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Old 11-14-2012, 06:35 PM   #1
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Stone Steps - Riser & Tread


Hello. This is my first post at DIY.

I have a contractor making some improvements to my front porch. We are replacing the old stone skirting and steps with new stone. I'm a little concerned about the details of the proposed new steps. The total riser height is 33" and width of the steps will be about 6'. The contractor is suggesting 6 steps - 5.5" riser and a 16" wide tread. Personally, I feel that 5 steps would have a better curb appeal. Also, everything I read online says that your riser + tread should equal 17-18. Is it common to have a riser less than 6" with wide steps? Any advice?


Last edited by BradL; 11-14-2012 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:25 PM   #2
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Stone Steps - Riser & Tread


5 or 6 steps would be fine. I always think that a 7" x 11" in step is really comfortable to walk up. 5 steps put you at 6.6".
A 16" tread, I dunno maybe others will have a comment on it. They are almost wide enough you may have to take a 1/2 step or shuffle, to get to the next step.
The low riser hight is fine and will be easy to walk up, not so sure about a 16" tread.
I would almost want to mock up something just to try that depth, before building it.

I have never built stairs from stone, do not know what kind of material you are working with.
Maybe it is what widths the material comes in and less labor for cutting?
Just seems awkward width to me.

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Old 01-04-2013, 11:12 PM   #3
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Stone Steps - Riser & Tread


UBC spells out steps rule. 6.5 to 7-3/4" riser plus tread equals 17". When you stay in this range, this is what our muscle memory is programmed for. Deviation outside is uncomfortable.

Here is a website that spells it out clearly:
http://inspectapedia.com/Stairs/Stair_Risers.htm
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:19 AM   #4
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Stone Steps - Riser & Tread


I was taught the following in regards to stairs:

1. The slope of the stairs (rise-to-run ratio) should be between 30 and 35 degrees
2. The sum of two risers and one tread should equal 25 inches.
3. The product of the riser height multiplied by the tread depth should equal approximately 75 inches
4. The sum of one riser and one tread should equal 17 to 18 inches

with 5 steps your riser height would be 33"/5 = 6.6" tread works out about 11.5"

(2)6.6" + 11.5" tread = 24.7 inches
6.6" x 11.5" = 75.9 inches
6.6" + 11.5" = 18.1"
angle = 29.85 degrees

with 6 steps your riser height would be 33"/6 = 5.5" tread works out about 13.5"

(2)5.5" + 13.5" = 24.5 inches
5.5" x 13.5" = 74.25 inches
5.5" = 13.5" = 19.0"
angle = 22.17 degrees

I'd go with the 5 steps myself

Typically the wider the tread the lower the riser height, unless you want uncomfortable stairs. 2009 International Residential Code put the maximum riser height at 7-3/4", your code may be different.

Just my humble thoughts ...... Good luck!
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:31 AM   #5
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Stone Steps - Riser & Tread


It's all preference IMO, but 5.5" is about as small of a step as you want IMO, and shouldn't be a problem. The 16" tread should be fine as well IMO. I've never seen a maximum tread length, or a combination of tread+riser, maximum......
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:50 PM   #6
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Stone Steps - Riser & Tread


whoever said you won't need math when you get outta skool ?
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:53 PM   #7
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Stone Steps - Riser & Tread


I agree with jomama, I don't like steps less than 6" in height, can become a tripping hazard

and I didn't use math, I used arithmetic on my abacus. They starting teaching math after I got out of skool

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