When adding a staircase to your home, there are a few things that you should consider before you start your build. One of these things is if you want the stairs to have a return at the bottom or not. The most common staircase with a return is called the straight run stair. This is the simplest type of stair with no turns, or rises and no landings. We used this type of design for most of our How To Build Stairs series because it is so simple to understand. However, when you want to add some curves into your stairs it can be more difficult to understand what you have to do next.
A staircase with a turn is an architectural element that adds character to your home. Steps are built from solid pieces of timber or from a combination of several different materials, and the designs can vary from traditional circular staircases to freestanding structures that extend outward from the wall. If you’re interested in how to build a staircase with a turn, read on.
Stairs with a turn are usually much more difficult to build than a straight set of stairs, because the treads and risers will vary in size along their length. However, the task is quite manageable if you measure carefully and follow these steps.
Preparing Your Materials
- (1) 2×12-inch board, 8 feet long
- (4) 2×6-inch boards, 6 feet long
- (2) 3/4-inch screws, 12 inches long
- A drill and screwdriver bit to fit your screws
Preparing Your Measurements
Once you’ve decided where to place your staircase and how many steps you want, it’s time to measure. It may seem like a no-brainer, but what many people don’t realize is that each of these measurements are important when building a staircase.
In order to complete such a task, there are two things you’ll need: a measuring tape or ruler and pencil or pen. You’ll also want some paper if you’re going to draw up some plans before getting started building your stairway.
Assembling The Stair Frame
After the sides are assembled and you’ve added any necessary balusters, it’s time to start building the staircase.
- Attach the top and bottom rails to each side of your frame.
- Attach the treads to each side of your frame in an alternating pattern: one up, two down; one up, two down…etc., or however you’d like them laid out according to your plans (see below).
- Attach risers above each tread so that there is an even gap between them when looking at them from above. Use glue or screws if necessary for stability purposes.
- Attach stringer boards between upper railings on both sides of staircases with nails or screws depending on their thicknesses — usually around 1/4 inch thick — so that they align perfectly with tops edges of risers underneath them (which should already be attached).
Attaching The Stair Frame To The Floor Frame
Now that you have the stair frame set up, it’s time to attach it to the floor frame. To do this, you need a drill and some lag screws.
Once you have everything connected together, make sure your stairs are level with one another using a spirit leveler or by using shims if necessary.
Cutting And Attaching Risers
Risers are the steps that you place on top of the stringers and support the treads. They can be made from a variety of materials, including hardwood, softwood and engineered wood.
To ensure that risers are cut to size:
- Measure from the bottom of one stringer to the top of another stringer. Subtract 1/4″ (6mm) from this measurement; this will give you a rough estimate for how long your riser should be if you’re using hardwood. If using softwood or engineered lumber such as plywood or OSB (oriented strand board), subtract 3/8″ (10mm) instead.
- Cut four risers according to their length plus an additional 3/16″ (.5cm). This ensures there’s enough space between them so they don’t touch each other when installed in place on your stairs’ stringers—and besides which it looks better.
Laying And Fastening Treads
Treads are the horizontal members of a staircase, with each tread resting on one or more risers. Treads are usually made from wood, but can also be made from other materials such as stone and metal.
Treads must be level and flush with each other to ensure a safe use of the staircase. This is achieved by:
- Laying out all treads in position and marking where they will be fastened to the stringers (top and bottom) with chalk lines so that they can be positioned accurately.
- Using carpenters’ tapered striking block to mark a point at both ends of each tread where it should rest on its riser below it. The striking block will leave marks on both sides of your piece so you will be able to see if they line up when placed against another piece later on when installing them all together into place before nailing or screwing them down securely onto those points marked earlier; ensuring good alignment between pieces so gaps aren’t left between them later down line when everything has been put together fully.
Stairs with a turn should be prefabricated in the shop.
A staircase with a turn should be prefabricated in the shop. Because of the complexity of the structure, it is difficult to assemble on-site.
Some materials will already be cut to size (such as stringers and treads) and others can be cut once you get there. Use caulk to fill gaps where boards come together, then use a level and add shims as needed until everything is level.
We hope this post was able to answer any questions you may have about how to build a staircase with a turn. While it does take some additional planning and precision, the results will speak for themselves. With some patience and diligence, you can master this technique and bring your next staircase project to life.