Two 2x12"x16's, 2 drills, 5 1x6"s, a sawzall, 1 gallon sweat, & 1 lb of gumption.

. . . and I have a new deck staircase. Not bad for never having framed 'em before. Holy crap-on-a-stick were the wet pressure-treated 2x12s heavy.

Long story short: the Missus and I hired a contractor to come put a second staircase onto our deck (stairs, middle landing for a 180, and then a lower flight of stairs). He showed up, got about 3/4s of the way done. . . and then never showed up again. The lower flight wasn’t even bolted to the vertical 4x4s!

Two months after we started, we had no word from the guy. Today, I look at Nawth Chucka and say, “Hon, I’m gettin’ to work.” I measure the rise, the run, input that into my calculator, and figure out how much lumber I need. Off to the store! $116.87 later, I’m hauling back two sixteen-foot 2x12"s into the backyard. A little later, I’m marking off my lines with a framing square and cutting out little triangles for the riser and tread faces–three stringers. I get those bolted to the 4x4s, space the middle stringer, and then start cutting treads and risers. Every now and then my wife tosses out a new bottle of ice water (which goes down very easy, mind you).

About four hours later, I’ve got a nice little flight ‘o’ steps which I have to admit, I’m amazed I put together for never having really done it before. I’d done plenty of framing and sheetrocking, but the diagonal thing scared me. I thought there was some Jedi mind trick to this. The first stringer I cut was wrong though–too short. I’m thinking there’s got to be an easier way to do that. But I can use that as a middle support for the upper flight (which the contractor never reinforced, like I wanted).

Now I’m all sore and crap. Hands have blisters, and I’ve got a little sunburn. Tomorrow, I gotta do the handrails and get back to paving the patio. My wife is smart: she saw some old brick buildings were about to be demoed, so we went over and picked up six hundred. We’d gotten another three hundred from that contractor (before we blew him off), so all I need to do is finish up the handrails, and lay a few hundred brick this week. And then, the the tiki bar!

Damn, I’m sore.

Huzzah home improvement.

Since I don’t see much of a General Question there, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess you meant this for MPSIMS.

General Questions Moderator

I think you’re delirious with pride. Or heat stroke. Totally the wrong forum, dude :wink: (I reported it for you)

Anyway - good work! Getting something built is extremely satisfying!

Whoa! Holy crap, yeah, I had it in the wrong forum. :smack:

Thanks guys!

Sore, and not paying attention to the forums.

Last year we built a loft in our shop. Neither of us had ever built stairs before. How hard can it be?

I looked at some drawings online and did the math and went to work. I think I was off by 1/16 of an inch on each step. Doesn’t sound like much does it?

When you walk up the last step onto the loft is taller than the rest almot an inch. Drives me nuts every time I go up there but not worth new lumber and about a hundred screws. Yes they are super heavy duty but we carry 50 pound tool chucks and steel up there and I don’t want creaking wobbly stairs, but dammit 1/16" really adds up.

Not to be a PITA, but to be a code observant person, I’m assuming that you ensured your fasteners and engineered lumber hangers (if any) used were compatible with ACQ lumber. Yes? Also, details such as maximum difference of riser or tread being 3/8" can gig a finished assembly.

For more information, consult IRC 303, 311, and UBC 210, 1003.

You do realize that know that you’ve finished the project, the contractor is gonna show up.

That f-ing contractor - argh! The staircase was started in March and he fed us lies about his subcontractor until June when we finally gave up and told him to either commit to a date in writing (email even) or shove off. Then he left phone messages promising to come over the next day if we would only call him to confirm. Sorry, Mike, too many broken promises makes us think you lie with every breath.
I’m pleased and proud that my hubby Tripler is able to do all these wonderful and useful things, but I hate that the shithead contractor put him in this position. I should point out that the contactor and his sub knew that we needed everything finished by 8/1 due to Trip’s upcoming military move and they pulled this shit like they just couldn’t care less. Happily, we hadn’t paid for the whole job, just what got finished the one day they worked on it. And I was able to turn him in for running a business w/o a license in this city.

What’s “IRC?” I know of the Int’l Building Code, the local code, etc.

No hangers: lag bolts in the side stringers into the 4x4s at the top and middle post. Also, at the top of each stringer is a backer plate bolted behind the vertical posts, with the stringers cut and notched to fit into everything. I followed the work that was done on the existing staircase (not the new upper flight the contractor put on). Being an electrical engineer-type, I can proudly say that mechanically, that f*cker ain’t going nowhere. If the inspector shows up, he’ll probably be thrilled that I’m finally cleaning up the mess! :smiley:

Oh, had to add: the middle stringer, I was able to bolt (from the backside) to the backer plate into the stringer. Whilst I was working, I looked like a human ‘Twister’ game.

And yes, a slight cut here or there, the whole shebang could be off. The calculator gave me a “Tread +/-” and a “Riser +/-”. Is that how much I can waver in measuring the heights or depths?

Day two: Handrails, spindles, and cleanup, oh my!

IRC = International Residential Code.

Regarding dimensional limits, let’s say that you’ve determined the riser height of each step to be 7 1/2", but that doesn’t perfectly on the last step riser, which will instead be 7 1/4". No big deal, as you could be anywhere from 7 1/8" to 7 7/8"* and still not be afoul of the 3/8" maximum differential.

  • 7 7/8" would NOT be acceptable under IRC, which has a maximum riser height of 7 3/4", but would be OK under UBC, which has a maximum riser height of 8".

Depending on the feelings of the AHJ, the section you’ve constructed from the landing down might be considered a separate flight, or could be deemed part of what was already constructed, in which case the height of the existing risers would become the baseline for laying out the lower stair portion.