Spiral wood stairs are generally well built and do not need to be reinforced, but if you wish to make some slight modifications to make sure that your wood spiral stairs hold up, they are easy to do. Modifications depend on the materials your spiral stairs were constructed with. This article will outline each type and give tips on how to reinforce every aspect of your wood spiral stairs.
Step 1 - Decide between Reinforcement or Replacement
Since your spiral stairs may be the only access point you have between floors, you need to make sure that you are not trying to avoid replacing stairs that are damaged or in disrepair. Yes, it is possible to reinforce spiral stairs, but if your stairs have significant issues it may be better to replace the entire thing rather than risk an accident. You should only attempt to reinforce stairs that are already in good repair, and you just want to keep them that way. While replacing the stairs may sound extremely expensive, there are many kits you can buy for just a couple thousand dollars that can be assembled in 3 to 4 hours. If you don't need a replacement, then we can continue with reinforcing your wood spiral stairs.
Step 2 - Add Risers
One big difference between traditional stairs and spiral stairs, besides the design, is the lack of risers. Risers are the piece of wood that fits directly underneath each tread, and closes the stair in. If you want, you can add risers to your spiral stairs. The support of the risers can help distribute the weight and reinforce your tread. Make sure when you choose your wood that it matches the color of your current tread. Or you could pick a contrasting color to add a different look. According to the National Building code, a riser cannot be higher than 8 inches. So, you can buy some 1-by-8 wood and just trim down what you don't need. Measure the distance between two treads, from the back edge of one, straight up to the bottom of the other. Take that measurement, and using your table saw, cut the 1-by-8 wood accordingly. Then measure the length of your tread, make sure you account for the newel post, and cut the length of the riser as well. You can use screws straight up from the bottom tread into the riser, and at an angle to attach the riser to the top tread. The only edge that might be seen is the inside edge of the riser, the others are hidden by the treads and newel post, so make sure that edge is finished.
Step 3 - Use L-Brackets
Another option to reinforce your wood spiral stairs is to add some L-Brackets. L-Brackets are just like they sound, brackets that are shaped like Ls. You can use an L-Bracket underneath each tread where the tread meets the center pole. This can help keep the tread 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 - Maintenance
Finally, your best method of reinforcing your spiral stair is maintenance. Whether your spiral stair is a kit, or a do it yourself project, keeping it properly maintained is the best defense. If it is a kit, check that all of the screws for the balusters, newel posts, and the center pole are tight. Make sure that the handrail is secured well to the balusters. You should also make sure you fix any creaking, wobbling or squeaking immediately.