Introduction: How to Build Stairs
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
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.
Step 2: The Risers
The most complicated part of building a staircase is making the risers. If you are building an outdoor staircase with no overhead obstructions its gonna be a lot easier, you need only decide on the angle of your stairs, measure and cut away. if you are building a staircase indoors you need to take into account the headroom.
Due to the complication in these indoor staircase calculations I'm going to refer to a free online stair calculator. as well I'll post this detailed diagram.
for uncomplicated staircases and once you have your lenghth and angle calculations this is how you measure and cut a riser.
1. take the board you are using for the riser and measure the angle to the bottom left corner and draw a line.
2. measure your rise height from the line in step 1 to the edge of the board and draw a line.
3. measure from the run length from the rise point 90 degrees and draw a line
See Diagram #2
cut out all the lines drawn and then make a duplicate, and triplicate depending on step width.
Step 3: Notch the Bottom of Riser, Attach the Risers
once you've got your risers you'll want to notch the bottom for a 2x4 if your building indoors to code. This is most easily explained by a diagram. see below.
Now you want to attach the top of the riser to the structure you want to access. place the final rise against the front surface and screw in with hangars. place the second riser the step distance apart and screw in with hangars. place any additional risers in between appropriatly.
Step 4: Make Steps!!!
now that your risers are cut and hung all you gotta do now is put in the step boards. this is nice and easy... cut to the right width, place and screw in moving up the steps to put in the next.
Done and Done