How to Build Stairs: Step by Step

Building a silent staircase is easy with this guide including planning, geometry, diagrams, and the basics of notching and attaching stringers.

During the planning stages, a chart such as this is invaluable for understanding how stair angle affects tread width and riser height as well as the placement of handrails.
Considered closely, the stairs in your home can change from a taken-for-granted utility to an impressive display of planning and execution.
Open-Tread Stair
The simplest open-tread stairs are usually used in basements and utility rooms or on outdoor decks.
Notched Stringer
Laying out a notched stringer requires the use of a square with screw-on stair gauges. It's critical that all measurements be accurate before striking cut lines. 
Available headroom and the horizontal run of the stair depend on its angle. Removing just one riser and tread combination, shown here, yields nearly one foot of additional overhead room and more than two treads' worth of floor space.
Attaching the Stringers
There are a number of ways to attach stringers at the top and bottom. In some cases, the ceiling header can be used as the stair's top riser. 
Finished Open Stair
An open stair can be given a more finished appearance by adding skirtboard trim to the sides. The risers are mitered to the trim's edges, and molding is nailed beneath each tread. 

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.

(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here