How to calculate stair treads

Written by athena hessong Google
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The depth of stair treads and the height of risers determine the ease of access people have on stairs. Taking careful measurements and constructing the stairs in accordance with building codes will ensure success with your project. For best results, take each measurement twice to verify your findings.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Pen and paper

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  1. 1

    Measure the inches from the ground to the finished floor to which the stairs will connect. Write this number down as the rise of the stairs. Measure the distance from the top of the finished floor to the point on the ground level where the stairs will end. Make a note of this stair run in inches.

  2. 2

    Divide the rise by the desired stair height, which must be less than 7 inches. Round all decimal answers up to the nearest whole number. For instance, a 71 inch rise divided by 7 yields 10.114 stairs. Round this up to 11 stairs. Divide the total rise by the number of stairs to determine the final stair height. Dividing 71 by 11 equals 6.455 inches for the height of each stair.

  3. 3

    Determine if the last tread should be placed at the level of the floor to which the stairs connect or if the last tread will be placed on the last stair below the level of the connecting floor. For treads ending at the top of the floor, the tread number equals the number of stairs. For treads ending one below the top floor, subtract one from the total number of stairs.

  4. 4

    Use the final number of stairs ( in the example, 11) and divide the total run measurement by the number of treads to get the distance for each of the tread runs. For instance, a total run of 121 inches divided by 11 stairs would equal a tread depth of 11 inches.

Tips and warnings

  • If it does not matter where the stairs end, use 10 inches for the depth, or tread run, of each of the treads.

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