There are a lot of formulas and math to building
stairs. I took a look at them and decided that I wanted my stairs to
have a 7" rise and a 9.5" tread so I'd have plenty of room for my
feet going up the stairs and wouldn't have to lift my old feet too high carrying a load. Of course when you're doing that
math you have to keep in mind that you'll be adding the step on top and I used 2"X10"X12" boards to make
my steps. One board would make three steps that way with a four foot
stairway. Of course, they always cheat you with lumber! You never get
2"X10"; what you actually get is 1.75"X9.5" so my actual steps are 9.5" instead of
10" and I had to adjust for 1.75" of thickness instead of 2" when figuring for the height of the step. But,
if you ever do this you'll figure it out. If not, just give me a holler and I'll help ya out a mite.
Not, like I've
said before, I like to make sure everything is strong so I used four
stringers instead of three like they said I could at the lumber place. And here is another little fact; your lumber is
NOT going to be perfectly straight unless you're willing to go through about 100 pieces to get four good ones!! I tell you
that the lumber business is in a sorry state these days. I remember being able to buy straight wood without too much problem.
But, I regress.
When you lay out your first stringer make
sure you use a carpenter's square and those little special stair clamps you can get to put it that are made just for
measuring stair treads. I put one at 7" and the other at 10"
and drew a line and measured it and, of course it was off so I went
back and made adjustments until I had it right. Then I started marking my 2"X12"X16' board. Now, how
did I know I need a 16' board? Well, my room is 8' (96") plus the 10"
joist (9.5") plus the 3/4" decking (floor) so that makes
the floor of my loft where the stairs need to go 106.25". Divide that by 7 and that gives you 15.18
steps. If they are all 10" then you need a 16' board; simply! After you lay out
the first board AND BEFORE YOU CUT ANYTHING, haul that heavy sucker
up and set it in place to see how it looks. Check out the bottom and make sure that you can cut it
off horizontal so your steps will be level with the floor and your first step will be 7
inches from the floor (if that is your choice). If everything looks
good then cut it and use it to cut the rest. Be sure to always cut each board with the crown
(or bow in the wood) UP and always use your first piece as your pattern. DO NOT use the next piece
as your pattern. Errors will multiply! OK, here are my stringers and
a picture of the 4"X4" posts I used for added strength in the center
and for the hand rail support. I also included a picture of the floor anchor for the posts. The posts are anchored
to the floor and then anchored to the stringer with lag bolts.
you've noticed I've added Three 2"X4" at the bottom for a
kick-plate. This will make sure the stairs will never move forward. I designed it so that there will actually be a 2"X10"
step glued and screw on top of these when I'm finished for better looks
and added strength and security. Those stringers are not going anywhere!
Also, if you not in the picture on the above right, I placed a center support that spans all four stringers
and is supported by a 4"X4" post. That is a 2"X10" board nailed
to the top of the post and then nailed to the stringer and anchored
to the floor. I love added strength and security!
it is time for the stairs. I cut them all at the same time to 48" and secured them to the stringers
with"Locktite Power Grab" and three 3" screws in each stringer. If
one of your stringers has a bow in it just put a clamp on it before
you screw it down and you'll be fine. After all the steps are on it is time to take a well-earned
break because the next thing is to try to get that heavy 3/4" flooring up those steps.
Here is a final picture of the steps. Gene
Installing the Floor
problem with installing the floor is getting that heavy stuff from the
floor of the barn to the top of the loft. I can pick it up and carry it to the stairs but really didn't want to try
carrying it UP those stairs so I decided to lay it down and slide it up
the stairs. It worked great! Now, remember that I said that I ran
the joists on 16" centers starting with the first wall I built? Well, I started installing the flooring
from the other end because it butted up against the existing structure on two sides.
Oops! As you can tell from the picture below I had to add an additional
2"X4" to one of my joists for the flooring to screw in to. Oh well! All flooring
was installed with screws.
Now it is on to the next project of adding some rails to the stairs
and to the loft. I don't want to fall of this baby and get hurt. It
might be a while before someone checks on me and it is COLD outside.