I'm trying to design a code-compliant (UBC 1997) U-shaped staircase
for a fairly tight space, so I thought I would look at winder
staircases. What I've found is that the 6-inch minimum tread width at
the short end basically means that for a 90 degree turn,
code-compliant winders don't really save any space over just using a
landing. Is this what other people have found, or am I missing
something? A table of my calculations is below.
BTW, how does one make stringers for a winder staircase?
Footprint for effecting a 90-degree turn
10" tread depth (measured 12" in on the winders)
6" minimum winder short edge
Offsets measured from inside corners of steps above and below turn
Steps With Landing Winders
1 (0,0) N/A
2 (10,0) (6,6)
3 (10,10) (10.25,10.25)
4 (20,10) (14.2,14.2)
5 (20,20) (18.1,18.1)
For 4 steps and below, the 6" short edge determines winder size
For 5 steps and above, the 10" tread depth determines winder size
The easiest method is to build a series of platforms stacked on top of each
other. You'll need to rip the boards to the width you need for the riser
height, but otherwise they're just simple boxes.
Then make the straight runs with conventional stair stringers.
I'm not a big fan of winder stairs, the few I have used just don't "feel"
safe, especially if you are carrying an armload of stuff down the stairs.
Other than dividing the landing in half for an extra step up, I would stick
with conventional stairs. Just my personal preference.
Fine Homebuilding had a nice article on "L-Shaped Stairs" several years ago
(1997?) that discussed building winder stairs.
So it's sort of like "Tower of Hanoi", the first winder step is a box
which covers the entire footprint of all the winders, the second
winder step is a box which is smaller by exactly the size of the first
winder step, and so on?
Correct. You would build the first platform, just like you were framing a
landing. Then build your first box on top of that, so that it forms the
next smaller platform, then another on top of that one, till you can revert
back to straight stair stringers.
Depending on how much width you have available, you may be able to frame
the stairs so that you have a straight run up to a landing, turn 90
degrees, have another step or two, then step up to a second landing, turn
90 degrees again, and the final straight run up to the second floor.
You may have a number of options depending on the space available.
I will need to build some stairs to access a garage attic soon, so I'm in a
similar situation as you. My stairs will be "L" shaped, but I'm hoping to
avoid a winder if at all possible.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.