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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all, I’m new here and new to cutting stair stringers. Any help would be appreciated as I’m going up and down my basement by ladder and hearing earfuls from my wife.
I watched hours of YouTube diy and read countless number of articles on cutting out and building my own staircase.

This past weekend I demolished my basement staircase and cut out my first template.

The total rise is 95.75 – .25 for the floor so I used 95.5 and 8 as the rise per step given the space I have available. Each tread will be 9.5”. I cut the stringer out with treads at 9 and the risers at 8. There will be a .5” overhang on the treads.

After making the template I set it on the headboard and the stringer is tilting a bit forward so there’s about a 1/8 gap on the top of the stringer leading me to believe I may have cut the bottom riser 1/8 too much? But when I had my wife lift up the bottom of the stringer she had to bring it up several inches for the stringer to be flush with the head board. I’m using Simpson strong tie joint connectors, cutting a total of 4 stringers and attaching them to the headboard so a total of 10 treads and 11 risers on the stringer.
Is 1/8” gap acceptable at the top of the riser where it connects to the headboard?

or can I just compensate and cut 1/8” less material on the riser on the next stringer cut? Or better yet cut a second piece of plywood and nail it on the headboard which should reduce the space between the stringer and headboard?

Any advice would be extremely appreciate I would be very grateful. Have a wonderful thanksgiving.
-Aaron
 

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Generally as a rule and in some places it's code that stairs have a rise between six and seven inches. Eight inches is a little steep however you may not have room for a more normal stairway.

With an overall rise of 95 3/4" I get a little less than 7 23/32" rise per step using 11 risers but with 11 risers you should only have 10 treads. The eleventh should be the floor level. .
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Generally as a rule and in some places it's code that stairs have a rise between six and seven inches. Eight inches is a little steep however you may not have room for a more normal stairway. With an overall rise of 95 3/4" I get a little less than 7 23/32" rise per step using 11 risers but with 11 risers you should only have 10 treads. The eleventh should be the floor level. .
Hi Steve, thank you for the reply. Yes you’re right I miss typed its 11 risers 10 treads and 11th is kitchen level. It’s 95.75 less the floor of .25”. So 95.5/12=7.96”. I cut the risers to 8” could that small difference be why there is a slight gap at the top of the stringer when placed near the headboard?

I read in NY state the riser can be up to 8 1/4”, 8” is the best I can do given the space I have available. Tread overhang is .5” I’m thinking but I’m not seeing any code or regulation on that either
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
miss typed its 11 risers 10 treads and 11th is kitchen level
Get the Construction Pro calculator? 56 bucks if it saves you a board its paid for itself, right?
I'll be watching this thread. 🍺🥨 Need pics. Check Insider Carpentry also
thanks Robert, yes I watched that video and a bazillion more! I’m confused as to why I’m off 1/8” could be the ground floor or headboard aren’t fully plumb but wondering if that is an acceptable variance
 

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Hi Steve, thank you for the reply. Yes you’re right I miss typed its 11 risers 10 treads and 11th is kitchen level. It’s 95.75 less the floor of .25”. So 95.5/12=7.96”. I cut the risers to 8” could that small difference be why there is a slight gap at the top of the stringer when placed near the headboard?

I read in NY state the riser can be up to 8 1/4”, 8” is the best I can do given the space I have available. Tread overhang is .5” I’m thinking but I’m not seeing any code or regulation on that either
Sometimes you just have to work with what you have. If you don't have enough run then the only choice is to make the stairs steep. It's just the steeper the stairs are the more likely someone is to fall is the reason why it's preferred to have them low.

When you figure space between treads, shelves or anything you have many of them a little difference makes a lot. Like you came up with a figure 7.96 and cut them 8 that would be .04 difference but you multiply that times 11 and you have .44 inches total which is close to 7/16".
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Right completely understood.
But that confused me because I’m seeing a gap at the top of the header and stringer meaning I cut off too much material from the bottom potentially. If I were to cut more material off the riser of .44” in total I would be left with a shorter riser and a larger gap at the top header?
 

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Any variation from the desired height will tilt the stair treads which can also be a safety hazard. If you have only cut one, it may be wise to lay it out again and eat your loses so far considering the stairs will be steep to start with.
 

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I see the old stringers on the floor, are you changing your stair pitch? Cuz if you're just updating with new wood I'd follow them. ½" overhang isn't much, you can increase your overhang to give the tread more depth, another ½" may be the difference between walkable vs sliding down on your butt. If the old routed side stringers are in good condition, I'd reuse them in a heartbeat.

Your ladder reminds me... We removed the stairs to the second story to refinish and tighten up. Refinished the stringers in place, treads and risers in the barn. Living in a house while remodeling has it's challenges. To get upstairs, 3 kids and the wifey would go to the basement and climb up my extension ladder to the second floor. I'm tall enough to step from the first floor to the ladder. Luckily it was only 5 days of that. Many of the wedges were loose, some had fallen out, because the stairs had plaster ceiling below them all the wedges were still there. Originally built in 1938 those stairs are still quality 👍
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It is truly kind of you to take time out of your day to offer valuable advice, I’m very thankful.

I had a typo, the ground level to the basement floor is 96” exact. The finished floor is 3/8” the difference is 95.625”. I took 95.625/12=7.968. I rounded this up to 8” for the risers. There’s a total of 11 risers and 10 treads. Risers are at 8” and the treads are at 9”. I plan to have a .5”-1” tread overhang.

The bottom template touches the ground flush. The gap I’m seeing is between the headboard and the stair stringer the gap at the top is about 1/8”. I just checked for plumbness on the headboard and I need to adjust it with shingles it’s slightly off which could definitely reduce the gap I’m seeing.
I think it is the curvature of the plywood I think I should flip and renail the plywood because I’m seeing it not plumb on the sides.

Outside of adjusting the headboard and making it flush, I think about the difference of 8” risers versus the actual at 7.97=0.03x11 risers or .33” that I have excess material Bc I measured at 8”. If I was to be precise the string would be .33” shorter and I would potentially see a larger gap at the top of the headboard? So I’m slightly confused there.

I’m sure making the headboard flush will reduce the gap but is something like 1/8” an acceptable difference or should it be completely flush?
 

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What is your "RUN" for this stairway?
I can't find that in the posts or replies.
As a senior citizen, I would request that you NOT have a rise of 8" it's too much for the elderly.
Also have the widest tread possible for safety concerns.
These are some stairs up from the house to the shop. Notice the riser is 7" and the tread is 11 3/4".
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The home is built in 1954. The run is 104.5”, 9.5” treads x11

Just given the available space, 7” risers would result in about 10-15” in additional stringer length and the stringer would sit 10-15” into the room. I definitely understand the reason for 7, just space wise it’s not feasible.
 

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The home is built in 1954. The run is 104.5”, 9.5” treads x11

Just given the available space, 7” risers would result in about 10-15” in additional stringer length and the stringer would sit 10-15” into the room. I definitely understand the reason for 7, just space wise it’s not feasible.
Just being "creative" here but, what if the top thread was set back into the second floor "landing" to gain that extra run.
I've seen it done many times and it doesn't seem to present any issues, but I'm not a finish carpenter, so take my advice with caution!
@BigJim may have the answer?

Have you used the online stair calculators:
 

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In post #6, you show what I think is the opening for the staircase. Is your run limited by that sheetrocked column on the right side of the picture? If you need more run, you might redo that column or notch the bottom tread to fit around it. Can you give us the horizontal measurement from header to that column, both inside the column and to the outside? Seems to me you could gain run somehow. I could be wrong, forgive me if so.
I'd learned that optimum stair geometry is 2 rises and one run add up to 25. So a 7.5" rise x 2 =15 and the tread would then be 10". So, figure out the rise you need and the tread length will follow. Shorter rise =longer tread and vice versa. Good luck.
 

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Right completely understood.
But that confused me because I’m seeing a gap at the top of the header and stringer meaning I cut off too much material from the bottom potentially. If I were to cut more material off the riser of .44” in total I would be left with a shorter riser and a larger gap at the top header?
OK, now I follow you. I'm not there so all I can go by is the numbers you are providing. It may be the floor where the stringer sits is lower than straight down from the kitchen. If all you have is a 1/4" difference in the overall height of the stringers I would just tack a 1/4" strip to the bottom of them and go with it. If though you want to remake the stringers I would do like others have suggested and lengthen the run and put the first step flush with the front of that sheetrock column. I think you might have between 75" and 76" headroom. Unless you are over six feet tall that shouldn't be a problem. .
 

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The women and children of my family are over 6ft. 😂
But we work with what we have. None of my 3 steps have 6ft of headroom vertical, one of the idiosyncrasies of living in a 150 yr old house. Can't say that I've ever smacked my head either.
Might put some padding on the headspace just in case. That can really knock you off your balance when you hit your head. I was walking through a customers attic onetime and someone put a collar tie just about eye level and I was looking down watching the rafters. When I hit that collar tie I ended up falling through their kitchen ceiling all the way to the floor. Fortunately I was suppose to remove the popcorn texture anyway so it wasn't that big of a deal.
 
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