Content supplied by British Spirals & Castings

The addition of an external staircase, or replacement of an existing staircase that is dated or may have fallen into a state of disrepair, can change how you think about and enjoy your home.

There are numerous reasons you might think about adding a new external staircase. They can be extremely beneficial to larger properties that could be separated into multiple dwellings as they can allow for dedicated access to each.

For single dwellings, external staircases can also be fitted with balconies to not only add new outdoor spaces to enjoy, but also improve access to the garden area.

If your property has an existing external staircase that is unusable, then a replacement is worth considering as it could add some well-needed kerb appeal (and value) to your home.

London Balcony from British Spirals and Castings

A spiral staircase is a great way to add some character to your home

Do I Need Planning Permission to Add an External Staircase?

It is most likely that you will need planning permission to add a new external staircase to your home, but a quick preemptive check with your Local Planning Authority will help you to determine what the planners allow and what they don’t.

It’s also a good idea to check in with your neighbours to see if they raise any concerns that might also prevent the granting of planning consent (such as the concern of being overlooked which can be easily mitigated with the inclusion of a privacy screen in your external staircase design).

When it comes to Building Regulations, it is stipulated that there must be no gaps greater than 99mm anywhere on the staircase (if you opt for a spiral option).

Consider a Balcony

If you’re adding a staircase it makes sense to consider a balcony as well. These can provide additional space for relaxing or socialising and potentially add value to property.

Should I Choose a Straight or Spiral Design?

Straight staircases can be installed so they sit tight to a wall, but they require a large amount of linear space. In the wrong application, this can lead to obstructed views and blocking of natural light into the home.

Spiral staircases, on the other hand, may project out further from the property, but offer a smaller footprint with less potential obstruction to views and the ingress of light. Spiral designs are also a great way to add some character and architectural interest to a property’s exterior.

London balcony from British Spirals and Castings

A spiral staircase design is a great alternative to a straight staircase that could block views from existing windows

Should I Choose a Kit or Bespoke Option?

Kit staircases provide an option for those on a tight budget and are available in standard sizes. However, most properties will demand a bespoke approach in order to find a suitable design and fit.

With a bespoke design, every element of the design (including pattern, tread size, handrails, spindle design and finish) can be specifically tailored to a homeowners individual needs and their specific property.


Typically, external staircases have a metal structure. Steel provides a functional option, while cast iron is a great choice for more ornate or traditional designs.

Cast aluminium can also be used to mimic the appearance of cast iron, but is lighter (reducing the depth of foundations required and the associated costs), and less brittle than cast iron. Cast aluminium is also a great low maintenance solution as it will not rust.

When it comes to treads, wood is a popular choice but it can prove slippery when wet, and can block natural light from reaching rooms located nearby. Perforated metal treads offer better traction as they allow water to drain from the tread more effectively. Perforated metal  will also allow natural light to reach any windows that may be below or behind the staircases more effectively.

For more information on adding or replacing an external staircase on your home, contact British Spirals & Castings.

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