Building stairs is not a very easy task and requires a certain degree of knowledge and expertise. In fact, the process can be quite daunting at the start, even for an experienced builder. Every step needs to be taken accurately and precisely and all the calculations should be done properly. The first and foremost thing that one should be equipped with, while constructing a standard staircase, is ample of patience and determination. One might have to overcome constant failures at the start, before actually mastering the process. However, for your help, we have provided some very simple steps to guide you with the process of building stairs. All you have to do is follow the steps enlisted below, in a methodical manner and you will surely be able to construct the perfect flight of staircase that you have been craving for. So, read on and explore tips on how to build stairs.
How To Construct A Staircase
- Before starting with the actual process of staircase construction, the blueprint or the layout should be created and this can be done either on paper or by using a computer.
- Typically, a stair consists of three distinct parts, namely the tread, the riser and the stringer. Planning for each of these three aspects is very important and will help you get the perfect flight of stairs. The tread refers to the width of the staircase, while the riser is the actual height of an individual stair. The stringer, on the other hand, refers to that part of the structure that serves the purpose of providing support to the stairs. Normally, there are two stringers, one on either side of the staircase.
- The term ‘total rise’ refers to the vertical distance from the landing to a point level with the height of the upper floor, while the term ‘total run’ refers to the horizontal length of the stairway, which is measured from the end of the staircase on the landing to the edge of the upper floor.
- Once you are clear with the terminologies and concepts, you can start by actually laying out the blueprint and plan the design for your stairs.
- After estimating the total rise, make a 2 x 4 on the deck. After this, ensure that this level is comparable with a carpenter’s level. This can be done by measuring from the base of the 2 x 4 to the ground.
- Estimation and precise calculation is very important while constructing a staircase. Start by calculating the number of steps and then divide the total rise by the number 7.25. Round your answer with the next closest whole number and this will give you the total number of steps in your stairway.
- It is vital that the number of treads is one less than the risers as, while going up or down the stairway, the last step is either the deck surface or the ground. The standard tread width is around 11 inches. This gives you a total of 11 inches (individual stair width) multiplied by 8 (total number of treads), which equals to an overall 88 inches run.
- Estimating the exact height of the risers is very important, prior to the layout of the stairs on the stringer. The exact number of the individual risers can be determined by dividing the total rise by the total number of risers.
- Make use of a framing square to lay the stairs on the 2 x 12 stringers. Next, using the numbers on the outer side of the square, make a mark along the long arm with a piece of masking tape at about 11 inches and the shorter arm at around 7 1/8 inches. This will give you the rise and run estimations.
- Align the long end of the framing square in such a way that it is positioned towards the end of the board. After this, line up the two marks with the board edge facing you and mark the outline of the square.
- Slowly slide the framing square to align with the markings at the top and then mark the notch again. This process of marking and sliding up the length of the stringer should be continued for the entire length.
- The next step involves cutting and adjusting the positioning of the stringers. Carefully trace the marked lines made earlier, with the help of a circular saw and stop the cut just before the corner mark. Finish the remaining of the cut with the help of a handsaw.
- To ensure that all the calculations and alignments are perfect, test-fit the first stringer made in place. If the computations made are perfect, you can use this stringer as a template for marking and constructing the other stringers.
- Once all the stringers are made, the last and final step involves putting all the stairs together. Using nails or joist hangers, connect the stringers to the deck framing.
- While installing the stair threads, start from the bottom and fasten them together using 3" nails or screws.