# How To Build Closed Stringer Stairs

A closed stringer is a unique handrail system that requires less space than a standard railing, and it allows you to create curves and other interesting shapes in your staircase. Closed stringers are more difficult than open stringers, but they are much more sturdy as well. If you want to do this yourself and save money, follow these detailed instructions.

Building closed stringers for stairs can be tricky. There’s a lot of math involved, so we recommend using a stair stringer calculator to get all your measurements right. Also, it helps to have someone else help you during construction to make sure you’re doing everything correctly. Once you’ve got your measurements and tools ready, follow these steps:

## Decide where you are installing the stairs.

Once you have decided on the design of your stairs, you will need to consider where to install them. The location of the stairs in relation to other parts of your home or building will have a major impact on how they look and function. Stairs should be placed so that they do not block doors, windows, or rooms from view. Also, keep in mind that there are some places where you cannot put wood stairs because they require too much support for their weight (for example steel beams).

## Measure from the top of the landing to the finished floor at the bottom.

Measure from the top of the landing to the finished floor at the bottom. [1] This will be your starting height for calculating how many stairs you’ll need.

You’ll want to take into account your landing’s height and any other steps on either side of it as well when measuring this distance, since those steps will be added together with yours for a total stair rise (the vertical distance between each step).

## Calculate the height and depth of each stair.

You’ll need to calculate the height and depth of each stair. The height of the stair depends on the height of your landing, and the depth of the stair depends on its width.

For example, if you have a landing that’s 4 feet wide with a 1-foot rise (or 10 inches), then your stairs will be 7½ inches tall (4 + 10 = 14; 1/2 inch is added for half-risers). The treads should be 1¾ inches wide by 7½ inches long.

The risers are always set back from the toe board so that there’s room for people to step onto them safely and comfortably when going up or down stairs. The riser should sit about 7¼ inches behind it so that it doesn’t interfere with someone walking up or down it when they’re walking in front of their open stringers.

## Find the proper length for the stringer.

• Find a straight piece of lumber that’s at least as long as you want your stairs to be, and cut it in half. This will be your stringer.
• Measure the depth of the tread (the part you’ll walk on) and subtract half an inch from that number; this is how deep to cut into each end of your stringer pieces.
• For each end, use a saw to make two cuts all the way through from side to side one going across, one going up and down—then open them up so there’s just enough room for a plank to fit snugly within them without hanging over any edges by more than about 1/4 inch or so (1 cm). If necessary, take off another 1/4-inch piece from either set of outermost sides until they fit together properly when assembled into an “L” shape with its legs resting firmly in place against both ends of your stairway frame boards (these are called stringers).

## Cut out the notches for the risers and treads.

• Cut out the notches for the risers and treads.
• Use a jigsaw to make straight cuts, then refine them with a chisel or coping saw. Make sure the notches are the proper size, in the right place, of proper shape and depth, as well as perpendicular to the stringers (not level).

## Make a mark 2 1/2 inches up on both ends and draw a diagonal line between them.

Take a measurement from the top of your landing to the finished floor at the bottom.

Take this number and divide it in half, then subtract 1/8 inch for each stair tread length. This will give you the total length of stringer needed for each step. (Example: 12 inches x 2 = 24 – 1/8 = 23 7/8  inches)

Now, take that same measurement again but this time add 5% or so to account for any slight errors in measuring and set up. This will be your actual stair rise height (Example: 24  inches + 5% = 25 2/3 inches).

Next, measure up from your base line at each end of where you plan on having your stairs located horizontally across one another (24 inches) and make a mark 2 1/2 inches above that point; draw a diagonal line between those two points using chalk or pencil so they form an “X” shape this is where we start cutting with our string saw.

## Cut off this area with a circular saw and jigsaw.

To cut a stringer, you will need to use the right tool for the job. A circular saw is perfect for cutting straight lines, but can be difficult to control in tight spaces like this. Instead, consider using a jigsaw (or reciprocating saw) when you’re working with small-scale cuts that require more precision.

If you want to get fancy with your design and try adding decorative notches at each stair step, here’s what we did: First we laid out our notch outline on each piece of lumber by transferring the measurements from our pattern into pencil marks along where we were about to cut using a tape measure and square ruler (see above photo). Then it was just a matter of following those guidelines until everything fit together perfectly.

Once all your pieces have been cut out correctly and are ready for assembly, use some extra screws as reinforcement along edges where two pieces come together so they can hold together better against any pressure or force applied during use over time plus they’ll look nice too .

## Repeat this process for both ends of all three stringers.

• Repeat this process for both ends of all three stringers.
• Make sure they are level, plumb and square (90 degrees).
• Make sure they are the same length and height.

## Install each stringer by driving 3-inch wood screws through shims into the framing below landing and drywall or plaster above it, so that each stringer sits plumb, level and square to one another.

When you have all the stringers in place, it’s time to start building the stair treads. First, measure and cut two pieces of 2×6 lumber that are as long as your landing area is wide (minus the thickness of your riser). These will be your bottom treads. Next, drive wood screws through shims into framing below landing and drywall or plaster above it so that each stringer sits plumb, level and square to one another.

Next comes the installation of the risers. You’ll need a level surface for this step because you want them to sit evenly on top of each other when they’re installed—that way it doesn’t look like there are gaps between them when viewed from above.

To install a first-floor riser: First measure its length by stretching a long measuring tape across its width at both ends; then subtract 3/4 inches (19 millimeters) from each measurement so that it fits snugly within its corresponding stringer. Position this piece against your first stringer so it’s flush with its back edge and then mark where holes need drilling using masking tape flags or pencil marks made lightly onto scrap lumber pieces clamped beneath in order for drilling operations not causing damage later on during nailing phase (you can use these scrap pieces as guides). Make sure that none fall off after drilling before proceeding further down next step list.

## How To Build Closed Stringer Stairs

• Decide where you are installing the stairs.
• Measure from the top of the landing to the finished floor at the bottom.
• Calculate the height and depth of each stair. This will determine how long your stringer needs to be, as well as what size notches will need to be cut out for risers and treads on either side of it.
• Find a straight piece of lumber that is slightly longer than all four risers combined (this includes any built in support for extra-wide treads). You’ll use this as your stringer, so make sure it’s straight! Also double check that it’s wide enough apart so there aren’t gaps between steps when all pieces are assembled together correctly you don’t want anyone falling through those cracks.

Final words

I’m here to help you through the process of building stairs, whether it be for your deck, patio, or a basement remodel. I’ll walk you through the steps from start to finish so that all you have to do is take my advice and go build those stairs.