Home Remodel Tips: Converting Stairs to 180-degrees

Every home built with more than one storey will need the inclusion of a staircase. The most decisive factors that determine the type of staircase are home’s design, the budget and the amount of space available. 

The easiest to build is the straight staircase which runs directly from one floor to the next. However, even though more difficult to build, the safest and most space saving is the 180 degrees staircase. 

What is a 180-degrees staircase?

Also known as a winder staircase, the 180-degree staircase makes a 180-degree turn-up toward the next level because of the addition of a landing at some point.  This is one of the best types of staircase designs for an entryway and when combined with a mid-point landing it is the most space efficient. 

To make 180-degree staircase more appealing, winding stairs can be added to any point along them; top, middle or bottom. These landings create space around their inside turns and can be used for an elevator installation or left as a double height for a more spacious feel to the home. 

Winder staircases can give a home a grand appearance, save space, and are far easier to walk up. They have the added safety feature is that the winder helps to break a fall. 

The landing in this type of staircase creates other design possibilities like the inclusion of a window, display area or seat. 

Inspiration for 180-degree staircases

Interior designers or architects can offer some wonderful ideas to homeowners who are building or making improvements to their home.  A well designed 180-degree staircase is an attractive feature for any home.

  1. Wooden Staircase

Wooden staircases can be built in the traditional way, with stately square or curved newels at the bottom of the staircase. For an even grander appeal, they can be carpeted. 

Modern designs of wooden staircases can include wooden treads with a wrought iron spindles and balustrades in the metal color of the homeowner’s choice.

  1. Metal Staircases

Minimalistic or contemporary homes usually opt for metal slat stairs in a winder design. These often don’t have risers but open spaces. The stairs can be made of metal for a more industrial look, but hard wood also looks good on them. 

These staircases give homes an uncluttered and spacious feel. 

Appealing balustrades, risers and railings 

The correct choice of balustrades and railings is important for finishing off the 180-degree staircase perfectly. Besides their aesthetic effect they also need to be functional. 

In many contemporary homes the staircase is sometimes built without visible stringers, railings or balustrades giving it a floating look. Cleverly the designers create the metal beams or stringers as the supporting material with the double purpose of a hand rail. Risers can also be imaginatively created by using materials that add to the contemporary feel of the home. Where spindles and railings are used, there is a huge choice of steel designs and colors available. Steel is not only preferred in rods but as cable too. Glass can look very effective in a contemporary home too, and makes a beautiful combination with metal. 

The options for combining spindles and balustrade for more traditional staircases are definitely far more. Here the homeowner can choose between steel, wrought iron and wood (a popular choice). 

Designs can be laid out vertically or horizontally, combining the spindles with the balustrade in an appealing finish. 

Building codes for staircases

Safety is paramount when building staircases and even though there is a national building code this has not been adopted by all local authorities. Anyone planning on building or remodeling their staircase has to check with the local codes of their area and get approval. The builders or architects can help with this and they usually know the building codes. 

Since steeper staircases are known to cause more accidents, the most adopted and practices standards for straight staircase building are the 7- to 11-inch.  That means that risers must be a maximum of 7 inches and the tread a minimum of 11 inches in depth. Some codes have a 9- to 10-inch tread depth at a point 12 to 14 inches from the narrow side for turning and spiral staircases. 

Not all building regulations are the same – so checking with your local building authorities is always suggested before buying staircase accessories. 

Final Word

The 180 degree staircase is the perfect choice for the homeowner who is faced with a smaller space for a staircase, but who also wants to add an attractive feature to the home. It is definitely easier and more interesting to climb than a straight staircase while it also has the added safety factor of breaking any falls. 

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