You can apply the same
principle for cutting plywood or oriented strand board risers, to your
stair treads. If you're going to use plywood or oriented strand board,
simply create one stair tread, to use as a pattern, to lay out and mark
the rest of them.
After you have finished installing your stair stringers, all you need to do is measure the width and length of the stair treads, to get the exact measurements you will need, to cut and install them.
It wouldn't be a bad idea to cut one stair tread and place it on the finished stairway, to make sure that it fits properly and doesn't need to be adjusted. This takes us back to the measure twice, but cut once, mindset.
By placing the stair tread on the stairway, after your risers have been attached correctly, you will get a better idea, what the finished staircase is going to look like.
Attention Stair Builders: If you have a better method for any step I've mentioned so far, then use it. There is no way that I could cover every single method, for stair building, in this free how to build stairs section of the website.
2 X 12 Stair TreadsIf you're going to use 2 x 12 for your stair treads, you will need to cut one and place it on the stairway, to make sure that it's going to work correctly. The biggest problem I have with 2 x 12 stair treads is that they are 11 1/2 inches wide and most of the time, all I need is 11 inches.
If you run into a situation where the 2 x 12 is too wide, you can always use a circular saw or table saw to make the necessary adjustments. Simply rip the boards down to the desired width, before permanently installing them.
Some beginners will actually cut and install one riser and one tread at a time, to make sure that there aren't going to be any problems. Even though this method will take longer, it could reduce wasted materials and wasted time, if you only made one mistake.