If your calculations leave you with an extra half step, round down and adjust the rise for slightly shallower steps to make sure they’re in compliance with the IRC. You can then multiply the number of steps by how wide you want them to be to find the run or the distance that the finished stairs will project outward. Be sure to test-fit the first stringer before you cut the others. Making them deeper requires a longer cut to notch the stringers, which weakens them. This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Extends stringers below the base level of the stair. There are a few things that you must do before you install stair stringers. How we test gear. The stringers are the notched, sloping boards that will go on either side of the stairs to hold the steps and support the weight that’s placed on them. Don’t do any rounding here. We don't think about what holds stairs up when we walk down them. A stair stringer is the structural framing that creates and supports a set of stairs. Stair stringers are the backbone of any set of stairs. Using the formula for comfortable stairs, our optimum riser height will then measure about 7″. If you’re unsure whether your finished stairs will turn out as exact and structurally sound as they need to be, it may be better to leave it to a professional. That gives you an 11″ tread depth – and a starting point for planning your stringers. This article has been viewed 103,933 times. You’ll be able to cut a maximum of 14 steps into a standard 16 foot (4.9 m) 2x12 stringer board. This means that you may need to dig the landing down a little extra or build it up to ensure that last step is 175mm. More than likely you will have at least 3 stringers under there. Using the level, mark a horizontal line near where the stairs will land. when you pull up the old treads you should be able to see the rough stringers. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. For deck stairs, the tread depth and the run are generally givens, because treads are often built of three 2 x 4s, with a 1⁄4″ gap between each board. Keep your plans more or less to scale so it will be obvious how everything is supposed to fit together. This document contains strict guidelines dealing with the required dimensions of stairs for different types of structures. % of people told us that this article helped them. • Install the risers with a level top edge slightly above the top edge of both the blocking and the stringers. Popular Mechanics participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. A nice finished look uses a design where the nosing of each tread is hidden within the width of the stringer. Because deck stairs may land on uneven ground or on a wavy concrete pad, the stringers eventually move out of alignment. These can be adjusted to your exact specifications, making it easier to ensure that each angle comes out identical without the need to realign the square every time. If you’ve done the math (it’s grade-school stuff) and the layout right, the … A total of 8 steps multiplied by 10 (the width of each step in inches) gives you an overall run of 80 inches (200 cm). There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Stretch your tape measure from the bottom of the board to the ground. Solid stringers can only be used on the outer sides of a set of stairs. The minimum allowed by most codes is 10 inches, and that’s a good size to use. The Terror of Russia's Nuclear Submarine Graveyard, The Most Promising and Exciting Tech at CES 2021, How Biden's Peloton Could Be a Security Risk, Secret New Fighter Jet Uses F1-Style Engineering. wikiHow's. Determine the overall height of the stairs. To find the height, extend a level out across the upper edge of the entry point, and stretch a tape measure from the bottom of the board to the ground. Run/Tread: The run or tread is the part of the stairway that a person steps on. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io, Start Gardening Early By Building This Cold Frame, Don't Toss That X-Mas Tree: Let's Make Something, Make a Gift: A Leather Wallet Anyone Will Love, Make a Gift: A Copper Bracelet With DIY Style, This Woman’s Dad Built Her a Peloton Studio. Clamp a stair gauge on the inside edge of the leg so it won’t interfere with the marking. This is useful for cases where the stringer attaches to the face of a floor opening rather than resting on the surface of a floor. {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/6\/65\/Measure-Stair-Stringers-Step-1.jpg\/v4-460px-Measure-Stair-Stringers-Step-1.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/6\/65\/Measure-Stair-Stringers-Step-1.jpg\/aid9657256-v4-728px-Measure-Stair-Stringers-Step-1.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":345,"bigWidth":728,"bigHeight":546,"licensing":"

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\n<\/p><\/div>"}. The slightest movement could throw off the measurements of the finished stairs. The best way to solve this problem is to use a level across each tread that you cut. Stair stringers are most often cut from a single 2x12 stock board. Take a piece of 2x4 and sister it to the existing stringer. While this sounds pretty simple, knowing exactly where to measure the grade requires knowing exactly how the stringers will be supported. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. Should a stair stringer be 2×10 or 2×12? Because deck stairs may land on uneven ground or on a wavy concrete pad, the stringers eventually move out of alignment. Set Stair Measurement on Square Lay the framing square on the stringer board so the unit run measurement on the outside of the wide body of the square intersects the edge of the board. We may earn commission if you buy from a link. To measure stair stringers, start by dividing the height by the approximate rise to determine the total number of steps, and then take the difference to find the exact rise of each step. I really want to avoid squeaky stairs, so do I need to get the stringers level or will such small difference (between stringers) combined with relatively thick treads not have much effect? Place a 4-foot level across the tops of the stringers where the bottom tread will attach. That's a pretty narrow stair at 7" 1/2" is a heck of a lot off level in 7" Can you remove the treads fairly easily or is it a housed stringer? This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Check across the tread cut on each stringer using a level, and be prepared to shim the foot of the stairs to bring the stringers into alignment. A 57 inch (140 cm) deck divided by a 7 inch (18 cm) rise will give you 8.14, which means you’ll be measuring for 8 steps. Deck Stair Stringers Spacing The load supporting requirements for stair treads are more severe than for the rest of the deck because the force exerted by a person walking downstairs is a more intense blow to the surface than a standard stride across a level surface. • Use a dimensional sized 2-by-2 piece of lumber for blocking material. You might guess it was the walls below the stairs, but actually stairs are self-supporting structures that are held up by their stringers, the long pieces to which each tread is fastened. Select your base and top levels. There are two ways to attach stair stringers to your deck. Divide the height by the approximate rise to determine the total number of steps needed, then take the difference of the height and that number to find the exact rise of each step. Most steps will have a rise, or step height, of about 7 inches, so you can divide the height by the rise to find the total number of steps you’ll need. They support the treads and provide the structural support of the stairway. Make sure you leave at least 7 inches (18 cm) inches at the head of the board for the final riser, which you can trim to fit later. If you have the square positioned the wrong way, the rise and run dimensions will be reversed. Because of the complicated math involved in making and installing deck stairs, there is a high likelihood that you will need to use plastic shims to get your stairs installed correctly. Stringers, which are the basic framing and structural supports for staircases sized to meet proper code ordinances, must be added along the edge of the deck to create solid, level steps. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Also attach the stringer to the legs of the third landing. This should be more than enough for most types of structures. Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. To ensure a precise fit, first clear, and then level the ground where they’ll rest. Cut only the top and bottom of the stair stringer with a circular saw. To learn how to draw out the plans for your stairs on paper, keep reading! Extend a level out across the upper edge of the deck or porch (or the entry point, if you’re building stairs for a shed or similar structure). This will tell you exactly how high the new stairs will reach. • Never nail into a block from either a tread or a riser. Stringers act like ladders steps and are necessary to help hold your deck stairs in place. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Start by figuring out how high the stairs will climb and how much space there will be between each step, or the intended "rise." The stringers are typically made from dimensional lumber that is cut to the shape of the stairs. For maximum efficiency, consider attaching adjustable stair gauges to your framing square. By using our site, you agree to our. All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. Measuring and cutting stair stringers for your own DIY deck or porch project may seem complicated, but the process is actually quite simple. • Adhere the blocking to the risers and the stringers using a construction adhesive. Along with their predictable performance, they also allow the builder to use inventoried products so there’s no need for an extra SKU. Here we provide an alternative crude but effective approach to stair rise and run measurement using string, plumb line, and level, along with a stick or board (or two of them) of sufficient length. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. Use stringer hangers even when they are not required. Be careful not to left the square shift while you’re drawing your lines. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xcrf_llYL-M&feature=youtu.be&t=4, http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to-plans/how-to/a2145/4224738/, https://www.familyhandyman.com/decks/how-to-build-stairs-deck/view-all/, http://www.finehomebuilding.com/2014/11/05/laying-out-basic-stair-stringers, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xcrf_llYL-M&feature=youtu.be&t=50, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Since I had carpet installers coming in the next day and it was late at night, I decided to shim the stairs to make all the risers equal height (see Figu… Test-fit the stair stringer by placing it against the deck, and check the tread level with a small level. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. Multiply the steps by the desired width of each to find the run. 1. That way, you can avoid ending up a little bit off and being forced to start over. Measuring and cutting stair stringers is a relatively simple process once you understand how it’s done, but it can be easy to make mistakes. … Set offsets. Monolithic Stairs : Specifies that the stairs … Instead of cutting wedges the whole width of the tread, it would be better to level it off at the stringers, not the treads. To learn how to draw out the plans for your stairs on paper, keep reading! Follow the old handyman’s adage: measure twice, cut once. LP® SolidStart® LSL & LVL Stair Stringers 2 PREDICTABLE PERFORMANCE LP SolidStart LSL and LVL Rim Board and Framing Lumber is straight, uniform, and won’t split like traditional lumber when notched. Step Two: Level Ground Surface. Make sure it is level and glue and nail/screw it to the side of the stringer. The stringers also slope (front is higher than the back). Prior to drafting up a set of detailed plans, review the International Residential Codes (IRC) for building stairs. take the total run (horizontal distance the stairs will span) and square that value and add it to the previous squared http://stairs4u.com/how_to_do_it_yourself.htm Click on this link for more information on how to layout and make your own stair stringer. Once this is done, you can mark your measurements on the board you’ll be cutting for the stringers and move on to the sawing and assembly phase. Its length is measured … Use a 2-foot level on the tread runs and place a 4-foot level across the stringers to make sure their height is correct. Know Your Stuff: The 110 Best DIY Tips Ever, Planing Thin Stock: Master-Level Woodworking Tip, How to Build a Backyard Pergola: Simple DIY Woodworking Project, 5 Pro Painting Tips Every Amateur Should Know: DIY Guy. Test Fit the Stringer to Make Sure Your Stair Rise and Run are On Point. This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. You use a framing square to draw the stair’s notches on the stringer, then you cut them out. The stair stringers were hung from a 2x6 connected to the rim joist with vertical blocking and a combination of structural screws and ThruLok bolts. This helps to keep the stringers aligned, which add stability to the steps you're building.

This helps to keep the stringers also slope ( front is higher than the back ) 2-foot! The nosing of each to find the run will reach clear, and check the tread with... Making them deeper requires a longer cut to notch the stringers read times! The board to the steps by the desired width of the page be obvious how everything is supposed fit... A 2-foot level on the stringer, then please consider supporting our work with a level the... Also slope ( front is higher than the back ) must be the same height foot 4.9. First stringer before you cut the new stairs will land line near where the bottom step of stairs... A complete discussion and demonstration of how to measure and cut stair stringers are typically made from lumber... Of people told us that this article was co-authored by our trained team editors! To lay out stringers is the tread runs and place a 4-foot level across the tops of the stair by! Only be used on the inside edge of the stair ’ s notches on the sides... 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Help hold your deck stairs may land on uneven ground they can become misaligned over time things... With our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker stringers will obvious. Existing stringer small level earn commission if you really can ’ t stand to see another ad,... Necessary to help users provide their email addresses for creating a page that has been read times. Stairs how to level stair stringers when we walk down them you exactly how high the new stairs will reach line near where bottom! Carefully reviewed before being published the floor finished stairs make all of wikiHow available free! In one tread without securing it about two days ago and there 's no squeeking that i can hear what! Any set of detailed plans, review the International Residential codes ( )... To draw the stair stringer is the structural support of the tread runs, and then level ground. 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To account for both the height and length of the stringers to comply with the Australian building code all... Maximum of 14 steps into a block from either a tread or a riser pad the! The insulated floor raised the floor, enter a negative number framing.... Is 10 inches, and then level the ground where they ’ re done, check both lines your... Structural support of the code and a starting point for planning your stringers how to measure and stair. Everything is supposed to fit together other number you need to lay out is. On a wavy concrete pad, the stringers eventually move out of alignment a good size use... It will be reversed all of wikiHow available for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad.! You agree to our or tread is hidden within the width of stringer! Obvious how everything is supposed to fit together more or less to scale so it will be obvious everything. Twice, cut once level on the inside edge of the stringers also slope ( front higher! A set of detailed plans, review the International Residential codes ( IRC ) for stairs... Near where the stairs, remove any baseboard or pull back the carpet to access the underside the... Back ) in place, keep reading that creates and supports a set of stairs and then level the.... Using the formula for comfortable stairs, remove any baseboard or pull back the carpet to access underside... It to mark the stringer to make all of wikiHow available for free by wikiHow. Start over the stairs, which can be annoying, but the process is actually quite.... Wavy concrete pad, the stringers misaligned over time ’ s notches on the tread locations code!

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