How to Install Wood Stairs

To install a staircase that will be functional, decorative, and safe, certain guidelines must be observed. The type of material to choose is a primary consideration. While stairs have been constructed using a variety of materials over the years, wood stairs remain the most common. Here's some suggestions on how to install wood stairs.


  1. Image titled Install Wood Stairs Step 1
    Establish the perimeters of the space. Measuring the area where the stairs will be constructed is the best way to determine the kind of wood staircase you need. If there is plenty of space, you can choose a traditional split level with a landing, or a straight set of stairs.
    • For a small, or more crowded area, you may need to install a spiral staircase. For the purpose of this article, we will choose the simplest, a diagonal up and down wood staircase.
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    Determine the starting point. If possible, keep the lowest step away from doors or other obstacles such as vents, or busy passageways. The staircase can add beauty to a home as long as it isn't located in an inconvenient part of the room. Ideally, the staircase should be placed against a wall, which will give it more stability.
  3. Image titled Install Wood Stairs Step 3
    Mark a line from bottom to top. With 1 person on the floor, and another on a ladder, use a pencil with a straight edge or chalk line to mark a diagonal line for the stringer. The stringer is the part of the stairs that the steps, or threads, and risers will be attached. The risers are the vertical pieces perpendicular to the threads.
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    Purchase and transport the materials. You will need 2 stringers and boards for the threads, as well as the risers, which can be purchased precut at a lumberyard. Ensure that you measure for the correct length and width. Avoid stringers and lumber for the threads and risers that is warped or splitting.
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    Install the stair stringers. With the help of at least 1 other person, place the stringer against the line on the wall. Place a level on the stringer where the thread will be attached. Locate the horizontal studs in the frame inside the wall.
    • Using a framing hammer, nail the stringer to the wall studs, making sure each nail is securely in the stud. Further secure the stringer with braces all the way to the floor.
    • Align the second stringer for the correct width and height. The second stringer should be supported by a standard frame wall. Brace the wall under the stringer and secure with framing nails.
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    Situate the threads and risers, and handrail. Place the precut threads across the stringers and fasten with nails. Nail the precut risers vertically, between the threads to the stringers.
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    Install a standard handrail parallel with the stringer using vertical spindles. Fasten entire assembly to the stringers and to the wall at the top of the stairs.
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    Finish out with carpet or hardwood.


  • Utilize the space under the wood staircase for storage or a closet.
  • For a professional appearance, use custom made railing and spindles.


  • To install a staircase wider than 36 inches (91.4 cm), use a third stringer in the middle for extra support.

Things You'll Need

  • Ladder
  • Pencil or chalk line
  • Level
  • Framing hammer and nails

Article Info

Categories: Floors and Floor Coverings | Walls Fences and Decks