# How to build a corner stair?

• posted on December 24, 2003, 8:12 am
Is there any information how I can build my own corner stair of wood in a house? I'm trying to help a friend, taht want to build a stair up to the second floor of his house. The stair is quite complicated, see
The biggest problem is of course how to calculate the steps in the corners. Does anyone know any drawings or instruction of this on the net? Maybe there is a carpenter in this group? We would be grateful for any help!
/Roland
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• posted on December 24, 2003, 11:07 am
OK, I'll take an uninformed stab at it, but chances are it'll make my head explode or something. Especially if I'm not right or something -- so just take this as one man's mathematical gymnastics in the form of a helpful suggestion or something.
I'll go on the assumption, based on your diagram, that this is going to end up being a custom project of some sort -- meaning you just can't buy some pre-fab corner stringers or something like that. I may be wrong here, but I've been led to believe that steps should be, what, 8 inches high? So for the sake of argument, let's say a set of proper stairs should be 8 inches high.
OK, now I'm guessing from your post that you've got the straight staircase sections between the upper and lower floors covered. It's just the corner sections that have you stumped. Here's what seems logical to me: Forget the number of "steps" you have drawn in your diagram example. The only one that matters -- which will determine how many steaps you actually need in real life -- for real measurement's sake is that one stair that will be at a 45-degree angle. This will be the "anchor" connecting your straight staircase coming up from the lower floor (which is at a 90-degree angle) and the staircase on the second floor (which is at a 180-degree angle, but for the sake of argument, let's say this constitutes a 0-degree angle). This 45-degree stair will be your primary mid-point -- and hence, the entire "missing stairs" area's halfway point -- of the corner area that will ultimately join the first and second floor cases because the midpoint between 90 degrees and 0 degrees is 45 degrees. Your distance -- and hence the number of steps you should end up with betwen points A and B to join the two cases -- should be the main 45-degree angle step with an even number of steps in an area divisible by 8" above and below that 45-degree step.
In other words, let's say you have a two-foot gap that needs to be filled by your section of corner stairs. Using your 45-degree stair as the midpoint, you would need 3 stairs total to fill that gap (24 inches divided by 8 inches for a standard stair = 3 stairs). So in the end, you will need the first stair cut at a 24.5-degree angle, the second (or middle, halfway-point stair) cut at a 45 degree angle, and the third cut at a 69.5-degree angle. Then for the opposite side, you'd need to cut those stairs at whatever degrees are opposite of 24.5, 45, and 69.5 degrees. Consult a protracto for whatever that is, or just set the wood on the opposite side of your saw blade set at 24.5, 45, and 69.5 and cut. I dunno. I'm not the Shell Answer Man.
Now, if your distance between the two cases is something a lot more or a lot less than 8 inches, you're on your own to do your own brand of critical math, amigo.
Flame away if necessary, you carpenter guys.
AJS
snipped-for-privacy@home.se (Roland Bengtsson) wrote:

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• posted on December 24, 2003, 11:32 am
(Roland Bengtsson) wrote:

The great philosopher Pythagoras taught that odd numbers were more perfect than even; indeed, the temple builders who wrought long before Pythagoras always built their stairs with an odd number of steps, so that, starting with the right foot at the bottom the climber might enter the sacred place at the top with the same foot. The stairs as a whole are a representation of life; not the physical life of eating, drinking, sleeping and working, but the mental and spiritual life, of both the lodge and the world without; of learning, studying, enlarging mental horizons, increasing the spiritual outlook. Finally consider the implications of the winding stairs, as opposed to those which are straight. The one virtue which most distinguishes man is courage. It requires more courage to face the unknown than the known. A straight stair or ladder hides neither secret nor mystery at its top. But the stairs which wind hide each step from the climber, what is just around the corner is unknown. The winding stairs of life lead us to we know not what.
Here are a few pages to view
winding stairs diagram
http://www.slcc.edu/tech/techsp/arch/courses/ARCH1210/Photos/wind_str.jpg
winding stairs requirements
http://www.slcc.edu/tech/techsp/arch/courses/ARCH1210/Photos/strcode.jpg
stair terms
http://www.slcc.edu/tech/techsp/arch/courses/ARCH1210/Photos/strterm.jpg
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• posted on December 24, 2003, 11:20 am
You know, come to think about it, you could eliminate all this crapola and take the lazy guy's way out by just hanging a few strung-together square landings in that corner to take up the slack.
Nah -- what fun would that be, right?
AJS
snipped-for-privacy@home.se (Roland Bengtsson) wrote:

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• posted on December 25, 2003, 1:59 am
You do mean rectangle, right?
And landings would be preferable due to moving large objects and when the kids just want to jump instead of walk.
(Roland Bengtsson) wrote:

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• posted on December 24, 2003, 12:36 pm

From looking at your drawing, if it is anywhere near scale, I dont see how you can make a set of steps like that unless you have like 20 foot high ceilings. There are just way to many steps.. For normal 8 foot high celings you only have about 11 or 12 steps. If you do have the room to make this setup why not try two landings in the corners instead of spiral corners.
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• posted on December 24, 2003, 12:36 pm
Have you considered leaving the corners flat as landings? I tend to hate the stairs that have steps in the corners as I have big feet and always find myself trying to step on a small section of each step. For safety sake you might consider just putting landings in the corners.
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• posted on December 24, 2003, 3:46 pm
<< Is there any information how I can build my own corner stair of wood in a house? >>
Would a spiral stair work in this situation? If so, check out advertisers in popular magazines like this Old house, and others. Some units are priced around \$500. More elegant types for \$3K and better. DIY installation is said to be easy with videos, etc. Consider having an architect make a set of plans for you. It could save you many hours hard work and possibly a hazardous situation resulting from the wrong design parameters, like too tall steps or narrow treads. Another blunder avoidance gambit is to contact your local carpenter union for retired finish carpenters to hire on as consultants. This worked for me some years ago when I had to restore a Victorian porch. Saved \$2-3K on that project as it got done ahead of schedule and under budget. The gentleman had all the plans in his head. Only downside was the next tax bill after the assessor saw it. Good luck.
Joe
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• posted on December 24, 2003, 6:15 pm
On 24 Dec 2003 00:12:23 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@home.se (Roland Bengtsson) wrote:

Well, the drawing is certaintly wrong and would never work..
Your rise/run should be maintained around the corners - exactly the same as the straight runs. But you get to pick the spot on the width of the stair from which to create this rise/run. I'd suggest the middle if it is a narrow stair, otherwise about 14 inches from the inside..
I'd also round the edges off..
PJ