How To Build a Staircase

Are you looking to add some character to your home, but don’t have the funds, time or know-how to do something major? Then perhaps building a simple staircase might be the answer. A staircase is a fairly inexpensive way of adding another level of visual interest and character to your home. It can also open up new living spaces that were previously inaccessible. When it comes to DIY projects, staircases can be quite tricky because of the complex geometry and interaction between different materials and stress loads. Building one from scratch is not for everyone, but if you are up for a challenge and feel confident about your carpentry skills, then this article will help you get started on building an easy staircase from scratch.

Step 1: Determine How Many Steps You’ll Need

The first thing you need to do is to figure out how many steps your staircase will contain and how high it will be. You will need to take into account the height of your ceiling and whether you have any low-level windows in the space below the staircase. You will also have to consider the height of any furniture or counter tops that you might have on the upper floor. The standard height of a single staircase step is 29 inches. This means that a standard staircase will have a rise of 78 inches (78 inches is the vertically distance between the first and last tread). The distance between the steps on the other hand will be 36 inches. This is because the standard width of a single step is 19 inches.

Step 2: Sketch Out the Size and Shape of Each Riser

The next thing to do is to sketch out the dimensions of each riser. Take into account the thicknesses of any treads and the length of the stringers. After taking the measurements, use a pencil and ruler to sketch out the dimensions and shape of each riser on paper. If you are not confident about drawing freehand, you can use a paper grid to help you out. Once you have the dimensions of each riser, you can start to visualize how the staircase will look. If you have chosen a different tread thickness, then you will have to recalculate the risers. You can do this by multiplying the tread thickness by the stair rise.

Step 3: Decide on a Runway Size

The runway is the part of the staircase that connects the steps. It is the width between the stringers that the stair treads sit on. The runway size is important because it will dictate the thickness of the treads. It will also determine the overall visual appearance of the staircase. There are three standard runway widths that you can choose from. The most popular runway width is 10 inches. This is a standard runway for a 16-inch-wide stair. A 12-inch runway width is best suited for a 14-inch-wide stair. A 16-inch-wide stair will require a 15-inch-wide runway.

Step 4: Determine Stair Width and Treads

The width of the staircase will be determined by the runway width that you have chosen as well as the thickness of the treads. To do this, you will have to add the runway width and the thickness of the treads together. For example, a 10-inch-wide runway with a 1-inch-thick tread will yield a stair width of 11 inches. The width of the stair will also determine the riser height of the stairs. The standard riser height is 7 inches. You can change this by adding or subtracting the width of the staircase to or from the riser height. For example, a 10-inch-wide staircase will have risers that are 7 inches + 10 inches = 17 inches high.

Step 5: Cut the Stringers and Install The Newels

Once you have decided on the stair width and the size of the risers, it is time to cut the stringers to size and install the newels. A newel is the structural support post at the end of each staircase. It is designed to bear the most stress on the staircase and transmit it to the rest of the structure. Newels can be purchased from a store or you can make one out of scrap wood and a few nails. First, measure the width of each stringer and cut it to size. After cutting each stringer to size, smooth out any rough edges. You can also sand the stringer to create a smooth finish. Place the stringer at the top of the stairs where they will be installed. Put a small amount of wood glue on the stringer and on the end of the posts. Put a nail through the stringer and into the post a couple of times to hold it in place temporarily. Let the glue dry and then finish nailing the stringer into place.

Step 6: Build the Newel Posts and Install Rails

Newel posts can be either wooden or metal posts. Wooden posts are usually made from pine or cedar wood. They are used to support the handrail of the staircase and to connect the staircase with the wall. Cut the posts to size and attach them to the wall using wood screws. Install the rails on top of the posts. The rails should be parallel to each other. Next, attach the wooden or metal balusters to the rails. The balusters should be placed about every 2 inches apart. You can also install a decorative railing for the staircase to add a flair of style.

Step 7: Install the Treads and Risers

The last step in the process is to install the treads and risers. Place the treads on the runway and mark where they will be nailed into place. Take the riser and mark where you will be nailing it to the treads. Take the riser and place it where it will be installed on the tread. Take a pencil and mark the location on the treads where the nails will be hammered in. Nail the riser into place and then place the tread on the riser and hammer a couple of nails into the tread. Repeat for the other side of the tread.


A staircase is an essential part of any home. It allows you to access upper levels of your home and serves as an architectural feature that can make or break the design of your home. Building a staircase from scratch can be a challenging, yet rewarding project for the DIY homeowner. There are many different ways to choose the design of your staircase. Whether you want a spiral staircase, a straight staircase, or a winding staircase, the choice is yours. This project can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it to be.

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