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econdave 05-03-2006 06:02 AM

Outside Stairs
I need to build stringers for a stair case outside. I need 7 steps, can I take a stringer I already have, it is 5 step and just trace it out and add two more steps moving the stringer down the board and trace it? I am not a great carpenter but I think this would work. Thanks...

IHI 05-03-2006 06:07 AM

Just be sure the risers come out to the same height fromthe bottom step to the top step, typically your allowed a 3/8" variance at most between anyone riser. So your quick answer is yes, that will work.

But there is'nt too much involved laying out risers from scratch so they're perfect so keep that in the back of your mind as well, I always hate walking up decks and have that 1 step that it obvious lower/higher than the others...not to mention it is'nt code when it's that noticable LOL!!

econdave 05-03-2006 06:56 AM

thanks for the reply, this is not going to a deck, there is a bank that goes down to my barn, right now there are concrete blocks as steps and they are terrible. So tracing them will work, I am not a very good carpenter so I though this would be the easiest way to do it.

econdave 05-04-2006 02:47 PM

from what I gather, the typical step is 7 inch riser and 11 inch tread? is that correct? thank you

IHI 05-04-2006 04:12 PM

Yes, that's the "norm" but very rarely when making/installing steps do they ever come out perfect so they typically end up a little shorter than the "standard" 7 inches. Just did a lil porch with recessed steps and they came out to be 6 11/16" risers. Did a set of basement to first floor steps a week or so ago and they came out to be 6 13/16" it all depends on the exact finished floor to finished floor height and then doing the math from there.

If your doing a project and want the exact height let me know what your finished to finished floor height is and I can fill in the specs for ya to make them come out perfect as they should be. As per code here, there CANNOT be any more than 3/8" variance between height in any of the risers from the very first to the very top. oh should add "norm" is 7" rise and 10" tread. This way on the tread you can use a standard 2x12 for the tread and have enough overhang to install the kick board/rise. You start getting any deeper than the 10" cut and you will need to jump upto an LVL for the stringer since there is'nt enough meat left in a standard 2x12 past a 10" tread cut.

bob the builder 05-04-2006 07:01 PM

IHI, here there is only a 3/16 variation in steps, and the inspectors pull out the tape and are always so hung up on it for some reason?


IHI 05-04-2006 07:15 PM


Originally Posted by bob the builder
IHI, here there is only a 3/16 variation in steps, and the inspectors pull out the tape and are always so hung up on it for some reason?


LOL, must be something in "inspector training" since when we build decks they show up, look in the hole and say "where's the permit so I can sign it?" Then when it's finished we call for a final, they walk around it quick and say looks good, THEN they break out the tape meaure and do EVERY riser from top to bottom LOL!!!! I got busted out on one since we used decking material for treads on one job and the front board was swollen more than the others so I had to replace it??

But yeah, I know what your saying. Been gettin pretty good at it lately, last 4 sets I had max 1/8" difference from any one to the other and I chaulk that upto material variance due to pressure treatment process.

econdave 05-05-2006 08:35 PM

thanks for all the input. The problem I am having is trying to determine what my rise is. It is a steep bank, so from the top of the hill to the bottom of the hill, what is the correct way to determine the rise. I dont have a transit. Can I stick some stakes in the ground at the top of the hill at ground level and at the bottom of the hill, run a string line and try to put a level on it and then measure the distance from the string to the ground ? or is there another method to determine this?. Thanks again.

IHI 05-05-2006 09:53 PM

Since you dont have a transit your string method would work but would be kind of a pita. simplest solution that comes to mind is using a water level.

econdave 05-06-2006 09:14 AM

whats a water level? and what does pita mean? thanks

IHI 05-06-2006 09:21 AM


Originally Posted by econdave
whats a water level? and what does pita mean? thanks

A water level is simply a piece of clear vinyl tubing (flexible) that you fill with water since water self levels all the times it's extremely accurate for marking things at long distances such as this, we use our for marking ladger boards on long spans, marking posts for beam pockets, etc.... Zircon does sell water levels at home centers that has a electronic beeper so you dont need a helper to line up the base line mark your trying to achieve further out. You simply screw the device so the line on the brain box is sitting on your final location, you then take the excess tubing out to where you need it to be and lift tubing until you hear a long beep which means your where you need to be. They retail for $30 here.,00.html

PITA= pain in the a@&

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