How to Build Stairs

When people want to make their house has more than one floor, stairs has become one of the essential items we needed. The existence of the stairs in a house is a vertical circulation between floors. Besides, stairs can be a statement item in a house or an attractive mood booster.

Wrong stairs design is a fatal mistake we should be avoided. It will affect the health of the user, they easily tired even can make them slipping and tripping hazards. Especially, when people in the house is filled with elder and children. 

When we build a staircase, we should consider making a stair that not only comfortable to walk but safe as well. The aesthetic value in stairs is important indeed, but don’t forget about the function as well. What’s the point of impressing people while in fact, it is a danger to take a step on it.

What the Stairs Consist of?

The stairs consist of treads, risers, stringers, baluster, railing, and the landing (conditional).

The treads are the place that we take a step on. The riser is the height of the stairs connecting the treads. The baluster is the fence at either both or one side of the riser to protect the user. While the railing is the handgrip tools on top of the baluster.

The landing is a stopped area. It is made if the height is too long. That is a place to take a rest after long steps.

Part 1: The Design Plan Ideas

As one of an aesthetic spot in a house, the design of the stairs should be considered as well as the concept. Here are some concepts before knowing how to build stairs for yours.

Raw Concept

The raw concept is made by the steel materials and perfect for the open and exposed room. The baluster is made by the thin steel stick that hanging from the ceiling. While of course because of its raw concept, it only fit certain people.

Built-in Storage

A small house needs an effective storage placement. Well, a built-in storage staircase can be an alternative for you to save your space. Have it more aesthetic by arranging drawers for wardrobes under the is perfect for the modern minimalist type of house. 

Modern Glasses

Maybe people will think more before choosing this kind of design, but it is okay if you considering it more and have the best plan before making it real. Well, glasses are a rare material you would use the stairs because you worry that fragile material would not safe. If you want this, you have to consult with the expert before and choose the best and high-quality glasses materials.

Spiral Staircase

Having spiral stairs will make it look aesthetic, we know it as well. The unique form of it and combine it with great railing will attract your guests. [read also ideas of Outdoor Spiral Staircase]

Part 2: Preparing the Materials

The materials you would use to make your staircase is up to you, whether it is steel, glass, concrete or the simple one and affordable one, wooden.
A staircase can be a harmful area, be careful with it. It can cause an unwanted accident. Designing it with great material to reduce the potential of slip off.

Do not use slippery materials. Carpet, textured vinyl, non glossy ceramic are great. Do not use granite or thick finishing wood for the materials. Anti-slip finishing like a step nosing (it is an overhanging lip of the run) or a floor sticker do well if you already set your stairs with a slippery material. While standard nosing is about 1,25”.

While for the railing and baluster, avoid the sharp textured material is a must.

Part 3: Steps to Build Staircase

Measuring the Height from the Floor to the Deck

This is the first thing we do when we have built a stair, of course, measuring the height, or we called it total rise. If you don’t have a plan to make a landing, you just need to measure the total height. While if you want to make a landing, leave some height spaces to put the landing.

Count the Risers

If you have the height of the floor, then divide to count the risers you need to make. The typical riser is about 6,5” to 8” (17 to 20 cm). All in the same height of course.

For example, when you have the total rise is about 85”. Then you divide the total rise by the 7” (in between 6,5” to 8”). So you will get 12,14”. Next round it down and you would get 12”. The actual rise will be got by dividing the total rise by 12” and the result is 7,08”. It is the rise height you should use.

Maybe we’ve seen the exposed staircase that has no risers. But it is a mistake, while beside for the safety of the user, the risers can protect the notched stringers that easily broken or crack.

Calculating the Run

Run, often called tread is a place to put on our feet when stepping the stair. The tread depth is determined by multiplying the number of the. 

The rule of thumb stated that the ideal measurement when we sum between the risers and the treads is 16”-18”. So, the tread must be 8,92” to 10,92”. We can use 10” as it in between.

The common width of the tread is 10” and no less than 9”. It is difficult to carry pieces of furniture above if you have less than 9”. Make it comfortable so you will feel safe when taking a step on it.

Calculating the total run by multiplying the step, 12” x 10” = 120” width of the total run.

Establish The Stringers

To support the risers and treads, you need stringers that placed diagonally underneath them. It attaches, so you will have the sturdy and strong staircase.

Set the stringers diagonally from the top of the deck to the ground, based on the width of the total run that we’ve got.

People would feel uncomfortable to walk in stairs that have a slope for more than 40 degrees. It will make them tired easily. While the ideal slope is about 25-40 degrees. The less of the slope means the more staircases.

Choose to Have Landing or Not

Landing is a rest area in a stair, that usually fit after 10-12 staircase earlier with the first height that is about 1,5-2 m. People decide to have a landing in their staircase is because the height of the first floor and the second floor is too long as more than 16”.

But, if you prefer to have the landing even when it is less than 10 staircases, it is up to you. 

Read more How to Build Stairs Deck

What to do with Railing and Balusters?

Railing and baluster are also important items in a stair. It is a must for the safety of the user.

The Railing

The railing is a hand holding for the safety of your stairs. It is located at the top of the arranged balusters. The ideal height of the railing is about 90-100 cm from the treads. Of course, it is under the children’s reach, but just suit it with the distance of the balusters.

Indoor house stairs usually have one-sided railing only. For a minimalist family house prefers to have their staircases stick to the wall, while for building, they often make it in the middle of the room. So, two side handrails are a must. Another kind of railing and balusters poles type is better than none.

Some kind of railing you can use is volute, turnout, gooseneck, rosette, easings, and core rail.

Read also Staircase Railing Ideas

The Balusters 

While balusters are the border of the stairs. Have your wall like balusters, from concrete materials, is preferable. It is safe and comfortable to walk as well. Children for sure will not slip than if we use poles as balusters like wooden or steel. Because sometimes they can be slipped from the distance from poles to another.

But if the house is all capable of person and you are an artistic type of person, you can choose any kind of railing and balusters you like. Some people even choose not to have because they like it simpler, just the staircase. I didn’t recommend it though, especially if you have elders and children as well.

Choose strong and sturdy materials like steel is better. Use the strong wooden if you decide to have wooden as your baluster material. Set it with a suitable distance, don’t make too much gap so your feet won’t be sliding off of the stairs.

Part 4: Things You Should Consider

Check Local Codes

The minimum riser usually 4” and maximum 7,75”, while the depth is about 10” and the front edge 1” to 1,25”. The measurement must be the same and consistent. Open risers are not recommendable.

Measuring Precisely

The comfortability of the stairs must have a technical condition like the width of the reads that about 10” to 11,25”, so it will fit the steps. The height risers are about 4” to 7,75” and it is perfect for both elder and children. For width is about 36”, and it has 15 to 20 staircases. 

Make sure that the height of the stairs is always the same. Sometimes people unaware and just walk through it without considering the height of the stairs if it is different of course it will dangerous.

Comfortability and Safety

The important rules we should remember in order to know how to build stairs actually only two, the comfortability and safety.

The comfortability that can be achieved when we know the perfect measurement related to the length, height, and slope; the safety of the stairs is related to the steady and firmness of the stair’s structure, railing and baluster as a handgrip when we step on stairs.

Lighting to Your Staircase

The function of the lighting is for the safety of the user when taking a step. Imagining stepping in dark staircases is not really a pleasant thing to do. 

Part 5: Finishing the Staircase 

Adding Some Carpets

Finishing your staircase can be fun. Adding the carpets can be another option if you think the material of the treads is too slippery. It can give a warm and inviting feeling. Also, if you are tripping, the surface of the staircase is soft because of the carpets and less dangerous. It is toddler-friendly as well.

Paint and Varnish It

While if you don’t want to add the carpets, paint the staircase with your favorite color or just varnish it to give natural color only if you use wood as the material.

As you know, recently some places paint their staircases differently like the color of the rainbow. Well, if you like that you can try it on your risers and treads. It will give a quirky vibe to your house.

The railing and baluster can be your creative space too.

Placing Photos in the Wall

Besides the staircase, there is the space you can use your creativity on. They are the walls. You can hang the photos on the wall if your staircase is attached to the side of the walls.
While photos can give you recalled the memories as you take every step on. It can please your guests too when taking a staircase is such a tiring thing to do.


Now you know that build a staircase may little difficult if you didn’t make it fun yourself. Well, precision will help you to get the perfect shape of your dreamy staircase. Avoid slippery materials is a must.

High risers can make it uncomfortable to walk because it is hard to climb. While if it is too short, it will make it tripped easily and that’s dangerous of course. Do not set the treads narrowly, because it is uncomfortable to step on it. 

I recommend you to stick to the code and of course consult about the recommended measurement. If you are still confused, feel free to ask more about how to build stairs and consult to get your ideal one.

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