When you need to connect two or more floors in an apartment, you’ll always have to make a choice between spiral stairs or a winding staircase. Interior stairs are very important because they can enhance or completely ruin the aesthetic quality of an apartment, whether it is a loft or studio.

We will take a look at different characteristics of spiral staircases and compare them to those of winding stairs, to try to avoid making a choice that you’ll end up regretting.

Distinction between useful tread width and actual clear width

The width of the tread is different from the clear width, and is one of the most important parameters to consider when making the choice between spiral and winding stairs.


winding staircases


The clear width of regular stairs

The width of the tread is what is usually found in catalogues and indicates, as you might imagine, the width of the tread. The clear width, however, is the space that you actually have available for us

e. In the case of winding stairs, the clear width is calculated as the width of the tread that’s within the handrail, plus the distance to the wall:

Clear width of winding stairs = (width of tread – size of handrail) + distance to the wall


spiral staircase


The clear width of spiral staircases

The clear width of spiral staircases is calculated by subtracting the size of the handrail and the bulk of the central column from the radius of the spiral staircase itself:

Clear width = radius of spiral staircase – handrail dimensions – radius of the central column

The importance of the going of the stair

Generally the going of the tread in a winding staircase ranges from a minimum of 21-22 cm to a maximum of 26-30 cm depending on the model. In a spiral staircase, however, the going is usually 22-24 cm .

For a functional choice, one should also bear in mind that the rectangular shape of the treads in a winding staircase affords consistency of going on either side and at the centre of the tread. A spiral staircase, however, has a much smaller going on the inside of the tread than that which is found at the optimal point of passage.

Rise and comfort of the stairs

The rise is a parameter that allows you to calculate the comfort of a stairway. The lower the rise of each tread, the less tiring it will be to climb the tread. The rise of spiral staircase treads varies between 20.5-21 cm and 23-24 cm, while winding treads can sometimes even have a rise of less than 17 cm .

In conclusion

From an aesthetic point of view, spiral staircases have a special charm, and can lend individual and highly desirable style to the surrounding furniture. Compared to winding staircases, spiral staircases also take up less space, and for this reason they are particularly well suited for small rooms.

Winding staircases are more suitable than spiral staircases in instances where the stairway will be required to carry a large volume of “traffic”.


winding or spiral


It’s definitely easier to carry an Ikea sofa up a winding staircase than a spiral one, but it is equally true that if the trip up the stairs is not so challenging, the result isn’t as great…so maybe the charm, utility and small footprint of spiral staircases make them truly irresistible and worth the extra work.