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Old 10-18-2010, 03:04 PM   #1
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How do I make stringers for steps? The platform is 3.5' high, I want a somewhat flat slope. How do I Figure a 12:1 Slope? The stairs should be 4' wide, how many stringers do I need 2 or 3?

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Old 10-18-2010, 05:04 PM   #2
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There are a number of free software programs on the Internet for sizing stringers. Steps are generally required to fall in a relatively narrow range of sizes, you need to check code in your area. Where I live, outside steps must be less than 7-1/2 inches high, and the tread must be at least 10 inches, with a nosing of between 3/4 and 1-1/4 inches. You didn't say if the steps were inside or outside, I believe the standards are different.

As for number of stringers, in my town you would need at least 4 stringers for a 48 inch wide step for an outside stair. This refers to cut stringers, not solid, I just built a set of stairs for my deck, I used cut stringers, 42 inch wide steps, needed four stringers. Each step was 6 inch rise, 12 inch tread.

As for making the stringers, I designed mine using a CAD program, they are somewhat difficult to design without CAD, but you can purchase a stair stringer program for about $12 that will design the stringers for you. You make most of the cuts with a circular saw, and finish each cut with a handsaw. Code in my area requires a minimum of 2x12 lumber for cut stringers, again code may be different in your area. The layout of your stringers depends on how you plan to attach the stringer to the framing, there are a variety of options, I used Simpson adjustable angle brackets at the top, and twist straps at the bottom, with a nailed on header at the top to help support the bracket.

A 12 to 1 slope would indeed be very flat, if you go with 6 inch rise per step you are going to need 6 steps for a 42 inch elevation difference, and your stringer would be about 6 feet long if you went with a 12 inch tread. To get it flatter, you would need a longer tread, which may be OK, but you really need to check with your local building inspector. At 12:1 you may want to consider a ramp rather than a set of stairs. different design parameters entirely.

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Old 10-18-2010, 06:01 PM   #3
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Google is your friend: http://www.google.ca/search?q=lay+ou...ient=firefox-a
Look at one of those found links to see how a framing square is used for laying out these stringers.
In this case, hold the framing square on the rise (7 ") and the run (11.25") to develop your 6 risers. Pencil the rise and run on the stock and, using a skil saw,make the cuts to the line and a handsaw to finish them off, per Daniel's comment. Cutting through the lines will weaken the stringers.

Here is an image of a stair stringer laid out for 42" overall height using 2 x 12's as stringers and a full 12 inch tread depth. (11.25" run plus 3/4" nosing).
It would meet code in my jurisdiction.
I would also use 4 stringers as per Daniel above. The circle shows that there would be 5" (plus) under the sawtooth cuts, which meets code requirements here.
To further stiffen the stairs, you could sister another 2 x 12 on the outside of the outer stringers and then you would have a 'closed' stringer.
Adding a 2 x 4 to the inside stringers might help also.
Notice that the bottom riser needs to be shortened by the thickness of the tread material so that all rises are the same.

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-18-2010, 06:28 PM   #4
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Aren’t ya a little fat on the tread there J?
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Old 10-18-2010, 06:58 PM   #5
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1 1/2" thick by a full 12" depth of tread. They wanted a 'flatter' slope.
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Old 10-18-2010, 07:28 PM   #6
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1 1/2" thick by a full 12" depth of tread. They wanted a 'flatter' slope.

Ok, treads are 11-11 here. I was taught the perfect run to rise ratio should equal 18, or as close as you can get.

So say on some landscape steps with only a 3 rise the run should be 15.

Not trying nit pick ya J, just board I guess.
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Old 10-18-2010, 08:10 PM   #7
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I generally use 7" rise, 10" run so that a 2 x 12 (11.25") works for the tread giving a full 1.25" nosing.
On the above set, I considered going to a deeper tread, using a 2 x 8 with a 2 x 6, but the rise of 7" was too good to be true.
I use rise times run and target 75 as the product. In your example, the tread would be 25" on a 3" rise. Good for landscaping, but not for stairs.
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Old 10-19-2010, 12:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
There are a number of free software programs on the Internet for sizing stringers. Steps are generally required to fall in a relatively narrow range of sizes, you need to check code in your area. Where I live, outside steps must be less than 7-1/2 inches high, and the tread must be at least 10 inches, with a nosing of between 3/4 and 1-1/4 inches. You didn't say if the steps were inside or outside, I believe the standards are different.

As for number of stringers, in my town you would need at least 4 stringers for a 48 inch wide step for an outside stair. This refers to cut stringers, not solid, I just built a set of stairs for my deck, I used cut stringers, 42 inch wide steps, needed four stringers. Each step was 6 inch rise, 12 inch tread.

As for making the stringers, I designed mine using a CAD program, they are somewhat difficult to design without CAD, but you can purchase a stair stringer program for about $12 that will design the stringers for you. You make most of the cuts with a circular saw, and finish each cut with a handsaw. Code in my area requires a minimum of 2x12 lumber for cut stringers, again code may be different in your area. The layout of your stringers depends on how you plan to attach the stringer to the framing, there are a variety of options, I used Simpson adjustable angle brackets at the top, and twist straps at the bottom, with a nailed on header at the top to help support the bracket.

A 12 to 1 slope would indeed be very flat, if you go with 6 inch rise per step you are going to need 6 steps for a 42 inch elevation difference, and your stringer would be about 6 feet long if you went with a 12 inch tread. To get it flatter, you would need a longer tread, which may be OK, but you really need to check with your local building inspector. At 12:1 you may want to consider a ramp rather than a set of stairs. different design parameters entirely.
Thank you very much. This will help.

Last edited by fsola01; 10-19-2010 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 10-19-2010, 12:08 PM   #9
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Can you post a picture?
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Old 10-19-2010, 12:12 PM   #10
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Thank you guys very much, I got bits and pieces from all of you that will be extremely helpful.

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