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With Instructables you can share what you make with the world, and tap into an ever-growing community of creative experts. A healthy diet is not about strict nutrition philosophies, staying extremely thin, or depriving yourself of foods you love. Here using simple arithmetic we explain how to make stair design calculations: number of steps, step riser height, total stair height or rise, total stair length or run. We explain how total elevation change between two levels or floors (rise) and stair length (run) are used to calculate the right measurements when building indoor or exterior stairs to fit the building or the terrain. We describe how to translate the stair rise and run into a specific number of stair treads and risers that will be uniform and of proper (safe) dimension. What rules-of-thumb should I follow to build a comfortable walk-able low angle staircase? I've seen several rules such as the sum of one tread and one riser should always be equal or greater than 17; or two treads plus one riser should add up to around 28 or 29. The concept is that a low rise stair usually has, just as you suggest, a tread that provides a "longer" walking surface. Our exterior stair photo at left illustrates one stair builder's approach to a low slope stairway. And of course long stair runs due to a very tall total rise (more than 12 feet) also is likely to require an intermediate stair platform as well.
So I marked off the landing locations and simply walked up and down the slope while counting the number of steps I took as I did so. In this case I took 14 steps to travel the slope which equates to 14 treads - 24a€? long. I also counted steps made on level ground over the same distance as the length of the stair and came up with 12 so I think 14 is conservative considering the slope but about right for my needs. Based on the figures you provided we describe for other readers the basics of stair design calculations that consider total rise, total run, and step riser height and step tread depth.
Of course you'll want to make the stair treads deeper front-to back to make such short rise steps safe and comfortable. And secure hand railings on both sides of the stairs will be important for folks for whom stairs are difficult. The problem is this: you can indeed re-build a stairway to reduce the riser height but to do so the depth of each tread has to increase significantly too. In the interior of most homes, doubling the run of a stairway between floors would be horribly expensive - if it would fit at all, or making a long stairway that winds or turns - taking more room in other dimensions. I suspect that the cost of a stair rebuild indoors would be much higher than the cost of adding a stair lift. Definition of stairway run: the run of a stairway is the total horizontal distance traveled by a walker using the stairs, from the first riser to the last riser. Definition of stairway rise: the rise of a stairway is the total vertical height of a stairway between the walking surface just before the first stairway tread or step up and the beginning of the horizontal walking surface reached at the top of the stairs.
Here is how you can measure the actual stair rise and run, followed by how to calculate the same data. Our first illustration at left shows an example rise and run for a simple uniform-tread depth and riser height stairway.
Simply extend a measuring tape down through the stairway opening in the upper floor and measure the distance between the surface of the upper floor or level and the surface of the lower floor or level.
But measuring the rise and run between two elevations that are not parallel and not flat, such as for an exterior stairway built over sloping ground can be more difficult (you cannot measure the vertical distance directly as we did above). What many stair builders do is simply lay a (hopefully straight) stair stringer between the two elevations, measure the actual rise and run distances, and lay-out the stair dimensions on the fly by measuring and marking along the side surface of the stringer. The approach of placing a stringer along the desired stair slope, measuring and marking layout immediately on the stringer works acceptably if terrain shape permits and if you are careful with stair layout.
The direct stairway layout marking along the stair stringer is easy if we are building interior stairs between floors (sketch at left) or exterior stairs down a concave slope (sketch below left) but this approach won't handle a convex slope (below right) unless we first excavate the hillside or raise the entire stair design and assembly to span above the high point on the slope. However some terrain shapes are irregular enough or are humped so that you cannot just take off measurements directly. Certainly designing and building stairs with uniform tread depth and riser height over rough ground like that in our photo (left) can be a serious challenge. Here we provide an alternative crude but effective approach to stair rise and run measurement using string, plumb line, and level, along with a stick or board (or two of them) of sufficient length. Basically we project a horizontal line out from the upper elevation over the landing spot for the stairway, using that line to measure both stair run and stair rise accurately. If the horizontal run distance is small, you can get by with straight lumber tacked in place temporarily to permit measurement of horizontal run projection and vertical rise. Make certain that the horizontal boards are straight and that they are held level and that your vertical board, useful for holding up the outer end of that upper horizontal member is also vertical.
For longer distances than the length of boards you have on hand, you will do fine with string to set out the horizontal distance, a vertical pole, and a plumb line and measuring tape. Below, for completeness but in small font, we include how to obtain stair rise and run lengths using sine and cosine tables - not a process we are seriously recommending.
Our photo shows a stairway during construction by the author & an associate (Arthur Cady).
By supporting the stringer above the hillside we bypassed the irregularities of the slope itself,but as you can see from the photo, because we had to land on a sloping surface the two stringers could not be identical, yet they had to line up properly for the treads to be level. Using the longer (downhill) stringer as the mater pattern we measured and laid out the tread positions along the stringer surface, then aligned the two stringer tops and mapped the master layout onto the inner side of the uphill, shorter stringer. Best design would have insisted on a level landing platform at the stair bottom but in the real world we can't always meet that criteria.
Had we installed a level landing platform the drive would have become unusable by the client's vehicles. The geometry approach to calculating stair rise and run over rough terrain when you have only two measurements works correctly provided you know enough triangular geometry to convert between your sloped-line measurement (the hypotenuse of the triangle) and the triangle's other sides that form the rise & run dimensions. In a geometry or trigonometry text you'll see that when we refer to the angle ab we mean the angle formed at the intersection of lines a and b, or in this case the lower left angle in our sketch. Geometry teaches that if we know three pieces of data about a right triangle (one side length and two angles, or two side lengths and one angle) we can obtain all of the other data about a triangle - all of its angles, and the actual lengths of all of its sides. Our carpenter's square at left is one such tool, though there are some neat level tools that, placed on a slope, will simply give you the angle directly as a readout.
If you don't think this whole sine-cosine process is absolutely horrible for field use in building a set of stairs then we're not on the same planet. We can and often do use this basic right triangle function a2 =b2 +c2 in deck building to be sure that we are placing the deck sides at right angles to the building by using the 6-8-10 rule to make sure that a floor or deck is square or at right angles to a building wall.


Stair codes talk about slope chiefly when discussing how much out of level a stair tread may be from front to rear or from side to side to avoid a slip and fall hazard. In our photo you can see an implementation of a stairway on a very low slope rise at the Mohammed V.
Really this means we need 19 steps up or 19 risers to make up the vertical rise - the total change in grade.
Watch out: we still have to check the riser height and actual number of steps against the horizontal run space as follows.
For most indoor and many outdoor steps and stairs we simply choose a standard tread width (say 11") and we allow the number of steps to determine the total horizontal run of the stair case. But for our example low-slope outdoor stair situation, the stairs have to climb a low slope, traversing extra distance. The total rise needed for the stairs is in conflict with the total run needed for the stairs. In other words, you can't keep stair riser height within an acceptable range and traverse the horizontal run distance without deepening the stair treads.
This means you're going to make your stair treads deeper, but unfortunately, keeping riser height to within acceptable bounds and making the stair run match the required length, the result may be an awkward halting-walk stairway. At left there is a trip hazard (a toe catcher) on these outdoor steps because the landscape ties extend up above the black asphalt walking surface near the end of the stair step.
Question: Using pre-fab stairs - Is there an exception to the riser height variation for the very first step of the staircase? Watch out: be sure to measure the height difference (deck surface to ground surface) at a projected point along a horizontal line from the edge of the deck out to the location, in horizontal distance, of the front edge of the nose of the very first or lowest step of the stairway. If you need a greater adjustment in the stair height between the ground surface and the deck surface in order to avoid having to re-cut a whole new pair of stair stringers, sometimes that can be accommodated by changing the height of the surface of the concrete or other masonry platform that many building departments and local codes require be placed as a landing at the bottom of the stairs. What is the run length needed for a rise of 108" using an 11" tread depth and 8" step rise - A.K. It's important to get comfortable with the basic math in stair calculations, and it's not too hard. Since an 8-inch step riser height is a bit too high for safe comfortable stairway use anyway, instead of trying a still taller step to calculate the number of steps needed, I tried smaller stair rises.
Now with 15 risers, if I make the individual tread depth (that's the horizontal tread run distance) 11 inches, our stairway will have a run of 15 x 11 = 165" in length.
I'd check to be sure that we had proper head clearance for the stairwell and that a run of 165" doesn't run into a horizontal distance or space problem before framing the stairs. Question: how can I calculate stair tread rise & depth from stair slope measured in degrees? In the United States stair specifications for climbable steps are discussed by the Americans with Disabilities Act, section 4.9, Stairs, from which we excerpt below. Continue reading at STAIR RISER SPECIFICATIONS or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below. I have a question about sealing (not surface sealing) but end sealing of stairs so that dust does not come up and stair ends of carpet. However,if there are AIR LEAKS through the stairs the dust deposited by moving air could show up as dark stains. Is there a code for building outdoor steps made of natural material such as used granite curbing?
My problem is that the stairwell will need to be very, very short as I do not have that much space for it as it will end close to a foundation wall.
If you can't meet safe stair tread dimensions of rise and run with your existing design you most likely need to change the design to make a longer total stairway run and then include a turn or intermediate platform. See STAIR DIMENSIONS, WIDTH, HEIGHT to read a complete series of articles on stair dimensions. My problem is, I do not have a lot of boards that are at least 10 inches wide and was wondering if I can splice together two smaller boards to make some of the treads, especially if I put the narrower board towards the back.
I've often built-up wider boards using a biscuit joiner and Gorilla glue or other polyurethane glues. OSHA estimates that there are 24,882 injuries and as many as 36 fatalities per year due to falls from stairways and ladders used in construction.
Our recommended books about building & mechanical systems design, inspection, problem diagnosis, and repair, and about indoor environment and IAQ testing, diagnosis, and cleanup are at the InspectAPedia Bookstore.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors.
You can add a ground-level deck to your outdoor space and expand the options for dining al fresco, entertaining and relaxing.
The E-Z Tower Deer stand brackets are of a heavy gauge steel bracket that quickly & easily attaches to the corners of a hunting blind with basic lag screws or bolts.
The advantage of a floating deck is that it is possible to be moved to any location in the yard. The reason for asking is that someone said it would allow the snow and water to run under the deck where it meets the house where it is attached to the house. Normally, I do not make comments on website, but I have to mention that this post really pushed me to do so.
Stair design basics: calculating step riser height, step tread depth, total rise, total run, intermediate platform lengths.
Details of methods for accurate stairway rise & run measurement are provided for tough cases such as building a stair over steep slopes and irregular surfaces. We also describe how to design and build low-slope or low angle stairways with special consideration for tread and landing dimensions to avoid halting-walk stairs and other trip hazards. Bernie Campbalik who taught us carpentry, including stair building, used a rule of thumb that basically makes the run longer when the rise is shorter.
He used a combination of asphalt and landscape ties to build these nice looking steps that incorporate several trip hazards. On these stairs the wet wooden landscape tie will be more slippery than the asphalt walking surface. While generally it's good to use a deeper stair tread (treads less than 11-inches in depth are not recommended), there may be some intermediate depths (or step run) such as around two feet that make for awkward walking and may risk stair falls.
I now think any rule can at best only make general recommendations for all the low-slope possibilities. Meanwhile I'll provide my own versions, not to scale, of your stair dimension proposal and an alternative that you might want to consider and then adjust to your taste.
For example if you have a total rise of five feet and you want a 3-inch step rise you'd divide (5x12=60) 60 inches by 3 inches to get 20 steps that you'd need to build to climb up five feet. That means that the entire run (horizontal length) of the stairway will get much longer than it is now, perhaps double.
It's easy to measure the horizontal run and vertical rise for a stairway built between two parallel and flat surfaces - such as inside a building between two floors.
If you're not careful you will make a measurement error, leading to miscalculations among total rise, run, and step and riser dimensions. It's better to make an accurate and direct measurement of the stairway run and rise so that your calculated tread depths and riser heights will be proper and uniform.


Typically we use our stringer 2x lumber (before it has been cut to length) for this purpose since by definition the diagonal stringer will be longer than the horizontal stair run. We faced a double difficulty of constructing a (replacement) exterior stairway over a rough hillside and stairs that had to land on a sloping surface. The treads were placed between the stringers, supported by both cleats and end-nailing through the stringers from outside. The result is a first step with uneven riser height depending on where you enter the stairway. Using a calculator and it's square root function, and the most basic knowledge of geometry is not enough - we also need a table of sine and cosine values, functions readily found these days online. You can do this using a transit, a protractor or other angle measuring tool either by placing your angular measuring tool on the sloped surface of the stringer side a, or by actually measuring the angle formed between side a and a horizontal or level surface.
Actually I don't like an 11-inch deep tread with such a short rise but it's code compliant. But there is a second trip hazard: the total step depth from nose to riser may be too short for comfortable walking. That will avoid any error in calculating total stairway height due to any slope in the actual ground surface.
Stair tread ends, typically oak, do not emit dust particles againt which sealing would be needed. IN that case the air leaks might be at any of the four sides of a stair tread and would probably vary from one step to another. Building codes typically are performance-based in thinking and do not usually address specific materials. I am building a new staircase to my basement via a big utility closet which I do not use (36x36).
When I've tested the joints by trying to split such a board the split breaks elsewhere in the wood, not at the joint.
Nearly half of these injuries are serious enough to require time off the job--11,570 lost workday injuries and 13,312 non-lost workday injuries occur annually due to falls from stairways and ladders used in construction. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively.
This guide will show you how the decking was assembled, and the approximate time it took for each step. The E-Z Tower bracket has integrated leg sockets that allow any length of 4×4 post to slide up inside, creating legs under your blind.
This allows the 4×4 legs to stay at a narrow stance to be used as the ladder rung supports as well. I teach kindergarten and I'm going to make a theme, and photographs have given me so many ideas! Finally, we also explain how to adjust factory-built or pre-fab stairs to the exact stair rise dimension in your installation. If we make the rise too short (under 4 inches of rise) it's not a step at all, it's a trip hazard.
Walkers will naturally tend to step on the wooden surface because it forms the leading edge of each step.
A better stair design may involve increasing the rise and lengthening one or more steps into a platform of 36" or more of horizontal walking surface. I figured that if I could determine the optimum number of steps to comfortably traverse the distance of the slope of my proposed staircase I would then know the correct number of treads.
The builders made each step a long walking surface, more than 36-inches in this case, and they also provided a visual cue of the location of each step by using a light colored stone riser. You can use granite curbing or any other material for steps provided the steps are properly constructed. 6 ft of open space after opening up and extending the closet flooring space for some length of the run. I am now looking to turn them into my new stairs, as mine were made with 2x10s before I bought the house, not exactly attractive. The adhesion and friction forces of the confined biopolymer were monitored as a function of time, shearing distance, and driving velocity under a large range of compressive loads (pressures). Study of frictional values of car tires involved in collisions on snow or ice covered roadways.
The bracket design tilts each leg out 15 degrees to each side, creating the strongest & most stable tower available. This is where the person was thinking of the rot that would occur under the sideing and between the house and the deck. Vitamins function in many metabolic reactions that occur in foods consumed in the body, control of vitamins and energy metabolism of our body. Existing stairway will be demo'ed and floored over for larger dining room (pre 1950 house). Town code needs one means of egress which is already present via the walkout basement doors.
I clamp both edge to edge and I use additional lumber and clamps to hold the boards dead flat against cupping during drying of the glue. Better would have been an original calculation of the total number of steps and risers for the whole stair run, making all steps identical in rise and run.
More importantly, they show that compliance with OSHA's requirements for the safe use of ladders and stairways could have prevented many of these injuries. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. What would the joist be attached to for strength and the sona tubes would they go near the house? When the glue has dried I remove the clamps and sand the extruded extra glue off leaving a nice surface. Galow specializes in residential construction including both new homes and repairs, renovations, and additions. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. An elevating tower can be made any height you want, by simply inserting your desired length of post.
Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Just cut the wooden legs to size & get your blind set in the best spot, whether it’s level or not!
Never again be stuck to standing your blind off the best spot, simply because it’s unlevel.



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how to build a level platform for a shed



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