Stair Building

It takes good carpentry skills in stair building. On this page I will be explaining the different types of stairs and the terminology that is used when building stairs. Stairs, stairway, staircase are terms used to designate one or more fights of steps leading from one level of a structure to another. Stairs are further defined as finish or service stairs. Finish stairs extend from one habitable to a no habitable level. Stairways in residential construction should be at least 36 inches wide-preferably even wider. This allows the passage of two persons at a time and for the moving of furniture. Many codes restrict the maximum height of a single flight of stairs to 12 feet.

Types of Stairways

A straight stairway is continuous from one floor to another. There are no turns or landings. Platform stairs have intermediate landings between floors. Platform-type stairs sometimes change direction at the landing. An L-type platform stairway changes direction 90 degrees. A U-type platform stairway changes direction 180 degrees.

Platform stairs are installed in buildings in which there is a higher floor-to-floor level. They also provide a temporary resting place. They are a safety feature in case of falls. The landing is usually constructed at about the middle of the staircase.

A winding staircase usually changes direction as it ascends from one floor to another. In many cases, only a part of the staircase winds. Winding stairs may solve the problem of a shorter straight horizontal run. However there use is not recommended. They are relatively difficult to construct. They pose a danger because of their tapered treads, which are very narrow on one end.

Stairways constructed between walls are called closed stairways. Closed stairways are more economical to build. However, they add little charm or beauty to a building. Stairways that have one or both sides open to a room are called open stairways. One side of the staircase can be closed while the other side is open for all or part of the flight. Usually a staircase is the outstanding feature of an entrance. It provides beauty and grace to a room. A staircase generally affects the character of the entire interior.

Stair Building Terms

Here are some major terms in building stairs that you should know.

Total Rise, of a stairway is the vertical distance between finish floors.

Total Run is the total horizontal distance that the stairway covers.

A rise is the vertical distance from one step to another. A riser is the finish material that covers the distance.

The Tread Run is the horizontal distance between the faces of the riser. A tread is the horizontal member on which the feet are placed when climbing or descending the stairs. The nosing is the part of the tread that extends beyond the face of the riser

A stair carriage is sometimes called a stair horse or rough stringer. It is usually nominal

A stairwell is an opening in the floor for the use of the stairway to pass through. It provides adequate for persons using the stairs.

Stair Building Housed Stringer Staircase

For the housed stringer staircase, the framing crew frames only the stairwell. The staircase is installed when the house is ready for finishing. Dadoes are routed into the sides of the finish stringer. They house and support the risers and treads.

Occasionally the finish builds a housed stringer on the job site. A router and jig are used to dado the stringers. Then the treads, risers, and other stair parts are cut to size. The staircase is then assembled. Stair carriages are not required when the house finish stringer method of construction is used

Stair building in Job-Built Staircase the job-built staircase uses stair carriages that are installed when the structure is being framed. The carriage is layer out for cutouts. Temporarily rough treads are installed for easy access to upper levels until they are ready for the finish treads and other stair trim

Stair building at times takes great carpentry skills to master. Here is more on carpentry skills.

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