Building hardwood stairs

Building hardwood stairs can be a little tricky for first-time homebuilders. If a landing is added, the project can even be more challenging. It’s not too difficult to figure out if you just think for a second what it is you are trying to do.

stairMost carpenters don’t install stairways until the framing has been completed and some even consider it part of the finish work. This is especially true when using expensive materials for hardwood stairs or even laminate flooring stairs.

You need to consider what type of stairway is best. This depends mostly on what kind of space you are dealing with and what your preferences are.

stair parts
This is a long stairway used mostly in cases where there is plenty of space. Basically, your stairs have to reach your second floor and you have just so much floor space to do it with.

If you look at it that way, it’s just a matter of deciding how wide to make the treads, stepping off the number of treads, and then dividing the height of the stairway by the number of treads. That gives you the riser height.


A strong type of lumber needs to be used for the stringers. You need the best lumber you can buy for building stairs. Usually a knot-free 2×12 is the board of choice. You will need to secure the stringers to the top floor with joist hangers.

how to build stairs

When you put the actual tread and riser plates on, you can use either hardwood or tread material specially made for stairs. If the wood will be exposed, a quality hardwood is best because of the durability. If the stairs will be carpeted, you can buy tread material with the rounded nosing and it will hold up just fine.

It’s easier to put the riser plate on first, then the tread plate will lay flush against the riser plate without any gaps. The plates need to be screwed into place. In this case, nails just won’t do the job. Also, if the treads protrude any more than 1 ½ inch beyond the riser, it becomes a tripping hazard.

building stairs

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