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What are some tips for building stairs?

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Quick Answer

Building a set of stairs requires accurate math calculations and compliance with local building codes. Know the required vertical and horizontal distance for the staircase before beginning construction.

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Full Answer

Calculate the vertical distance, or rise, and horizontal distance, also called the run, for the staircase. The typical rise per step is 7 inches, and the typical run per step is no less than 10 inches. Take the total measured rise divided by 7 inches for the number of steps. Next, calculate the actual required rise per step by taking the total rise divided by the number of steps. Multiply the number of steps by the desired run per step to get the total run.

In a normal staircase, stringers are the sloped boards that support weight. Determine how the staircase is to be attached before cutting the stringers. Treads are the tops of the steps, and risers are the back of each step. These are installed after the stringers. Building codes usually require a handrail, which can be installed last.

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