Need help with low rise stairs.


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Old 12-18-15, 03:09 PM
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Need help with low rise stairs.

Hello guys, I have never cut my own stair stringers and need to make two stringers for a small deck landing in a garage.

Deck finished surface is 23" off the ground.

Top step needs to be flush with deck surface.

Steps will be 2x10 (unless there is a better material that fits into the calculations better).

Rise cannot be more than 3.5" as its for an elderly woman and she cannot lift her leg any higher.

Can someone help me with the rise/run dimensions or maybe even make me a diagram showing how to cut the stringers to the measurements I need?

Thanks so much for any help and Happy Holidays,
David
 
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Old 12-18-15, 03:21 PM
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You take the rise (23") and divide it by your anticipated rise (3.5) to find out how many steps you will need. You come up with 6.5 or so. Since you say it can't be more than 3.5, that means you have to round up... 7 steps. So divide 23/7. And you get about 3.25". So each rise will be 3.25. Each run will need to be around 10".

Stairs are just a ratio of rise to run. You are cutting a series of triangles out of a board. So to do that you use a framing square. One side of the triangle is 3.25, so line one side of the framing square up with the edge of the 2x10 at 3.25... and line the other side of the framing square up with the edge of the 2x10 at 10. Now mark that triangle with a pencil. Slide the framing square down the board and mark it again. You will do this for all 7 steps.... they should be exactly the same. If it helps, you could figure out the hypotenuse of that triangle and figure out the corner of each step and your overall length. I would suggest you just start out with three 2x10x8' and go from there. Doing it on paper is pretty easy, its like 6th grade math stuff. Try it, you'll like it.

If I have time later, I can try to draw a sample stringer... unless some kind soul beats me to it.

Also keep in mind that your rise may not be 23" if you simply measured straight down from the deck to the ground. The rise is calculated from the spot where your stairs will end... so you need to find that spot, drive a stake in the ground, and level out to it, maybe lay a long 2x4 on the deck and screw it to the stake with your level on top. Then measure down to the ground and see what you come up with for a rise. The ground could fall off a few inches by the time you get 6 or 7 feet away from the deck.
 
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Old 12-18-15, 03:39 PM
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Thank you so much for all of the information. A diagram would be VERY helpful.

It is attaching to a platform in a garage on a concrete slab floor. Floor is very level so I'm sure it's still 23" tall even out away from the decking.

I will not be back at the property until tomorrow otherwise I'd measure again. I think it's safe to say it's still 23" though.

Also, you said three 2x10x8'...

Stairs will be only 3-4 feet wide. Do I need three stringers or will two suffice?
 
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Old 12-18-15, 03:57 PM
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EZ Stairs Free Stair Calculator

I would use 2 each 5/4 x 6 decking boards with 4 stringers or a 2 x 12 for treads
 
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Old 12-18-15, 04:05 PM
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Your correct, I meant 2x12 stair treads. Not 2x10.

If I use 2x12 for treads do I really need 4 stringers for a 3-4 wide staircase?
 
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Old 12-18-15, 04:10 PM
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You'll need three with 2 x 12.
 
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Old 12-18-15, 04:12 PM
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Stairs will be only 3-4 feet wide. Do I need three stringers or will two suffice?
In my opinion stairs can never be overbuilt. I would use three stringers or doubled stringers on the sides at the least.
 
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Old 12-18-15, 04:20 PM
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Three stringers it is!

I am going to try and lay this all out later tonight. Should I use a 2 x 10 or 2 x 12 for the stringer?
 
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Old 12-18-15, 05:27 PM
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Three 2x10 stringers... and use 2x12 or two 5/4x6 for each tread. I would also suggest usung a riser. 1x4 or 2x4 ripped on a table saw to your rise height.

With the shallow rise a 2x10 is fine. Normally you use 2x12 because the notches are so deep.
 
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Old 12-18-15, 05:47 PM
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I would use 2-2x6 instead of 1-2x12 solely for the reason that the 2x6's will probably warp less than the 2x12.
 
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Old 12-18-15, 06:17 PM
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getyourshine on... private message me and I'll shoot you a picture I drew.
 

Last edited by XSleeper; 12-18-15 at 08:31 PM.
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Old 12-19-15, 05:13 AM
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As Msradell said it's better to use two 2x6s [or 1x6s] rather than one 2x12 Besides less chance of it warping the wider boards are prone to crack over time when exposed to the elements.
 
 

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