Stair Building Ideas For Design And Construction
Simple Stair Stringer Layout

 

This book was written for anyone who needs a little more advice, maybe even a few more pictures and step-by-step instructions for laying out a simple stair stringer.

This book will also provide you with a few ways to select the perfect board, to use for your stair stringer. Avoiding large knots and cracks could make all the difference in the world, when laying out a stair stringer and constructing a professional looking stairway.

This book will not provide you with complete stair building instructions. For complete stair building instructions, check out the book titled, “Simplified Stair Building,” by Greg Vanden Berge.
 

Sample Book Pages

 

Stair Stringer Lumber Selection 

 

Note from Author: Feel free to skip this chapter if you're already familiar with the type of lumber you need for your stair stringers. 

 

The lumber you're going to use for your stair stringers is commonly referred to as construction standard lumber.  On the east coast it might be Southern Pine and the West Coast of the United States it could be Douglas Fir

 

Construction standard lumber usually comes in a few different grades and these grades should be stamped on every piece of lumber.  The preferred lumber for your stairway will be number two and better.

It might be difficult to see in the picture above, but this piece of 2 x 12 is stamped with the number one.  The only grade better than this is commonly referred to as select.
 

Page 4

 

Another thing you should try and avoid would be selecting lumber that was cut from the center of the tree.  The black arrow in the picture above is pointing to the center of the tree and there's a good chance this 2 x 4 will twist, bow or warp in a variety of different directions.  You should avoid using center cut lumber whenever possible, for your stair stringers.

 

Page 10

 

Stair Stringer Layout Tools 

The Framing Square 

 

This is the most important tool for laying out your stair stringer.  If you don't have one then head down to your local lumber yard or home improvement center and pick one up. 

 

If you’re going to purchase one, then it wouldn't be a bad idea to grab five or six framing squares and stack each one on top of the other, while lining them up.  All of the squares should be exactly the same, if not then find another manufacturer that does. 

 

I don't always recommend buying the cheapest framing square, because they aren't always perfectly square and this could create problems for your stairway.  I've also seen framing squares with incorrect measurements, so be warned.

 

Page 18

Page 25

 

After that's done line up the framing square with the marks you've made and draw a Straight line.

Bravo, you've just laid out the bottom of your stair stringer.

 

Page 31

 

We subtracted an inch and a half from our overall 10 inch stair tread.  When we finally end up attaching the stair stringer to the ledger, it will provide us with the 10 inch over all measurement we need to install our treads correctly. 

You're finished stair stringer should look something like this.  Realistically, all stair stringers will have a top and bottom, the only difference will be the amount of steps in between.

 
 
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