Really underground garage
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: mnts of Va
You can take stair construction/design/install as far as you want to go.
The "rules" are many.From a precision standpoint on how far off each rise can be....all the way to the precision one meets when the rise/run are of non-std measures.Church steps with 4" rise requires ? sized tread.And how does old time ratios,differ in this respect,fall into precision in my book because get this one thing the least bit wrong and we have a trip hazzard.......
Further,on precision/trip hazzards are codes when meeting certain out of std rise/run combinations.Precision is arguably the most important feature when building/installing stair systems.Its the old,"gain/loss" thing that creeps in.Imagine laying out a 100' stud wall with a framing sq.....16 o.c.
Now,compare that with laying out the same wall with a 100' tape......with the prescribed correct tension on tape measure(and believe me,if you don't "pull" a tape with an understanding of tension you can set yourself up for some mistakes).......but what happens in the above comparo between sq vs tape is...."gain & loss".And is one of those forgotten "tricks" of times gone by.
Stairs are NO DIFFERENT....99% of builders layout stairs with a bloomin square.Try this....once you've laid out your rough or finished carrige with a sq.....grab a calculator and do the math on your "point to point" measures in a running measure sense and find how much gain/loss your sq just introduced.Point to point here is the points that are created on carriges when laying out.
No big deal on a set of stairs in a typ tract house?Maybe nothing to worry about?Don't know,you may really be bad at marking a framing sq?But lets get a little further down the rd than a sub-division.......Maybe some long stairs.Maybe stairs with landings....curved stairs.I can name a dz instances other than tract house stairs.The point is,use a running measure derived from a calculator(or do math longhand)and "spotting" your points(outside corners on carrige) will ALWAYS be faster and tons more accurate than a framing sq.
And I'll be the last to bust on a quality framing sq.They are fine instruments......it's just that a hundred foot wall....or a 50' long hip rafter......AND STAIRS....you are using the instrument in a fashion that gives up accuracy and precision.Use a tape and do the bloomin math.
On a different note....and not to be the least bit disparaging...but,there are a lot times when stairs are NOT just a continuation of base trim from one floor to the next.Thinking that is just tract house culture.Stairs,just like fireplace walls,entrance doors,and a few other places in your house should,and almost always are(once out of the sub-division),stand alone architectural "elements".The "base" is but a tiny part....look at it as a connecting "line/s" between these elements.In effect,it can stop short of any of these elements to allow them to stand alone.Nothing new here,this stuff has been going on WAY longer than tract housing......
For instance....Lets say we have really deep paneling(with ALL the bells/whistles) and it's changing from full wall height to short paneling going up stairs.What the heck does base have to do with this?Yeah,it needs to be proportioned to the element....yes it needs to be seamless(seamless here dosen't mean unbroken in a connection sense),But it also should NOT take away from elements.The notion that base has to be unbroken is just plain silly.Heck throw a column or 12 in there.....you gonna run base around every column?
Good stuff,nuthin like really nice stairs......and we didn't even touch on handrails(ha).
Those who say it cannot be done shouldn't interrupt the people doing it.