How to Find the Length of a Stair Stringer

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You can figure out the full length of a stair stringer by using several tools, such as a framing square. The square's tongue and blade have degree markers to assist you in finding the right angle of the stairs. To do this, hold a string at an angle and check it with the square to find the correct point for the stair stringer. Once the point is marked, you can determine the tread width. According to most building codes, stair angles should be between 30 and 35 degrees.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Nail
  • Hammer
  • Dry line
  • Framing square
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape

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  1. 1

    Hammer a nail at the top point of where the stair stringer will rest on the header; this will be the end point of the stair stringer. You can use any type of nail for this task. Stringers are boards that form the base of a set of stairs, whereas headers are boards that the stringers attach to at the top of the stairs.

  2. 2

    Attach a string, which is referred to as a dry line, to the nail. Bend the nail so that the string does not come dislodged while it is being stretched during the measurement process.

  3. 3

    Pull the dry line down to the floor below and stretch it out at an angle as if it were the stringer. This means the string will be angled at about a 20 to 50 degree angle to the point where the stairs will start.

  4. 4

    Place a framing square on the floor with the blade flat against the ground and facing away from where the stairs will be placed. The square's blade is thicker than the tongue portion and will feature numbers representing angle degrees.

  5. 5

    Slowly pull the string back while checking the angle degree with the square. The stringer angle should be between 30 and 35 degrees. The critical low angle of a stair stringer can be 20 degrees while the high angle can be a maximum of 50 degrees.

  6. 6

    Once the angle is found, place a line on the floor where it meets the string; this is the end of the stairs and is referred to as the "total run." Measure the total run with a tape measure to determine the length of the stair stringer.

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