Staircase replacement - to DIY or no?

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Topic by Becky posted 05-30-2013 11:15 PM 3251 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Becky's profile


81 posts in 3621 days

05-30-2013 11:15 PM

Hi all!

So my basement remodel is going to start on Monday (WOOHOO!). After removing the carpet from my current stairs, I found out it’s not going to be an easy ‘just replace the treads and risers’ DIY – not only will they have to be replaced, but I’ll also have to replace the stringers. Full on staircase replacement. I’ve never done something like this, and my dad even for as good as he is – recommends finding someone because he lacks the experience and these stairs will get a lot of use (between basement and only floor of a ranch). So my question is a bit two fold. I’ve found a friend who does a lot more DIY and has experience replacing stairs and staircases. Is this something a newbie should attempt to tackle with some help, or should I bite the bullet and start getting estimates?


-- aspiring jill of all trades

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

331 posts in 4482 days

06-02-2013 03:07 PM

I’d learn what the difficult bits are. I haven’t done a staircase, but it’s just carpentry. The two hard parts are that the stair spacing and tread depth needs to be very accurate, and the treads need to be level. Read up on the code for stairs and convince yourself that you can build to that level of accuracy, draw it out, and then get your friend to come over and build the things.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/

View J's profile


70 posts in 2918 days

06-06-2013 06:15 AM

You should start by buying Swanson’s Little Blue Book on how to build stairs. The last one I bought came free with a $10 Swanson speed square, Lowes sells them for less than $4. If you cant understand how to measure and lay out a set of stairs then I wouldn’t try to DIY. One of the most important aspects of building staircases is to make sure your stringers are all exactly the same. 7 inch rise to 10 inch run. I will build stairs that are shorter than 7” (usually never less than 6-1/2” because they feel too small, except for elderly people they like 6-1/2” stair heights) and sometimes as long as 11” on the run, depending on what materials I am using for treads. The bottom step is the one that should be shorter (not taller than the rest to account for where your next landing or floor is) than the rest.

Here is a great video on how to build stairs, cut the stringers and install them into the framing. It is something anyone can do with a Skilsaw, jigsaw or sawzall (to finish the riser and tread cuts) and a framing square with stair gauges.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=531UPCjZTm0
Gauges: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=531UPCjZTm0
Big 12 square with gauges and Little Blue Book, Lowes sells the book for $4 or less: http://www.amazon.com/Swanson-SO107-12-Inch-Speed-Square/dp/B000056C0D/ref=pd_cp_hi_3

-- I found the board stretcher... finally!

View Becky's profile


81 posts in 3621 days

06-06-2013 08:48 PM

Thanks guys! I have enough time to research and get the math done so I think I’ll give it ago. I’ve already got the oak treads and risers sitting in my garage, waiting to be cut to fit (or not depending on code), just have to pick up the 2x for the stringers, etc.

-- aspiring jill of all trades

View MaryDaniels1952's profile


1 post in 1296 days

12-23-2016 11:49 PM

I had problem with this so I called for professional. I thin this is best idea in your situation.

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