Woodworking Plans

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Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Circular stairs are attractive and space saving.

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

Circular stairways have the advantage of requiring less floor and wall space than their more traditional counterparts. From a do-it-yourself builder''s where the advantage ends. For a traditional staircase, calculating the rise and distance is a simple task. So is determining the width, height and depth of the risers and treads. The math gets a bit more difficult when you twist these factors into a spiral and throw in wedge-shaped treads.

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Determine the location of the top and bottom steps. A circular stairway needs to rotate about 360-degrees between floors to provide adequate head clearance. Pay close attention to the stairway''t a practical idea but this method makes it the 1 last update 2020/07/09 easy to get a rough idea of how to get close to the riser height you want. Once you get close, divide the height by the number of steps to get the exact answer. In this example, 108 inches divided by 15 steps gives an individual riser height of 7.2 inches.Determine the location of the top and bottom steps. A circular stairway needs to rotate about 360-degrees between floors to provide adequate head clearance. Pay close attention to the stairway''t a practical idea but this method makes it easy to get a rough idea of how to get close to the riser height you want. Once you get close, divide the height by the number of steps to get the exact answer. In this example, 108 inches divided by 15 steps gives an individual riser height of 7.2 inches.

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for 4

Measure the width of the space available for the stairway. The possible width and depth of your treads increases proportionally with an increase of overall width.

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Multiply the available width by pi, 3.14, to determine the circumference of the staircase. The circumference of a 72-inch-wide staircase would be 226.08 inches.

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Divide the circumference by the number of treads to determine their width at the outer edge of the stairway. In this instance, dividing the circumference of 226.08 by 15 gives an outer width dimension of 15.07 inches. The theoretical inner dimension of each tread is zero. The actual dimension is determined by the size and type of the attachment point to the center support.

Things You Will Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Calculator

Tips

  • Consult your local building code enforcement agency for specific requirements in your area.
  • Allow at least 2 inches of clearance between the outer edge of the handrail and the edge of the upper floor when determining the overall width.

About the Author

Finn McCuhil is a freelance writer based in Northern Michigan. He worked as a reporter and columnist in South Florida before becoming fascinated with computers. After studying programming at University of South Florida, he spent more than 20 years heading up IT departments at three tier-one automotive suppliers. He now builds wooden boats in the north woods.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
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