts provided.
- Do I have to use the 60° landing that comes with the 5'0" and 5'6" CODE spiral stairs?
Our code-conforming Spiral Stair Kits are designed so that they maintain a minimum headroom of 6’6″. The 60° landing is utilized so that you gain an additional riser height before walking under the landing, thus gaining additional headroom without unnecessarily high risers. If you are willing to accept a slightly higher riser height, very often we are able to accomplish this minimum headroom rule by utilizing one less tread and a 90° landing. Call 1-877-782-4779 to special-order the 90° landing kit.
- How come the rail end brackets won't fit into the landing rail or well rails?
Due to tolerances during the manufacture of the tubing, occasionally the inside diameter is slightly small so that the brackets will not fit. DO NOT HAMMER THE BRACKETS IN, AS THEY WILL BREAK. Simply file the end of the bracket until it fits smoothly.
- I can't get the shipping labels off the center pole. How do I remove them?
The shipping labels can be removed with hot soapy water or WD-40. But the easiest way is to simply sand them off since the stair only comes with a primer coat and has to be painted anyway.
- How long will delivery take?
Spiral Stair Warehouse will ship your spiral stair kit directly to your door. Delivery times can vary, but a general rule of thumb is 2 – 3 weeks from the date your credit card payment is verified.
- Why is the trucking company asking for a delivery fee?
They shouldn’t be! When shipped, Spiral Stair Warehouse stairs are sent prepaid, which means all charges and services have been paid in advance. If you are presented with this problem, please call us toll free at 1-877-782-4779 while the trucker is still at your location. DO NOT REFUSE THE SHIPMENT. We will straighten out their misunderstanding for you.
- Do I have to be here when my stair is delivered?
All Spiral Stair Warehouse stairs are shipped by common carrier for residential tailgate delivery with a notifying phone call. The delivering trucking company will call you once the stair has arrived at their terminal so that they may arrange a time of delivery with you. If no one is home the first time a prearranged attempt is made to deliver your order, and the trucker has to make a redelivery, you may be asked to pay a redelivery charge.
- Will the delivering trucking company carry the stair into my house?
All Spiral Stair Warehouse stairs are shipped by common carrier for residential tailgate delivery. This method of shipment requires the trucker to deliver the stair to the end of their truck at your location. The trucker is not required to unload the stair or bring it into your home — this is your responsibility. In most cases the driver will help unload the stair, but you need to be prepared for the delivery, which will involve carrying the pieces off the truck and into your home. If you would like the stair lowered off the truck for you, or delivered into your home, this can be arranged with a Spiral Stair Warehouse salesperson as an optional handling service.
- Are there any special spiral stair kit ordering considerations I should make for children or pets?
For small children and pets, Spiral Stair Warehouse recommends that you order and install in-between spindles. Our 5’0″ and 5’6″ diameter CODE stair kits come standard with triple in-between spindles, which provide less than a 4″ spacing between verticals. We also have a Diamond Plate Tread option available to help prevent skidding. In addition, you may want to use a gate at the top of the stair. Of course, as with any staircase (straight or spiral), you should never leave small children unattended on or near it.
- How long does assembly take? And do I need a contractor to help me install my spiral stair kit?
Installing a stair kit from Spiral Stair Warehouse is a two-person job. For the typical do-it-yourselfer, the stairs can be installed without the help of a contractor. However, we do recommend that everyone (experienced or not) consult a qualified contractor for cutting and framing the opening. The contractor will help identify whether any additional structural support will be required, and he or she can reroute pipes and electric lines.
For two do-it-yourselfers, our 3’6″, 4’0″ and 4’6″ diameter stairs can usually be assembled in about one full day. Our 5’0″ and 5’6″ diameter CODE Metal stair kits take slightly more time to assemble — we estimate two days for complete assembly. All you will need are basic hand tools and an electric drill.
Before installing your spiral stair kit, we strongly recommend that you read through the entire installation manual. Then refer to it again during setup. This will help you visualize the entire process and identify potential difficulties up front. And if you are able to read through the instructions during business hours (M-F 9am -5pm ET, Sat 9am-1pm ET), you can call Spiral Stair Warehouse during your read-through for assistance. This will prevent you from running into a problem while installing your stair kit during the weekend, and being forced to stop.
- I want to paint my spiral stairs. Should I paint them before or after assembly? Should I use any special paint or finish?
We recommend that you paint your spiral stair after assembly. This will prevent scratches that could occur when you are installing and positioning the treads. You should use an oil-based enamel paint. Do not use a latex paint. Also, consider the application of the stair when choosing your paint. For example, exterior stairs should be painted with oil-based enamel paint that contains a rust-inhibiting additive.
Primed stairs should be painted after assembly. Galvanized stairs must weather before painting. Once weathered, contact your local paint store for the appropriate primer and paint for surfaces that have been galvanized. For exterior stairs, three coats are recommended for rust protection.
For the first coat of paint use a two-inch-wide roller with a tight nap and roll the entire stair. You will notice that there are certain areas that you will not be able to get to with the roller. For these areas use a one-inch angled brush and apply enough coats to cover. Then go back with the two-inch roller over the entire stair with enough coats to cover.
- Can I paint the black polyethylene handrail that was included with my stair?
Sorry, but the polyethylene handrail will not hold paint sufficiently. If you want to paint your handrail, you need to order the optional aluminum handrail which can be painted.
- How do I paint the optional aluminum handrail?
First, sand the aluminum handrail with #000 steel wool and wipe the handrail down with rubbing alcohol to clean the handrail. Follow up with one coat of an etching primer. Then finish off with two coats of a quality oil-based enamel in your choice of color.
- What should I use on my optional oak tread coverings to seal them?
We recommend three coats of an oil-based polyurethane on the top of the treads and two coats on the bottom (the side mounted to the metal tread). First, lay out all the treads so that the grain runs in the same direction. Then sand any marks clean and use a tack cloth to make sure the treads are dust free. Apply the first coat with a mixture of 50% polyurethane and 50% mineral spirits. When dry, sand treads smooth with a 400-grit sandpaper and tack cloth again to clean treads. For the following one to two coats use the polyurethane at full strength, sand and tack between coats, do not sand after the last coat of polyurethane.
- How can your spiral stairs use up to a 9 1/2-inch riser while my code only allows a height up to 8 inches?
Under the various building codes, spiral stairs are allowed up to a 9-1/2 inch riser height so that they may maintain a 6’6″ headroom while walking down the stair. Most likely you are simply looking up the code for a winder or curved stair. Please remember, under almost all codes there is a separate code for spiral stairs.
- I'm located in California. What if my building department or inspector asks for an ICBO number?
To our knowledge, there are no stair manufacturers that have ICBO numbers on their staircases.
Spiral Stair Warehouse has the City of Los Angeles Standard Plan 111 for UBC Metal Spirals available. Call 1-877-782-4779 to request a copy.
- What if something goes wrong?
By reading the instructions before assembling the stairs, you should identify any problems before you start installing. However, if you run into a problem, simply call Spiral Stair Warehouse at 1-877-782-4779. Our experts can help you with almost any problem that may arise during assembly. Our kits are all quality-checked before shipping to ensure that you get all of the right components. What’s more, all of our stair kits are guaranteed for five years from the date of purchase.
We stand behind our stairs. If you ever have a problem with your spiral stair kit from Spiral Stair Warehouse, call us and we will work with you to remedy the problem.
- What if I lose my Installation Manual?
Call 1-877-782-4779 to request a replacement copy. In the near-future, our installation manuals will be available on our website for downloading as Adobe Acrobat PDF files.