Graphical Construction Glossary >> stairs. >> general >> Stair Winders

Stair Winders
Radiating steps, narrower at one end than the other.
Kite Winder
The central winder in a quarter turn of windings steps. Named for it's shape.

stair winders in a quarter turn

The sketch above shows a flight of stairs ending in a quarter turn with three winders. A quarter turn is 90 deg. and each nosing line should be evenly spaced at 30 deg. to it's neighbour.

  • What you see in the sketch is one fight of stairs, that is the standard treads and the winders together.
  • In terms of regulations (currently where I live), either 2 or 3 winders are acceptable and provided that the rise stays the same as the other stairs they are deemed to satisfy the slope requirements for stairs in general.
  • Quarter turns with 4 or more winders are illegal. These then have to comply with the regulations regarding spiral stairs.
  • In my opinion good stair design should not use winders. The designer should explore every possibility and use them as a last resort. There seems to be a trend of using them as a desirable design feature but in my opinion they are not.
  • If the stair has to use winders then always try to place them at the bottom of the flight, for obvious safety reasons.

Note the strings that I have drawn in the sketch above. The main flight sweeps into a curve at the first winder. It is more work to laminate up a one piece curved string, but it is far stronger than the jointed straight section strings that seem to be the fashion these days.

wall rails

Wall rails are important around sections of stairs that use winders. The slope angle in very steep towards the centre so people tend to walk around them toward the outer edge.

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Please Note! The information on this site is offered as a guide only!  When we are talking about areas where building regulations or safety regulations could exist,the information here could be wrong for your area.  It could be out of date!  Regulations breed faster than rabbits!
You must check your own local conditions.
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