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# building stairs

## building stairs

#1
10-06-19, 03:38 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: United States
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building stairs

I consider myself reasonably handy, but stairs always baffled me.

Need to install some stairs for the second tier loft in our cabin. This will be a long term endeavor and I’m just beginning to investigate possibilities. Looking for some input from the experts.

The pics may be confusing but the current access is a vertical ladder. Son and women unable to navigate this type of ladder. So I want to build stairs. The floor to finished floor is 100 inches. Using a typical formula (vertical height divided by 7.5) gives me 13.333 treads or steps. Round it out to 12.

I’m considering building my own. But it would be a lot easier to buy pre-cut stringers. But my brief search on the Internet does not seem to have anything bigger than perhaps 8 steps high. I would also prefer wood, but a metal step is not out of the question. I’m also trying keep cost below the \$800 range if possible. In an effort to save space, how steep would be reasonable (reduce that 7.5 to maybe something less). So I would want to reduce the angle. Codes are not a concern but reasonable safety is. I’ve also considered a spiral prefab unit. In an effort to conserve space I might consider a right angle with landing.

In the accompany pic and video my wife is saying (if sound was copied) that getting up and down is difficult.

Looking for comment and inputs or ideas.

Thanks.

https://i.imgur.com/xDC5WFW.mp4

#2
10-06-19, 04:02 PM
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Well, you would round to 13, but not 12. The top landing is your 13th step. (But you have 12 treads, 13 risers.) You also cannot use precut stringers for a custom staircase. Each step has to be equal and shouldn't exceed 7.75" of rise. 12 steps x 10" treads means your stairs will extend 120" (10 feet) out from the loft and be 3 feet wide. You could consider winder stairs if you can't spare that much room, but they would probably need to be from a custom welding shop, assuming you have a large opening and could fit it in through a door. (\$\$\$) Otherwise, they will have to build and weld it on site.

Landings don't actually save any space, they take up more space due to their size.

#3
10-06-19, 04:54 PM
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Thanks X, At least that answers my question about changing the angle. I'll stick with the 7.5 divisor. My thought about the landing was to kind of block off the "kitchen" area from the "living room" area, instead of having the stairs cut right into the living room section. But I suppose it doesn't really matter.

Here's another thing I found online as far as material goes. What do you think?
" The material for your stringers could be 2 by 12s (as long as there are not many knots) or laminated strand lumber which you can see we used. The LSL's are great for stringers because the strands actually help prevent cracking at the intersecting cuts at the corner of the riser and tread. "

https://www.buildmyowncabin.com/stai...ng-stairs.html

#4
10-06-19, 05:07 PM
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Glad to help you out Norm! Yes, I would definitely use LVL's. Dividing the 100" by 7.5 is a good way to get close, then round up or down to the nearest whole number. In your case, 100/13 = 7.69, or roughly 7 11/16"... just under the 7 3/4" maximum allowable riser height.

Rounding up makes for smaller risers which are easier to climb, but many people often don't want to use up another 10" for that additional step. (14 steps would be just over 7 1/8" each.)

You could certainly have a landing and a right turn but since a landing is supposed to be a minimum of 36x36, that adds some sq ft area to the staircase. You could have 5 treads up to the landing, the landing itself would be the 6th step, then 6 more treads, (which are usually a standard 10") and the 13th step would be the loft. That design would mean the landing would start 5 feet away from the loft edge, extending to 8 feet from the loft edge, then turning 90 degrees with 5 more stairs extending another 4'2" to the right. (Ending roughly 4'2 to the right of the outside corner to the right of your ladder.

#5
10-06-19, 05:54 PM
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Hi Norm, when I build stairs I start with a drawing of the side view. Then I plug in all of the measurements, height, opening at the top, and anything in front. Then fill in the stairs showing tread, backers, and overhang. Now, as far as building to code that is always a first choice. But if there just isn't enough room, then you get creative.

Build them on paper first as mistakes are much easier to fix.

Bud

#6
10-07-19, 04:17 AM
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Bud,

That may very well be the plan of attack.

I have another idea. As much as I would like to build them myself, I may ask the same Amish guy who did my roof to build them. He has a saw mill and has the wood and he does this kind of work on a daily basis. He is also familiar with my cabin. And he's only 5 miles down the road. At the very least I'll buy the wood from him. I'm guesstimating a cost of about \$500 to \$800 depending if I do vs Johnny (Amish guy).

#7
10-07-19, 05:20 AM
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Location: New England
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You know you can trust them and have a good idea as to the work they do, good contractor to have access to. Talking to them is a good plan and whatever they quote will probably be justified.

Bud

Norm201 voted this post useful.
#8
10-07-19, 06:39 AM
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Would you consider a drop-down stair that can be raised up out of the way when not in use? It could run parallel to the beam and land either in the kitchen or hallway area.

#9
10-08-19, 07:35 AM
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John, I did consider the drop down style but decided against it. But good suggestion.

#10
10-08-19, 09:25 AM
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Have you considered trying to get a waiver from the building department? If the existing ladder was considered acceptable, they waive the stair requirements and accept a less steep "ladder" of the same design but built at a more comfortable angle.

#11
10-08-19, 05:13 PM
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CW,
This is a hunters cabin out in the woods atop a small mountain side with no power, no running water and an outhouse about 50 yards away. Although the place was in fact wired to have electricity, a power line was never brought over. And it would've been very expensive. Codes have very little meaning. I bought the property from the town code enforcer officer. When he (and his partner) built it few codes were written and fewer were enforced. The stairs I want to install will in fact be to current codes vs what's already there.
But to answer your question, we decided that a standard stair is the best choice for my son and the women (and us older guys) to navigate to the second tier. And actually it really won't take away much room. We will still have room under the stairs since it will be an open style. But I like your thoughts.