Budget modern steel staircase

Hey all you sleek expensive modernist architects with square toed shiny shoes and funny little glasses! Check this out. I designed this very cool steel stair out of stock pieces of steel – two C-channels and a bunch of 1 1/2″ steel angle. Lots of nuts and bolts. Add some stainless steel cable with turnbuckles and there you go! Very Erector Set. No Welding. When it is completed there will be a wooden handrail bolted on and the 2 x 12’s that were bolted in place during constructin get replaced with solid planks of cherry from a tree felled on site. I love the rich patina of raw steel.

see also Stair Porn for a larger photo

Plans are available for this $150. See http://swinburnearchitect.com/wordpress/?p=286


  • Chris @ The New Utah House says:

    Hey Bob, I love this staircase. Wish I could check it out in person. Alas, I’m in Utah, which is a bit of a drive. 🙂

    Any way you’d consider making the plans for these stairs available for public consumption? Even if fee-based? It doesn’t look overly complicated, but the “modern budget” formula would be enhanced by not having to draft something like this up from scratch.

    Keep up the great work.


  • bob says:

    Hi Chris,
    enough people have asked me about them that I really should do something. Perhaps I will put some cad details in .pdf form and put them on my website with a paypal button.

  • Chris @ The New Utah House says:

    That would be fantastic, Bob. Please, please do so. I don’t wanna do mundane stairs in my house! 🙂

    Any hints on what this staircase cost to build?

  • bob says:

    I will figure out materials cost more exactly after the holidays. There was a few thousand dollars in steel, wood and cable. The big cost savings seemed to come in labor. The figure I remember was 2 carpenters 4 days. Although with better detailing the second time around (and third and fourth…) I should be able to streamline that a bit.

  • bkullgren says:

    Having just stumbled on your blog, I, too, am very interested in the details (materials, specs, assembly process, anticipated cost details, etc.) of how to construct this staircase. If you could share that here (or privately on an e-mail to me and others who may have expressed interest, that would be great. Very much enjoyed following your thoughts on this blog ….

  • bob says:

    my aplogies to all who yearn for the cool beauty of this steel staircase. I have been slow to respond due to the popularity of the blog and website and the resulting shower of new work raining down on my desk. I am about to start working on an L shaped version of this stair and I will parallel this work with the standard straight run stair in sketchup for sale on the blog. The original stair had few drawings; we figured it out as we went.

  • bkullgren says:

    Thanks for you reply. I am just as interested, if not more, in a staircase configuration that would be parallel to a wall and have one open railing. And, I am also interested in a straight railing like the one at the top of your staircase for a landing/second floor hallway, etc. Thanks, Bob and much success at your new location.

  • Kirsten levin says:

    Hi, bob. We are building a home in nj and would like to have modern open back steps with railing on a budget. I saw your steps and think they are cool. Can the instructions be purchased? If so, then is it complicated and does it still amount to a few thousand dollars in materials and 4 days of labor with 2 people? Thanks for any assistance you are able to give. Kirsten

  • bob says:

    Hi Kirsten,
    I have plans for one I did that was never built which had an L shaped configuration. There is a sketchup model involved as well. I’m not too up on steel prices at the moment and there is a fair amount of labor. It could probably be done in 4 days with two people. There is no welding but a fair amount of cutting which can be laborious and tiresome. (and noisy)

  • Brad Langtry says:

    Bob, great design.. I have a client that is very interested in having me duplicate this stair case. Can you tell me the size of the c-channel ?
    I’m guessing a c-9×15 or larger. also the size of bolts used too connect treads and angle. I would be willing too pay you for your time!!
    Thanks Brad Langtry

  • bob says:

    I know this was 9″ C channel, not sure what strength. We had a plan to add cross bracing if we needed it but never did. The bolts were 3/8″
    Plans for the original with a few hindsight improvements are available here:<a href="http://swinburnearchitect.com/wordpress/?p=286"http://swinburnearchitect.com/wordpress/wp-admin/edit-comments.php#comments-form

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Robert Swinburne in Brattleoboro, VT on Houzz
Robert Swinburne in Brattleoboro, VT on Houzz


Robert Swinburne Architect, LLC AIA, NCARB, CPHD, DAD bob@swinburnearchitect.com 802.451.9764
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