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Old 06-30-2012, 08:21 AM   #1
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Stair Calculations


I'm building a new set of exterior entrance basement stairs to replace a rotted out set. The total run/area to cover is 65 inches, and the height is 72 inches. Very steep, but it's all I have to work with.

Doing the math, I get 10 risers, 7.2 inches rise height, and 9 treads of 7.22 inches.
Since a 1x8 or 2x8 is 7.25" cut, can I round these both up to 7.25" (essentially making a perfect 1/2 square)?

Is a railing also required? It could only go part way up due to bilco doors folding over the stairs.

Also, the area under the stairs occasionally gets a little standing water, is there anything I can put under the bottom of the stringers to protect them?
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:31 AM   #2
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Depends on what your building codes allow. I would make the treads wider if you can as 7.25" is very narrow and a wider step makes for more comfort when you use them.
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:45 AM   #3
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An 8" rise and an 8-1/8" run would be better...that's 9 risers and 8 treads
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:48 AM   #4
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Can you post a picture? Maybe our collective mind can come up with a better solution to give you tread depth that is closer to code.
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:49 AM   #5
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I could also do 8 risers and 7 treads... 9" rise height and 9.29" run. So a 1x10 riser would need 1/4" cut off, and a 2x10 tread would have a 1.04" overhang. Is that too much?

I can get a picture later today but the broken stairs are still in the way. It's just an exterior basement entrance, made of concrete.

I'm not sure if this is subject to standard staircase code, it may qualify as an emergency or utility exit, since it's an unfinished basement, that has another staircase from the house.

Last edited by matt151617; 06-30-2012 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:50 AM   #6
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Typical code minimum is 11 inches for tread. Codes vary a little from place to place. I don't think you can build a code compliant staircase given the geometry you describe, which raises a number of difficult questions, such as future saleability of the house. I would discuss the issue with your building inspector, perhaps replacement of an existing staircase allows grandfathered geometry.
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Old 06-30-2012, 10:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt151617 View Post
exterior entrance basement stairs
The total run/area to cover is 65 inches, and the height is 72 inches.
Very steep, but it's all I have to work with.
Get a shovel (or backhoe). Do it right.
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