How To Build a Staircase

Wonder what you've got going on upstairs? Build a staircase to find out.

Instructions

  • TIP: Be precise in everything. Measure twice, cut once.
  • Step 1: Cut the steps and risers with a circular or table saw. Sand the step edges a little.
  • Step 2: Attach steps and risers to the stringers with 120 long nails or 3-inch wood screws, using a friend to hold things in place and keep your measurements honest; apply wood glue if you want to be extra sure. Now start making the handrail before someone hurts themselves.
  • FACT: The Guinness Book of Records lists Mount Niesen's 11,674 steps in Switzerland as the world's longest staircase.
  • Step 3: Mark the rises and runs along the two by 10 stringers, using the carpenter's square. Allow for the riser thickness for the tread, or stair cuts. Raise this measure for the top one at the floor above, for instance, and lower it for the bottom step.
  • TIP: Codes may require a third stringer for the middle if the stair tread width is 30 inches or more.
  • TIP: Rail and handrail sizes, as well as head room, will be dictated by local building codes.
  • Step 4: Find each individual riser height by dividing 108 by 15, which will indicate a 7 3/16th-inch riser.
  • Step 5: Calculate the total run of the staircase by multiplying the fairly standard 10-inch stair width times 14, since there will be one less tread than risers.
  • Step 6: Start by dividing the height of the landing, including the floor framing thickness of the second floor by seven to figure out how many risers you will need. A nine-foot height would come to 108 inches, which means you need 15 risers.

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