Hardwood Staircase Construction Step-by-Step Hardwood Staircase Construction Step-by-Step

What You'll Need
8-foot long 2x4s (10)
8 foot long 2x6s (10)
10-foot long 2x12s (4)
Measuring tape
Framing square
Circular saw

Building a hardwood staircase requires some basic carpentry skills, attention to detail and a lot of patience. It is a useful skill for building decks and doing home renovations and can set you apart from being able to complete basic household projects to doing more complex renovations around your home.

How to Build a Hardwood Staircase

Step 1 – Begin by laying a 2x4 on the landing, standing up on its side. Use the level before measuring.

Determine the rise of the stairs by measuring from the top of the plank down to the ground floor. Divide this number by 7, the typical rise per step in inches. The resulting number is the number of steps with a 7-inch rise per step.

Step 2 – Next determine the run (or horizontal depth) of the staircase. A typical stair width is between 10.5 and 11.5 inches. Take the number of stairs calculated in Step 1 and multiply that by your selected stair width.

Step 3 – Using the framing square, draw out the notches of the steps onto a 2x12. The framing square has guidepins that can be set to create a firm fit along the other side of the plank. Set the width for 10.5 inches (or your predetermined stair width) and mark the step outline with a pencil. Move the framing square down so that the top pin is where the bottom pin previously was. Repeat this for the number of steps you will be making.

Step 4 – Use a circular saw to cut all the boards along the lines you marked.

Step 5 – Cut the width of the proposed stair tread by trimming the bottom of the stringers. If using 2x6s, they have an approximate width of 1.5 inches, so you would cut 1.5 inches off. Cut the number of stringers that you need for your staircase.

Step 6 – Using your level, drill holes and screw the stringers into place at the top of the landing. One stringer should frame the outside and one should be aligned in the center.

Step 7 – Secure the risers using 2x4 boards. Hammer the risers into their vertical position on the stringers using headless nails. These are difficult to remove, so take care to place them correctly the first time.

Step 8 – Secure the treads using 2x6 boards with hammers and nails. Use two nails per tread.

Step 9 – Once you have completed building your hardwood staircase, protect it by applying a wood stain and lacquer, or priming and painting it.

Take great care to measure accurately and get things right the first time. Accuracy is important for a structurally sound staircase. Double-check your measurements and make sure you are sure to use your level effectively before recording your measurements. Have patience and pay attention to the small details to ensure that your staircase is safe.

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