Frequently Asked Questions
Q Do I need Building Control approval for a new or replacement staircase?
A The staircase you choose for your project will need to conform to the current Building Regulations and the Buyer is responsible for ensuring that the staircase is assembled and installed in accordance with the manufacturers instructions, and that the installation complies with relevant Building Regulations and Planning Laws. (See more on the regulations by clicking here.)
Q Can I use the paddle-shaped/spacesaver staircase as my main stair in my home?
A Building Regs only allow the use of the alternate or paddle-shaped staircase to access a single room in a loft conversion. If you are accessing more than one bedroom or, if it is your main staircase, you would need to use a regular (linear or modular) staircase. It is always best to discuss your project with your local Building Control Department if you are considering using the alternate tread staircase.
Q How easy are the DIY staircases to install? How long does it take?
A The DIY staircase kits are designed for straight forward installation and are supplied with full installation instructions and most models have an instruction DVD.
Q Other websites say that the standard spiral kit with 13 risers will suit a floor height of up to 3.05m, but your website says the maximum floor height is 2.86m. Why is this?
A Most of the kit stairs are made in Italy and they are made to suit the regulations for the rest of Europe - which are different from the regs in the UK. This is why the stairs are designed to be installed with an adjustable tread rise but the maximum tread rise for the kit stairs is higher than allowed in the UK.
Q Can I paint the Optima Galvanised Spiral Staircase?
A The galvanised zinc spiral has a slightly shiny, metallic look when new and this will oxidise to a dull grey over time. It is possible to paint it, although this is not recommended by the manufacturer. If you decide to paint it, you should allow the staircase to weather for 12 months approx, then remove the oxidation, apply two coats of metal primer and two top coats. If the staircase is painted, it will need to be monitored and maintained and any scratches or chips will need to be repainted.
Q What size is the concrete pad which we would need underneath the exterior spiral staircase?
A We would suggest that you consider a concrete pad which is the same diameter as your spiral staircase. This will make sure that it supports the base plate plus the fixing point for the leading baluster spindle on the first tread. You may need to take local advice for the depth of the concrete pad to take local climate and frost conditions into account.
Q How do we fix the base plate of the stairs?
A If you need to fix the base plate on to a timber floor, it would be best to replace the concrete molly anchors for similar sized lag bolts, using a drill of the appropriate size.
Q We will be having underfloor heating/floating floor. How should we deal with this?
A You will have realised that you can't install the staircase directly over the top of underfloor heating and will need to leave the heating pipes/elements clear of the staircase area. Apart from the base fixing plate, many of the staircases also require a fixing point for the leading baluster spindle on the first tread, or for the support post below the linear staircases.
Q What choice of landing tread is there for the spiral stairs?
A The kit spiral staircases have a triangular landing tread which will fit into a circular or square ceiling opening and there are no other options. The beech landing tread for the Fusion and Vogue spiral staircases are supplied oversized so that they can be trimmed down for a circular opening. The Optima and Motion spiral staircases have a universal landing tread which can be used for circular or square ceiling openings.
Q Can we choose a different finish on the treads?
A The kit stairs are produced in high volumes using the latest, most streamlined and high tech production processes and are only available with the standard choices - the treads are solid beech stained with a Natural Beech (a light finish) or Beech Light Chestnut (a dark finish). There is no option for any alternative to this at the moment.
Q How do we clean the timber treads?
A Don't use cleaning products containint silicon oils e.g. furniture polish or dust repellent sprays, as they will create a film on the treads which could make them slippery. It is better to use a clean, soft cloth moistened with water to wipe the treads clean.
Q What is the warranty on the staircases?
A The warranty period for the Ehleva and Arke (Fontanot) staircase products is 2 years. However, Fontanot offer an additional one year warranty if you register your product with them.
Q What size opening should we have for a spiral staircase?
A The opening in the ceiling to take the upper section of the spiral staircase should, ideally, be 100mm larger than the diameter of the spiral stair. This is to enable you to use the handrail safely as it rises up through the opening in the ceiling/floor. It is possible to reduce this to 50mm but this would require very accurate placing of the staircase to allow for room for use of the handrail in the correct part of the staircase.
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