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A Step-by-Step Guide to Basic Stair Building

36 years of experience in transforming houses into dream homes across Idaho​

Building stairs might seem like a daunting task for many, but with the right guidance and a bit of patience, it can be a rewarding DIY project. Whether you’re looking to add functionality to your home or enhance its aesthetic appeal, building basic stairs is a skill worth mastering. In this guide, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process of constructing a set of basic stairs.

Materials and Tools: Before you start your stair-building journey, gather the necessary materials and tools. You’ll need:


  1. Pressure-treated lumber (for the stringers, treads, and risers)
  2. Construction adhesive
  3. Galvanized screws or nails
  4. Wood finish or paint (optional)


  1. Circular saw
  2. Carpenter’s square
  3. Level
  4. Tape measure
  5. Framing square
  6. Drill
  7. Sawhorses
  8. Safety gear (gloves, safety glasses, ear protection)

Step 1: Measure and Plan Begin by determining the total rise (vertical height) and total run (horizontal length) of your stairs. Measure the height from the ground to the landing or upper floor and the distance from the base to the landing or upper floor. Use these measurements to calculate the number of risers and treads needed.

Step 2: Cut Stringers Stringers are the inclined boards that support the treads and risers. Using your measurements, mark and cut the stringers. Ensure they are evenly spaced and secure them to the deck or landing securely.

Step 3: Attach Treads and Risers Cut the treads and risers to the desired size. Attach the treads to the stringers using construction adhesive and screws or nails. Place the risers between the treads, securing them in place. Ensure everything is level and aligned correctly.

Step 4: Install the Stairs Once the treads and risers are in place, it’s time to install the stairs. Position the stringers at the desired location, ensuring they are level. Secure the stringers to the landing or upper floor and the ground using screws or nails.

Step 5: Finishing Touches To enhance the appearance and longevity of your stairs, consider applying a wood finish or paint. This step is optional but can add a polished look and protect the wood from the elements.

Conclusion: Building basic stairs is a DIY project that can significantly improve the functionality and aesthetics of your space. With the right materials, tools, and a careful approach, you can construct a set of stairs that not only serves its purpose but also becomes a focal point of your home. Take your time, follow each step diligently, and soon you’ll be stepping up with pride on stairs you’ve built yourself.