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.
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
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.
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
You should avoid using center cut lumber whenever possible, for your stair
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
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.
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.
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.