Q:

How do you build steps for a staircase?

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Quick Answer

Construct steps for a staircase by carefully measuring the vertical and horizontal distance the staircase must cover, measuring and cutting the stringers, and cutting and installing the treads and the risers, says Popular Mechanics. The stringers are the two side pieces of the staircase, the treads are the horizontal steps, and risers are the vertical pieces that connect the treads.

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Full Answer

Safety and comfort are important considerations when determining the dimensions of the stairs, according to Popular Mechanics. Standard measurements for staircase steps are 4 feet wide and 10 inches deep, with risers 7 to 8 inches high. The stringers are made of 2-by-12 planks, and they must be cut where the treads and risers are placed. Risers are attached to the stringers with appropriate screws, and then the treads are laid down and screwed on to the stringers. If the treads are made of two boards, a 1/8 to 1/4-inch gap is left in between them.

Local building codes govern the construction of a staircase, so it is necessary to find out what guidelines must be followed, notes Popular Mechanics. Stairs can be built without risers, but since risers help protect the exposed stringers, this results in more rapid deterioration of the stringers. Handrails are optional, but they provide more safety and stability.

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