Prior to drafting up a set of detailed plans, review the International Residential Codes (IRC) for building stairs. Using the formula for comfortable stairs, our optimum riser height will then measure about 7″. Be careful not to left the square shift while you’re drawing your lines. Run/Tread: The run or tread is the part of the stairway that a person steps on. 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. How we test gear. 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. 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. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. A complete discussion and demonstration of how to measure and cut stair stringers for a deck or porch or other use. Check across the tread cut … More than likely you will have at least 3 stringers under there. Measuring and cutting stair stringers for your own DIY deck or porch project may seem complicated, but the process is actually quite simple. When fashioning them, you’ll need to account for both the height and length of the stairs. Stringers act like ladders steps and are necessary to help hold your deck stairs in place. We don't think about what holds stairs up when we walk down them. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. Should a stair stringer be 2×10 or 2×12? Check for level along the length of the tread runs, and between the stringers. You’ll be able to cut a maximum of 14 steps into a standard 16 foot (4.9 m) 2x12 stringer board. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. 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). 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. Use stringer hangers even when they are not required. 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. All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. 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. Take a piece of 2x4 and sister it to the existing stringer. To extend the stringer below the floor, enter a negative number. In order for your stairs to be consistent (and to avoid a cumbersome head or foot step) it’s important that the distance between each step be as precise as possible. 1. Stretch your tape measure from the bottom of the board to the ground. Stair stringers are most often cut from a single 2x12 stock board. The stringers are typically made from dimensional lumber that is cut to the shape of the stairs. This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. For example, if you have a height of 56 inches and a rise of 7 inches, then you’ll have 8 steps. 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. Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. 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. 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. 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. Along with their predictable performance, they also allow the builder to use inventoried products so there’s no need for an extra SKU. 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. 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). Because deck stairs may land on uneven ground or on a wavy concrete pad, the stringers eventually move out of alignment. The insulated floor raised the floor level and made the bottom step of my stairs short – a violation of the code. Test-fit the stair stringer by placing it against the deck, and check the tread level with a small level. 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. Cut only the top and bottom of the stair stringer with a circular saw. When you’re done, check both lines with your tape measure to confirm that they’re the right length. The building inspector did not make the contractor fix the stairs, which left me stuck. Start by figuring out how high the stairs will climb and how much space there will be between each step, or the intended "rise." Clamp a stair gauge on the inside edge of the leg so it won’t interfere with the marking. Attach a cleat to the hypotenuse and use it to mark the stringer. For larger projects, it may be necessary to adjust the measurement for the stairs’ overall run to account for one or more landings. 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. % of people told us that this article helped them. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. If you have the square positioned the wrong way, the rise and run dimensions will be reversed. Triangular Plywood Guide – One option to mark the cuts is to cut a piece of plywood into a triangle, with one edge the rise and another the run. 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. They should be stout enough to support the weight of the steps and the people using them. • Install the risers with a level top edge slightly above the top edge of both the blocking and the stringers. They support the treads and provide the structural support of the stairway. Solid stringers can only be used on the outer sides of a set of stairs. After fastening the stringers to the hanger and rim with structural screws, I installed 2x8 blocking between all of the stringers … When they fall on uneven ground they can become misaligned over time. Place a 4-foot level across the tops of the stringers where the bottom tread will attach. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. That way, you can avoid ending up a little bit off and being forced to start over. References. This should be more than enough for most types of structures. 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? Step Two: Level Ground Surface. Pressure-treated lumber is the best choice for outdoor stairs that will be exposed to the elements, like those leading up to decks, porches, sheds, and barns. Up a little bit off and being forced to start over solve problem. 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