Staircase building

Reply

  #1  
Old 09-11-04, 06:13 AM
skubachick4
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Staircase building

We purchased an old victorian farmhouse. The previous owners moved the original staircase becasue the steps were too steep. Our plans are to put the stairs back in their original place and include a curve in them to alow more steps without the steep angle.

I have tackled some pretty hairy projects before and believe building stairs cannot be that difficult. If we could get someone to dut the proper stringers than we can do the install.

Does anyone have any pointers or places that sell stair kits?
 
  #2  
Old 09-13-04, 04:16 PM
H
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 463
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Building Stairs

Building stairs IS that difficult, and building curved stairs is more than most professional carpenters could handle.

Stairs of this nature are best left to professional stair companies to fabricate...and a task well above that of most professional carpenters let alone DIYers.

Impo, I would recommend having the stairs prefabricated for proper engineering and code compliance, have them shipped to the job, and then installed by the manufacturer as well.
 
  #3  
Old 09-13-04, 06:23 PM
L
Member
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arlington, WA
Posts: 9,238
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
skubachick4,

LISTEN to homebild. Straircases, and their code requirements are VERY extensive. Leave the entire project to a pro if you are altering what was original AT ALL!! Codes have changed since you house was built. Since the original staircase was altered, you now have to meet CURRENT CODES with whatever you do to replace it.
 
  #4  
Old 09-14-04, 06:58 AM
trance's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: usa
Posts: 406
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
HMMMM-----in my experience, a curved stair is one of the most expensive single things you can put in a home. some stairs cost more than some entire homes! =)

Why? because things that rise and twist at the same time are very difficult to make.

with that said, it sounds like you want a curved stair in order to fit in a lower rise in the same area. I can't imagine how that would help - a curved stair usually takes lots of space & there's something very basic about the rise and run of stairs - you don't get something for nothing.

Explain a bit more about your idea / space / stair, etc.

Perhaps you mean putting winders in a stair that goes up 1/2 flight, hits a landing and then goes another 1/2 flight (at a 90 degree angle). This *could* gain you some space, but winders are sometimes not allowed by code these days. you can check w/your local building department. just ask if winders are allowed on a new stair.

Ok, so let's assume that you have an unlimited budget and a curved stair does meet your requirements. I don't know anyone who makes a kit or off the shelf curved stringers - mostly because the requirements change from house to house.

People who can make custom stringers include carpenters (wood stringers) and steel shops. some steel shops can make you a custom steel stringer, of course these are very heavy and very expensive. Some steel shops won't touch this kind of job.

Dont forget the handrails! these are expensive & custom too!

There are books available on the internet on stairbuilding.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
 

Last edited by twelvepole; 10-25-04 at 08:52 PM. Reason: Link to commercial website
  #5  
Old 09-14-04, 10:36 PM
L
Member
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arlington, WA
Posts: 9,238
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Do you really mean a curve, or are you thinking about a landing at some level in the stairway and just turning a corner?

What Trance said about curved stairways is very true -- they take up a lot of space and will consume a lot of money!!

But a landing, say about 1/3 the way up the stairway (or 2/3 the way down) and a 90 degree corner -- that will require space too, but you won't be taking out a second mortage and depriving your children of a college education to pay for it! It'll be several thousand dollars -- just not several HUNDRED thousand!!
 
  #6  
Old 09-18-04, 05:49 AM
skubachick4
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Staircase building

Trance is correct. I want to build a staircase whereas you would first walk up 4 or 5 steps and then turn 90 degrees and walk up the remainder to the second floor. I believe this would cut down on the steepness that existed before. The room that they are going in is roughly 17 ft by 16ft so taking up some room for the stairs wont be a problem.

Do we look for a carpenter or hire a contractor? Since we are in Indiana, there is an abundance of Amish carpenters around. Is it possible to scrounge salvage yards for newels and balasters that are closer to the time period and restor them?
 
  #7  
Old 09-18-04, 10:49 AM
trance's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: usa
Posts: 406
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
this may seem obvious, but in order that your new stairs are less steep, you have to have a longer total run. this may mean that you have more steps total, or may mean only that the treads are just longer.

for example, if your rise is currently 7" (which is correct) and your run is also 7", the stairs will seem very steep. You can correct this by creating a stair that has a 7" rise, and 12" run, however, this stair will take more linear distance (longer total run) than your old stair. Turning a corner will not reduce the amount of required run (actually, it will increase it because the landing is longer than a tread) but it may help fit it in the house better.

sometimes architectural antique stores sell old pieces that you can use.

your question is interesting - where was the original stair in the house? i guess you plan on putting the new stair in that spot. i'd try to get a period-correct stair, not just in location, but also in style. a woodworker in your area can probably cut correct shape stair pieces on a lathe, especially if you can provide them the shape you need. it might be cheaper and easier than finding and repairing old pieces. your local library, or the internet book shops, might be a good source for victorian details. it'd be nice, when you are done, that although the new stair is not exactly the same as the original, that you can say that you were true to the design intent of the original house.

good luck!
 
  #8  
Old 09-19-04, 01:50 PM
T
Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,818
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Stair parts

Check with your local Building Inspector for Codes and required Permits. Stair Codes have recently changed. Shop around for licensed and insured contractors. Get several bids. Ask for copies of contractor's license and certificates of insurance for worker's compensation and liability insurance. Call the appropriate agencies to verify these are up to date. There are companies that manufacture stair parts.
 
  #9  
Old 10-25-04, 08:14 PM
dwhitney
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Not THAT hard...

I don't know what your level of expertise is but I can share my very recent experience with you.

I am not a professional builder. I am a self-proclaimed professional remodeler that only works on my house and occassionally helps on friends/families projects. I've worked on my house for the past 5 years and have been a hobbyist (based on time... professional based on desire... )woodworker for the past 10 years.

I recently just re-did the stairs in our house and it sounds very similar to what you are trying to do. I relocated our stairs and changed them into a U configuration (3 separate flights all connected by two 90-degree landings). The only reference/help I used was looking up codes on the Internet for general reference, used A LOT of common sense.

There are books available on the internet on stair building.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

I found that book invaluable and picked up my copy at the local Home Depot.

Some will argue that this wasn't a safe route to take due to various code requirements and what not and the fact that I am not a professional stairbuilder. However like I said, whereever there was a question (like extra wide stairs or steep etc.), I erred on the side of safety and went with a relatively low rise (took up more space than maybe was necessary...) and went with a middel ground stair width of about 37".

The project - from a pre-planning and 'brain-work' perspective - has been the most challenging project to date on our home. However, I would not classify it as extremely difficult - particularly from the actual level of difficulty in the building portion (physical work aspect). It has probably taken me about 25 hours of total work to complete and about $200 in materials (just the roughed-in stairs... not finished treads etc.).

If you do have access to that many local craftsmen, I'd recommend trying it yourself and just pay them to review your plans and provide guidance as necessary. You could save yourself a bundle depending upon how much you value your time.

I did it as much for the experience and satisfaction as I did for the money savings.

Let me know if you have questions xxxxxxxxxxx
 

Last edited by twelvepole; 10-25-04 at 08:49 PM. Reason: Posted personal email address & link to commercial website
  #10  
Old 10-25-04, 08:47 PM
T
Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,818
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Staircase building

One should always check with local building inspector regarding codes and permits. There are some very strict building codes when it comes to building stairs, especially in regard to size of treads and risers. Changing the configuration of stairs or any change in structure can come back to haunt you at the time of resale if the job was not a permitted one. Even if job meets Code requirements, building inspector may make you tear out a job and restore it to its original state and impose heavy fines.
 
  #11  
Old 10-26-04, 05:41 PM
L
Member
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arlington, WA
Posts: 9,238
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
skubachick4,

Read carefully what we are telling you. There are a LOT of code requirements for a flight of stairs.

Where you want to turn the stairs 90 degrees is going to require a landing. That landing will be the width of the stairs by a minimum of 3'. That is going to take up some space. Each step is going to have to have THE SAME rise and THE SAME tread width. MINIMUM tread width is 12". MAXIMUM rise is 8". (7" to 7-12" is probably the most comfortable.)

Start at the top of where these stairs go and measure straight down to the lower floor in inches. That's how much fall you have to incorporate into the staircase. Divide that fall by 7. That is approximately the number of steps you will have, and, with a 12" wide tread, that is how many feet of staircase you need to work in. You will have to play with the fall number at different riser heights to figure out EXACTLY the height of each riser so that it works -- you can't have more than 1/8" variation from the shortest riser to the tallest.

Then you'll get to the handrail -- that is a whole different (and related) set of code requirements. The rail has to be "grippable". It has to parallel with the trads, and can to be 36" to 38" above (measured STRAIGHT UP!) the nose of each tread -- if you start out at 36", you have to maintain the 36" throughout. It can't vary!! And the railing has to be designed so that a 4" ball cannot be passed through it (except at the triangle formed by the tread, the riser and the bottom of the railing -- a 6" ball cannot be passed through that triangle.)

It's not that difficult -- but it IS tedious and VERY exacting work, and it HAS to be done RIGHT!!

Talk to your local bldg. dept. They probably have handouts, and the inspectors will work with you to make sure it's done right the first time.
 
  #12  
Old 10-28-04, 06:28 PM
pgtek's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: north Carolina
Posts: 1,398
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
hi
check you towship for building code
ther a min clearance need from top of step to clarance space before the first floor.
some place required 6'8'' in clearance

better check and i would recommend getting a pro carpenter.
cheers
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: