Questions about our Spiral Stairs
What’s included in the price?
Precision Pine interior spiral stair kits include all the parts you need
to build a stair, including the top landing frame and decking, and the
horizontal rails required by the landing. Exterior kits include the landing
frame, but not the decking and horizontal handrails, because owners usually
prefer to match them with their existing deck and railings. All kits also
include the hardware needed to assemble them. Horizontal tread bars to
minimize that open riser space between treads -- to protect small children
or animals, or to meet some building codes -- are provided free of charge
What’s not included in the stair package price?
A packing fee of $70 per stair, and shipping. Shipping estimates from
our facility in Knoxville, Tennessee are available on request. Also not
included in the stair price are the rails you may need to go around your
stairwell or along your balcony edge. Rails to match the landing rails
are available as an optional purchase.
Can you provide stairs off the shelf?
Every stair is different. Its configuration depends on floor-to-floor
height, diameter and orientation (left-hand or right-hand stair). Each
stair must be designed and manufactured to meet the customer’s floor
How long before I get my stair?
Our usual time from taking your order and deposit to ship-out date is
4 to 6 weeks. Remember to add shipping time. Generally shipping takes
five to seven business days to the West Coast and less time to destinations
closer to our plant in Knoxville, Tenn. That time can vary as we juggle
the schedule to suit our customer. As your tentative shipping date approaches,
you may not be ready for the stair. In that case, you may call us and
postpone the date, or temporarily drop out of the schedule. If you do
so, please give us three weeks’ notice when you want to get back
into the schedule.
Can I speed up the delivery time?
It is often possible to change the schedule to accommodate customers in
a hurry. However, we do not promise specific delivery dates -- we do our
best to meet them. If you do want your stair quickly, we may be able to
fit you in the schedule early if another customer wants to delay. We ask
that you work with us to approve your documentation and get it returned
to us as soon as you can.
Do you take credit cards?
We accept Visa, MasterCard, and Discover credit cards. Most customers
prefer to pay with credit cards, which is the quickest method. We also
accept checks. A personal check is fine for the deposit, but to avoid
delay, we ask that your final payment (due several days before your stair
ships out) be made by credit card, certified check or money order. We
can also arrange COD; the shipping company charges an additional fee for
How durable is Southern Yellow Pine?
Southern yellow pine is close to red oak in durability. Southern Yellow
Pine is often chosen over oak for flooring. This is because of its distinctive
grain and warm, rich color. The best pine flooring is made of C and Better
grade pine, the same grade used in Precision Pine stairs. According to
an August 2005 article in Modern Woodworking magazine, “In terms
of its (southern yellow pine’s) strength and durability, it’s
just as durable as a red oak floor.”
Do your stairs meet building codes?
Yes, with the exception of our 4 foot and 4/6” diameter stairs,
whose treads are not large enough for 26” between the handrail and
center column as required by national codes. All our other standard diameters
are set up to meet national building codes. For example, as well as having
at least 26” clearance, all our stairs are designed to have at least
6’6” of headroom and the balusters are less than 4”
apart; the rise is less than 9.5 inches, and the treads have at least
7.5” width, 12” out from the center column. Not all locations
are covered by building codes.
But my building inspector says…
The experience of building inspectors with spiral stairs varies enormously
from location to location. We can provide documentation for you to pass
on to your inspector if necessary. Also, under certain conditions, your
stair may not have to meet local codes (if a spiral stair serves a small
bedroom or loft, for example, or if it is not the only means of egress
in case of emergency). Your building inspector is the only person to make
this determination. Make sure you know where you stand.
Do I need a builder or can I put the stairs up myself?
If you have a reasonable amount of carpentry experience and common tools,
you can put the stairs up yourself. You will need a helper for some if
not all of the assembly. We send you an assembly manual and details of
your stair as soon as the design process is finished. We strongly recommend
that you or your builder read the instructions before taking delivery
of the kit. If the manual leaves you with questions, call us toll-free
at 877-885-8902 before you start installation. Of course, we will also
help you with questions that arise during construction.
How long does it take to put the stair up?
Assembly of these kits is straightforward. At least a general knowledge
of carpentry techniques and tools is required. Many of our spirals are
installed by home owners. Some feel more comfortable to have the work
done by an experienced finish carpenter. At least two people should be
on hand to install the stairs.
The time to build these stairs will vary, depending on the installer’s
speed (whether experienced or not), the size, height and/or complexity
of the stair, and the amount of nearby obstructions (spirals with nearby
walls will usually take longer than spirals built out in the open). Spirals
with balusters under the handrail will require more time than those with
balusters mounted outside the rail.
As a general guide a standard, medium sized stair with minor nearby
obstructions should take about two days for someone who has installed
one of these spirals before. Carpenters without experience with our system
have done the job just as quickly, but often require more time.
To save time the installer should read the assembly manual before starting
the work. Upon request Precision Pine will send customers the assembly
manual well ahead of kit delivery. We are here to answer any questions
before and during the installation.
What’s a good finish for my stair?
We think red oak and pine look beautiful with a couple of coats of a good
quality satin oil-based polyurethane. If you plan to stain your stair
first, test the stain first on a scrap of wood or an area that’s
usually out of sight. Use a good quality stain followed by polyurethane.
You may choose to sand the stairs lightly (220-grit) once they are finished;
if so, do not sand the treads. Sanding may make them slippery.
What’s the difference between styles?
In a nutshell: The Traditional style has a smooth one-piece laminated
handrail and a square center column. The balusters can be put up either
to the side of the treads and handrail, or under the handrail and on top
of the tread. The Smart Spiral is similar but has a block handrail held
together by a steel cable. Balusters go outside the tread and the handrail.
The Contemporary has a deeper handrail and round center column; balusters
go outside the tread. The Charleston style has a round center column and
turned balusters and newels. The balusters fit under the handrail and
on top of the tread. You can mix and match some features as you wish.
For more information, see Photos (link to individual styles)
How much space do I need for my stair?
In general, add 4” to the diameter of the stair you need. For example,
a 5’7” stair fits comfortably in a 5’11” square
stairwell. An exception is the 5’1” stair with balusters outside
the rail, which needs a 5’6” opening. In some cases it may
be possible to work with less room; we are happy to look at your floor
plans to see if you could get by with less space.
Why do I need a landing deck?
You are probably going to need a landing deck because of headroom, especially
as you go downstairs. By going directly under the floor you are likely
to hit your head on the floor as the stair turns. Precision Pine staff
design the stair for you to ensure you have at least 6’6”
of headroom. See Why you need a landing deck.
How do I measure my floor-to-floor height?
The floor-to-floor height is the height of your stair. It reaches from
the surface of the bottom floor to the surface of the top floor. It is
NOT a floor-to-ceiling height. You may have plans that will help you calculate
this amount, but it is advisable to measure once the floor s are installed
--often homes are built slightly different than shown in the plans. You
may be able to measure the distance through the open stairwell. If the
stairwell opening has not been cut yet, drill a hole through the floor
in the area where the stair will go, and measure through it. A rough estimate
is OK to get the project under way, but we need an accurate floor-to-floor
height before the last part of your stair goes into production -- accurate
to 1/8 inch.
Do I count carpet in the floor-to-floor height?
Unless your carpet is very thick, do not include it in your measurement.
The weight of your stair, several hundred pounds, will compress the carpet
below its present level. On the second floor, a carpet is usually not
thick enough to become a tripping point.
Do you make custom spiral stairs?
Apart from our standard diameter stairs, Precision Pine can manufacture
spiral and straight stairs of whatever dimension you require. Custom spirals,
however, are more expensive than our standard sizes. We do not recommend
custom spirals less than 4 feet in diameter -- they are just too small
What is the payment schedule?
A $500 deposit gets your stair into the lineup. It may be made
by credit card or personal check. About a week or 10 days before we ship
out your stair -- before the last part of your stair goes into production
-- you will be asked for the final payment. It may be made by credit card
or certified check; a personal check will slow the process down. COD is
also available, though the shipping company adds a fee for this service.
How the stair is delivered?
Smart Spirals, with block handrails, are usually shipped via
UPS. Other models are shipped via common carrier, which can deal with
the long one-piece handrails. When your job leaves the shop, you will
be given a tracking number and in the case of the common carrier, an 800
phone number. The trucking firm will call you to make sure someone will
be available to receive your stair. If you have a driveway that will not
accommodate a large truck, you can make different arrangements.
A UPS delivery comes in 8 or more packages, each weighing no more than
70 pounds. If you prefer to sign for delivery, please mention this when
you make final payment or before. Otherwise the packages will be dropped
off whether someone is there or not.
A common carrier delivery is usually in three parts: a pallet to which
are strapped 10 or more packages; a long narrow package containing the
central threaded rod; and a strange, corkscrew-like tube containing the
handrail. The tube is braced for additional support. You can cut the straps
on the pallet and take off the packages individually.
Can I store the packages outside until I’m ready to assemble
It is not advisable to store stair parts outside or anywhere where they
can get wet. That includes setting the them on concrete, even if it’s
inside. Moisture will rise and discolor and/or warp your stair parts.
How long does it take for my order to arrive?
Shipping within the lower 48 states takes up to a week; our staff can
give you an estimate of how long it will take to arrive once it’s
shipped. We cannot promise you a delivery date, though we will do our
best to meet your deadline