Stairs, staircases and steps can very in many different ways. I'm going to attempt to explain how to build a staircase with general staircase information, to make it informational to any size or shape and any "would-be" stair builder.

The most important thing to remember in staircase construction is that each step, weather you have 3 steps or 100 steps, all MUST be the same size (Rise and Run on each step must be the same). This is espescially true in USA and Canada, its against building and fire code for steps to vary in size.

I recommend that anyone building a staircase in there home contact a building inspector to inquire about current and applicable fire/building code. but the basics are (generally):

- All steps must be the same size (the rise and run must be the same on every step)
- Width of each step must be at least 2 feet 8 inches (normal household steps are generally 3 feet 6 inches)
- Maximum step riser hight of 7 3/8 inches
- Minumunm run length of 10 inches
- Steps 44 inches or more wide must have handrails on each side
- Fire code normally says; do not allow stairs to rise more than 12 feet without providing a landing. The length of the landing should be at least equal to the width of the stair tread.

Note: As far as I know "Open Risers" are against code due to safety reasons, I'm confident this is true in homes but check your local code to see... you might get away with it if its outside or in a garage or something.... but I'm not sure. There is some thought that "Nosing Projection" is or will be against code due to tripping hazzard... again check locally if you plan on building "Nosing Projections"

One Final note, I'm going to draw most steps or find relevant pictures online. I will be building Cliffside stairs this summer and will maybe add some pictures then or even a new instructable due to the periles involved in cliffside construction

Step 1: Supplies and Tools


circular and/or hand saw
hammer or drill
tape measure


wood for risers
wood for runs (steps)
wood for risers unless an open riser staircase (see building code)
Screws or Nails

Draw a plan of your steps so you know what your measurments are.
Is that a pic of the stairs to Pilots Monument?
This instructable does not teach somebody how to build stairs. You are supposed to take a framing square and mark the rise and run on it and lay it on the stringers and make the marks for cutting it out. Or better yet use the inexpensive little brass stops that are designed for clamping onto the square that are made specifically for laying out stairs. You are correct in saying that the rise and run should be the same on all the stairs. The L shaped framing square will also show where the cut the top and bottom of the stringers. I'm a professional carpenter and have build many sets of stairs but I couldn't have learned to build stairs with this instructable. One thing that should be mentioned is when cutting out the notches for the treads and risers. You should finish out the cuts with a sawzall, jigsaw or even a hand saw instead of overshooting the cuts with your circular saw to finish them out, like I have seen done by so many carpenters. Many supposedly professional carpenters do this to save time and it severely weakens the stringers and it's just sloppy half arsed work
Very nice ,, thx alot :)
I've gotta build some steps off the back of my deck. I'll do it "to code", but they'll never be used by humans, as our spoiled dogs won't use the ramp I set up for 'em.
Thanks for sharing, I was looking for this some time already and the website you pointed is very usefull too, Now I can put in practice some ideas and renew one staircase in an old house of my., Thanks a lot.
What??? I can see that you have the knowledge of how stairs are built, but I can't even begin to follow your directions on laying out the stringers. And I am speaking as someone who has built a lot of stairs.
Sorry chaoscampbell, I have to agree that this great instructable could use more detail.<br><br>The awesome pictures &amp; diagrams really save the day: if one were to try this project, the text is inadequate.<br><br>Keep up the good work. P.S. I like your loft bed design.
Hi What a fantastic how to site I found the information I needed quick and easy A++++++++++++++ Cheers
Very nice and detailed Instructable. The pictures are <em>great</em>, the details are easy to follow along, nice job, awesome Instructable. +1 rating.<br/>(added to favorites)<br/>

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