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Making a wooden staircase

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AlanRammel

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Hi all. I'm new to UK Workshop and probably like most newbies I'm here with a specific "How to" question. I generally make outdoor furniture such as benches, picnic tables etc but I've been charged with the task of making an indoor staircase and although I don't think it is beyond me, I do feel like I need some pointers so that I can get this project off the ground. Has anyone done this kind of work or know where there is a really good guide / resource for something like this? I'm just looking to do a traditional diagonal staircase secured on one side to the wall, not spiral or minimal or even very modern. I don't think I can post any pictures of something similar to show you what I'm after but really just a standard solid staircase going from the ground floor to the first floor.

I think I'm struggling with the whole stability of it, or securing it to the wall, but any general pointers would be great.

Thanks in advance.

Alan
 

deserter

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Agreed, Approved Document Part K of building regulations, covers staircases in the Uk. There are some very strict instructions on the rise and go, angle of the flight and headroom.
As for the manufacture you'll probably find it best to use a commercially made template to rout your housings into the string, they also, helpfully set out the angle for wedging the treads.


~Nil carborundum illegitemi~
 

AndyT

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Interesting challenge!

I'm not a professional but I would say that the hard part is getting the dimensions exactly right; the relatively straightforward part is making it.

You'd have the option (if only making one) of using the minimum of tooling - the old hand-tool methods are well described in the out of print manuals available on-line - provided that you meet building regs!

You don't say where this is going - it would be far more straightforward to make a replacement than to make a new one to go in a new-built or extended house.
 

deserter

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Getting dimensions right for a staircase is pretty easy, you have to draw it to scale, as big a scale as possible. Your dimensions all come from your drawing then and you'll find most shapes are rectangles so fairly straight forwards again. All critical dimensions (rise, go etc.) are set out in part K, Part P I think covers banisters and spindles etc.


~Nil carborundum illegitemi~
 

=Adam=

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If it is a commercial premises then the handrails need to be 1100mm from the floor as a minimum, if it is residential then they need to be 900mm.

I fit staircases regularly in my day job and I all I can tell you is that it is not as hard as you think! If it is a simple straight flight then all you have to do is hook it onto the trimmer (upstairs), making sure that it is as tight to the wall as possible, it is then a case of levelling the whole thing up (side to side and front to back), you may find that you will need wedges to wedge it off in one corner at the top in order to get it level.

In terms of fixing it to the wall then we use either 4" or 6" masonry fixings, these things are awesome and are worth their weight in gold! You could use thunder bolts (same sort of thing but cost £5 a bolt!!!). Once it is held in position we then use expanding polyurethane foam and squirt it down the sides of the strings, this fills any gaps from uneven walls and adds strength to the bond to the wall.

That's about it really, take your time and it will be fine!
 

Phil Pascoe

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Where on earth do you pay £5 a bolt for thunderbolts? .............I'd never go there again.
One of the beauties of thunderbolts is the ease of adjustment - you can ease them off and pack behind them, then tighten them and loosen them again several times and still do them up properly tight. With some masonary fixings, once they have been done up tight they are difficult to adjust afterwards.
 

Teckel

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Once the inside string is hooked on top it takes just a few masonry fixings to secure it.
Draw a few of the steps out on a board and double check your measurements.
When you have your stair done you will wonder what all the fuss was about.
 

adzeman

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The first essential step is to make a rod (basicaly a a stick on which you phisiclly mark the finished floor levels) then you can calculate the rise exactly to the nearest gnats hair. When you have this you can make your ply rise & go template This allows you to set out your string. It is possible to draw this template in Sktch Up and test your stairs on paper before using expensive wood.
 

merlin

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Hello Alan,

I have used a pair of books for reference ever since my collage days and the section on stairs has helped me out quite a few times, you can pick them up on ebay for a few quid.

They are Carpentry and Joinery 1 & 2 , David R Bates ( m & e technical crafts series )

I can recommend them for all things wood, they are defiantly the most read books on my shelf.

Stairs have a certain amount of mystery around them but as Adam says they are not that difficult ( straight flights any way! ) just do the maths first - all the formulas are in the books.

Merlin
 

AlanRammel

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Some great replies, we are essentially replacing an old staircase so do I need building regs if I'm just replacing it? Mind you if there are strict instructions then maybe I do. Even though I am doing it for someone I know and keeping the job to practically the cost of materials, I had better treat it as a commercial job so getting it right is a priority.

Thanks for the heads up on handrails Adam, it is a residential job.

Thanks Merlin, I'll look into Carpentry and Joinery 1 & 2, I'll see if I can track those down on amazon or somewhere . As I am replacing the old damaged staircase I have got at least something to follow but think I do need some good do's and don'ts etc. I think the main issue as I said will be securing it to the wall as it isn't sound (mainly flood damage and the bricks look dodgy as well) and we may need to replace this which is not helping. I am starting to get more confident though as you all have give me some pointers such as bolts and masonry fixings.

I may have more questions later but thanks very much!
 

Jacob

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AlanRammel":2jxduixr said:
Some great replies, we are essentially replacing an old staircase so do I need building regs if I'm just replacing it?........
No you don't.
If it was OK originally why not just copy it?
 

Alfred

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Check with Building Control first - to be 100% satisfied. Like Jacob writes, when replacing like-for-like, building regs are not required. But this depends on the age of the property etc.. Current regs in making: Width: use to be min 600mm at narrowest point, but I was told by a building inspector this doesn't apply anymore (I don't understand that :? ) Straight treads; no less than 220mm deep. Tapered treads; no less than 220mm at radius centre line and no less than 50mm at narrowest point; Risers; no greater than 220mm; Pitch; no greater than 60 degrees (norm is 42 pitch); Handrail; not less than 900mm (residential); spindles; prevention of a 100mm sphere making access between spindles; Headroom; not less than 2M, but you can get away with 1.9M in some cases. Hope this helps and good luck Sir! They're a doddle.
 
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