Issue # 35: Stairs October 13, 2004

Issue #35 Stairs

  1. The Basics: Glossary, Stair Parts, Framing Terms
  2. Design: Trends, Curved Stairs, Finishing Details
  3. Planning: Measurements, Visual Code, Drawings
  4. Installation: Site-Built, Squeak-Free, Installation FAQs
  5. Specialty: Spiral Stairs, Concrete Steps, Deck Stairs
  6. More: Drop-down Stairs, Stairway Lifts, Elevators
  7. Issues: Squeaky Stairs, Repairing, Air Sealing
  8. Ken’s Top Pick: If You Have Time To Surf Only One Site

1. The Basics: Glossary, Stair Parts, Framing Terms

Glossary Of Stair & Rail Terms
From baluster to winder tread, the stairs industry uses terms that are quite unique. This glossary from the Stairs site explains what each of these weird words mean.

Anatomy Of A Stair: Drawing Of Stair Parts
To understand the name and function of each stair part, check out these drawings from Coffman Stairs. Although they use their own product code numbers the part names are standard.

Stair Framing Terms
This site from Wikipedia offers a clear definition of what stairs are and what they consist of, including articles on Components and Terminology, The Railing System, and Other Terminology.

2. Design: Trends, Curved Stairs, Various Examples

Trends In Staircase
“Buyers are starting to look at the stairwell as a whole, and how it integrates into the room”, says this Housing Zone article. It shows pictures of new stair products and designs.

Curved Stair Pictures
There are over 200 pictures of curved stair styles on the Arcways site. Some of these may be valuable in giving you ideas for a project or for showing options to your customer.

This article from Backwoods Home Magazine offers many examples and tips on the proper building procedures required in building various types of stairways.

3. Planning: Measurements, Visual Code, Drawings

Staircase Measurements
Rona explains staircase options, and provides drawings that show the minimum requirements of the Canadian code for risers & runs, headroom, stringers, handrails and railings.

Visual Interpretation Of International Stair Code (PDF FILE)
Although this Stairway Manufacturers Association info relates to the International Code, it has excellent pictures explaining how and where each measurement is made.

Stair Framing Detail Drawings
This HammerZone article includes very detailed drawings and includes step-by-step instructions for the designing of stairs and laying out stair stringers.

4. Installation: Site-Built, Squeak-Free, Installation FAQs

Site-Built Stairs: A 19 Step Checklist
For those of you who build stairs on site this eBuild article by framer Don Dunkley could be helpful as he shares his three-stage checklist that works for all sets and styles of stairs.

Building Squeak-Free Stairs
A stair builder wrote this Journal of Light Construction article that shows how to scribe and install finish skirts, treads and rsers to prevent squeaks later on. Click on “View HTML”

Installation FAQs
As part of their Book Of Ideas For Hardwood Stairs, Coffman has a number of good descriptions, with pictures, for specifying, cutting, and installing different stair parts.

5. Specialty: Spiral Stairs, Concrete Steps, Deck Stairs

Spiral Stairs
Stairways Inc. is a US spiral stair manufacturer. If you pass over their company sales pitches you’ll find some good info and pictures about uses and applications, parts and design.

Building Concrete Steps & Ramps (PDF FILE)
Although this Quikcrete article references their product, it provides a good overview and drawings for preparing the base, building forms, and pouring and finishing concrete.

Deck Stairs & Railings
The Move site Deck How-To section has tutorials, with drawings, for planning and building deck stairs, adding and tightening balusters, and installing posts and railings.

6. More: Drop-down Stairs, Stairway Lifts, Elevators

Installing Drop-down Stairs
In very tight spaces the use of drop-down folding stairs can solve a lot of problems. This do-it-yourself article from Easy2 covers each step of the installation process.

Stairway Lift Information Booklet
If you have elderly or disabled clients who are considering a stairway lift, this online booklet from the UK Arthritis Research group could help in selecting the right product features.

Incorporating A Home Elevator
Typical elevator specifications, hoistway design, installation planning and tips on product selection are covered in this Housing Zone article on remodelling for accessibility.

7. Issues: Squeaky Stairs, Repairing, Air Sealing

Silencing Squeaky Stairs
The Old House Web gives you tips for stopping squeaks by nailing or screwing the tread, wedging from above or below, bracketing from below, or gluing blocks from below.

Repairing Stairs (PDF FILE)
This HUD Rehab Guide, starting at page 51, covers repairing or replacing treads, risers and balusters, fixing sagging carriages, and installing prefab stairs and attic ladders.

Air Sealing Stairs The Easy Way
In an energy efficient house it can be a challenge air sealing a stair built against an outside wall. The Oikos Green Building Source site offers these detailed drawings to help you out.

8. Ken’s Top Pick: If you have time to surf only one site

Coffman Stairs
I don’t usually select a supplier’s site for my top pick, but this Coffman Stairs Installers section contains enough good trade-level information and resources to warrant recommendation.

Dittie For Today: On Leadership

Leadership is action, not position. - Donald H. McGannon

 © Copyright 2004               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved
ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada