Staircases look pretty simple, don’t they? Vertical boards and horizontal boards nailed to a form, and voila! In fact, building stairs is much more complicated than it looks.
You must be very precise in your measurements and calculations. Remember the phrase, “measure twice, cut once”. Well, with stairs, you might want to measure three or four times and calculate at least twice before cutting.
Technically, it’s really not a difficult task to build a short set of stairs for your do-it-yourself project, but it is challenging to get it just right.
Consider local building requirements
Before beginning to build your stairs, whether it’s for a deck, porch, or shed, you must check with your local building requirements. Municipalities have strict guidelines for step building, because they must be built safely. Do not skip this step!
Staircases are made of three basic parts.
1) Stringers– The framework of the staircase is its stringers. The stringers are boards cut in the shape of the stairway if you were looking at it from the side. This is a crucial piece to have cut right. You may be able to find it at your do it yourself store in the right size and save yourself a lot of hassle and time.
Having the correct stringer is the basis of building stairs. It will determine all aspects of the size of the stairway, including the rise (height of each step) and the run (depth of each step, front to back). For standard steps, you’ll need three stringers. One will go on each end of the steps, and one will run up the middle.
2) Risers – Risers are attached to the front of the stingers. They form the vertical portion of each step, also known as the rise. Many people install outdoor steps, on decks and such, without risers, but that’s not a good idea. It’s easy for people’s feet to slip through and may pose a danger to children and pets. In addition, risers can protect the framework of the stairs from the elements. (see google slides)
3) Treads – The horizontal portions of the stairs are the treads. These are the pieces you step on, and they are the last piece you install when you are building stairs.
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