A stair box is a drywall feature that can be built around an existing staircase to make it appear as though it was built into the wall. It’s not too challenging to build, and the project requires only a few tools.
Building a stair box offers unlimited possibilities for decorating steps and adding extra storage to your home. It’s also useful for storing things that would otherwise be out in the open, such as the mending basket or gloves. For this project, you’ll need an unfinished trunk or other box that’s at least 16 inches deep, a flat of plywood, metal roof flashing, hinges, screws and masonite panels cut to size.
A step box, or stair box, is a safety barrier made of a sturdy material such as wood or plastic that is placed at the top or bottom of a stairway. The purpose of a step box is to prevent someone from accidentally falling down the stairs. They can hold supplies such as tools and linens that may be needed by handymen, homeowners and contractors.
So you’re dreaming of beautiful new stairs and you want to know if it’s possible to do on your own? The answer is yes! Even if you have no experience putting in new stairs, with a little time and patience, this is something that most anyone can do. It all starts with building a stair box. Once that’s done, the rest of the work isn’t much harder, but it does get more complicated. So let’s start there:
You need a handful of supplies and a little know-how to make a stair box.
The first step in building a stair box is to gather the supplies you’ll need. You’ll want to make sure you have a handful of basic tools a saw, drill, screwdriver and hammer that will help get your job done.
For this project we also used a power drill attachment known as a screw gun that allows for quick work when driving screws into wood. If this isn’t an option for you, feel free to use your standard cordless drill or even just take some time assembling by hand with some nails or screws if necessary.
Start by ripping down your trim and quarter-round.
Start by ripping down your trim and quarter-round. Use a saw to cut down the trim, then use a hammer to remove the quarter-round. If you’re going to rebuild everything new, this is also a good time to start removing old nails and screws that are no longer needed.
Now you can use that opening to fasten a piece of plywood across the front.
Now you can use that opening to fasten a piece of plywood across the front. This will be your stair box.
- Use screws to fasten the plywood to the trim, making sure to use a drill with a pilot bit first so you don’t split the wood.
- If using countersunk screws, make sure they’re below surface level so that no one trips on them.
Cut out your return sides from one piece of MDF and cut your bottom from another.
- Cut out your return sides from one piece of MDF.
- Cut your bottom from another piece of MDF.
- Use a table saw to make the cuts. Make sure to use a sharp blade, and set it at the right depth so that it will cut through both pieces without splintering them or creating any chipping in the edges.
The bottom will fit into the returns and flush up with the floor and front.
- The bottom of the stair box should fit into the returns and flush up with the floor and front.
- You can cut it to size by measuring from the top of the return, down through its center, until you reach its bottom.
- This will leave room for a small gap between your new stairs and existing ones so that they all match up.
Use some strips of wood on the inside to secure it all in place.
Now it’s time to secure the rest of your stair box. There are a few ways that you can do this:
- With a saw, cut some strips of wood and then use a screwdriver to put them in place on the inside of your box.
- Use a drill to drill holes into the wood and then screw or nail it into place with screws or nails (or both). You can also use glue if you want, but be aware that this may make removing your boxes later difficult if they’re painted over top-coat paint with no primer underneath them first (we’ll discuss painting in more detail later).
- Use just hammering alone by pounding them into place without any tools whatsoever; however, we would not recommend doing this because it could damage your fingers if done incorrectly. The idea behind using hammers for construction projects is primarily protection against injury rather than efficiency you’re better off using tools like these whenever possible.
Then you can cut down your top pieces for the cornice, nail and glue them together, and paint everything before adding it all back in place.
Now that you’ve completed the first three steps of this project, you can cut down your top pieces for the cornice, nail and glue them together, and paint everything before adding it all back in place.
Follow this procedure to put in some beautiful new stairs.
- Lay out the new stairs. Use a measuring tape and a pencil to mark out the position of each stair tread on the floor, as well as where you want them spaced from one another. If you’re installing your new stair box against an existing wall, use this as a guide for where to place the banister posts.
- Build up your support structure with framing lumber: two 4×4 posts at either end of each flight of stairs and two 4x4s along each lengthwise wall between flights (total four per flight). Make sure they’re level by using shims underneath as needed until they are perfectly plumb; then measure down from there and make marks with chalk along every other joist or stud so you know where to drill holes for lag screws later on when attaching them in place permanently
Putting in new stairs can be a tricky job, but having the right supplies and a few tips will help ensure that you get it done right. Make sure to have the right tools before you start, and measure your pieces carefully to make sure they fit. The most important thing is to take your time and do the job well after all, you don’t want anyone falling down those stairs.