How to Install Wooden Stairs

wooden stairs

When it comes from getting from point A to point B and point B is at a higher altitude than A, wooden stairs are your best bet. Not only will they get you there, but it is an easy enough task to install them that you can do it yourself. Follow these steps to install wooden stairs in your home.

Remove the Lip

Typical construction stairs are designed with a lip on the front to help hold the carpet in place. The first thing you will need to do is remove this nosing. Use a power saw to trim it right off. Wear proper safety goggles when operating power tools.

Cover the Stringer

A stringer is the sidewall of your step. They are exposed; therefore, they must be covered. The best option is to use a decorative .25-inch thick plywood that matches the new steps. In some cases, a stringer already exists and will need to be refaced with a nicer one. To ensure that you do not ruin the plywood, it is advisable to cut a long strip of cardboard to create a template first. Once you have perfected the template, use it to cut the plywood for the stringer.

Create the Risers

The risers are the pieces that are attached to the back of each step. Use the same plywood that was used for the stringer to create risers for each step. Fit and number each piece, starting at the top and working your way down. You will discover that not every riser is exactly the same size.

Trim the Stairs

You will see that not all of the stairs are the same size either. Fit them and number them in the same fashion as the risers.

Finishing the Wood

Take all of your various pieces off-site and finish them. Lather the top side with the finish and allow drying time. Most polyurethane does not come to full strength for 24 to 48 hours, so it is imperative that you allow the wood to sit and dry for the full length of time. You may become impatient seeing a bare staircase; however, do not give in to your desires to finish the project without allowing the finish to be properly set. Failing to wait the full amount of time will result in wood that is easily dented, which is not the ideal material for stairs that will be stepped traveled frequently.


Install the stringer covering that you created in Step 1. Using construction glue, attach it to the wall. Apply a few nails toward the bottom of the stringer, where they will eventually be out of sight. Start at the top of the stairs. Glue the first piece of plywood to the main floor nosing. Add a few finishing nails to secure the structure.

Apply construction glue to the back edge of the first tread. Place it at the bottom of the first riser. Continue this process with the rest of the stairs until the job has been completed.