Stairs Calculator for the Neophyte

Using a stairs calculator will help you to work out the number of risers and runners you need to build in order for your stairs to reach the next level. The calculator measures the rise of the stairs so that you can work out how many steps you will need to achieve what is known as the 'total rise'. As a tool to helping the amateur to work out exactly the right number for their own stairs, you could not do any better than to use these kinds of equipment. Making the best out of your stairs calculator will help you to manage your stairs more efficiently.

Making the Measurements

Before you can use the stairs calculator, you need to work out the total length of your stairs. This calculation, known as the Total Rise, is the one area where you have no flexibility. This is the length from the top of the bottom floor up to the top of the lower floor. You can take this measurement in inches or in centimeters, depending upon where you live, as there are suitable stairs calculators for both.

As well as the Total Rise, you also need to include a Total Run, which is the length of the stairs, plus any additional length at the bottom, which will serve as a landing. The Total Run does not need to be any wider than the stairs, but it will need to be longer. You will need at least enough length for the person to turn around when holding something large (such as a laundry basket or a suitcase).

Building Codes

As well as calculating these measurements, you will also have to contact your local authority and work out the height of each individual stair rise. Most building codes will require a maximum height of around seven and three-quarters of an inch, although this may vary between states, and in local districts. Your staircase will have to conform to the local building codes, otherwise, you may find yourself having to remove it and begin again. Always check the exact requirements of the building code before beginning projects such as building stairs.

Using the Stair Calculator

In order to work out the correct height of the stair, you can either use an Online stair calculator, or you can work it out using simple math. The chief aim of the stair calculator is to work out the length of the step plus its height. Begin by calculating the number of risers you need by dividing the Total Rise of your staircase by the maximum stair rise allowed in your area. If you get a number with a decimal, even it out to the next whole number.

You should then divide the Total Rise by this whole number again to determine the height of each of your risers. Take this final number and then add the minimum tread depth for your building code. Divide the length of the stair space by the total tread length, in exactly the same way as above. You should extract one of the treads from your final result, as this is the landing space.