The Staircase Experts

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How to Reinforce Wooden Spiral Staircases

Wooden spiral staircases are generally well built, especially when constructed by a decent stair manufacturer. However, if you wish to make some slight modifications to make your stairs last longer, they are relatively easy to do. Modifications will depend on the materials used in the construction of your wooden spiral staircase.

For this project, you will need the following:

  • Drill
  • L shaped brackets
  • Various drill bits
  • Table saw
  • 1-by-8 wood
  • Screws or nails

Step 1: Decide if replacement or reinforcement is necessary

The first step is deciding if a certain staircase needs to be replaced or just reinforced. This is particularly important if it is the only form of access between floors.

Reinforcement is recommended if the staircase is going to be used frequently by several people, or if heavy items are frequently transported through these stairs. Only reinforce a spiral staircase that is in good condition because damaged staircases may have hidden structural weaknesses.

Meanwhile, replacement is recommended if the staircase is heavily damaged or degraded, or if it does not fit your needs. Just remember that replacing the whole staircase can be lengthy and expensive, with some exception for pre-fabricated staircases.

Step 2: Add the risers

Aside from the design, the difference between traditional staircases and spiral staircases is the lack of risers. Risers are the vertical parts that “raises” the thread, the horizontal part a person actually steps on when using the stairs. If you want, you may add risers to your wood spiral staircase.

Risers can help distribute the weight and reinforce the threads.  Make sure that the wood you will use for the risers are strong enough to support a person’s weight and fit the overall design as well. Be mindful to follow building code regulations as risers should not exceed 8 inches so buy a 1-by-8 wood. Using your table saw, take that measurement and cut the 1-by-8 wood accordingly. The next step is measuring the length of your tread, taking into account the newel post and cutting the length of the riser. Use screws or nails to attach the risers to the threads.

Step 3: Use L-brackets

This is optional when it comes to reinforcing your wood spiral staircase. L-brackets are exactly how they sound, brackets shaped like Ls. L-brackets can be used underneath each tread where it meets the centre pole. It can help keep the thread firm and in place. You can also place an additional L-bracket where the tread meets the newel post to reinforce it on both sides. These brackets can be used with or without the addition of risers.

Step 4: Upkeep

After replacement or reinforcement is done, stairs usually don’t need regular maintenance. However, it is still a good idea to check the state of the stairs from time to time. Make sure that all screws used in balusters, newel posts and the centre pole are all screwed in tight. Handrails should be secured to the balusters. In addition, don’t forget to double check each part just in case you missed any wobbling, creaking or squeaking parts.


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This entry was posted on January 13, 2014 by in Guides and tagged , , , , , , , .
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