One of the most important aspects of building a staircase that must be thought out in detail before you start is how are you going to install it.

Staircases when assembled are big items and although it can be easy to build a staircase and assemble it in an open space like a workshop, when the staircase has to be built into an existing space where there is little or no room to assemble the staircase things can get more complex.

In some situations installation can be the very simple option of assembling the stair laid down on an open floor space and hoisting or lowering it into position. But the question is how to build a staircase when you have to assemble the stair in the stairwell.

In renovation work it’s often impossible to assemble the stair anywhere other than directly inside the stairwell.

In the following example we had to build a staircase that had several problems that had to be taken into account:

  • The staircase had to be a tight fit between 2 walls
  • No space outside the stairwell to assemble the stair
  • An irregular stairwell difficult to measure precisely
  • Plaster board cladding along walls that made anchoring to solid supports difficult

In this project the basic principles of building a staircase had to be adjusted to take into account the specific constraints of the installation in the confined space of the plaster board clad stairwell.

The following solutions enabled us to create a stair that fitted our installation constraints:

  • 3 part stringers used on both sides made it possible to assemble the stair in the well
  • Allowing minimal play against the walls and filling the gap with a flexible filler enabled us to make a perfect fit against the walls
  • Gluing the stringers to the plaster board with expanding hard polyurethane glue spread the load of the stair along the complete side of each stringer and formed a solid anchor on the plaster board cladding

Here’s a photo showing the principle of the 3 part stringer system:

3 part string system

Here’s another photo that shows the placing of a step on the lower cut string part of the stringer:

how to build a staircase

In the video above I show how I install this stair using these stair building techniques specifically designed for this type of installation.

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  1. John Algar on July 16, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Installing stairs are often a hassle work when the space is limited. The video which you provided, is quite helpful and it gives me a confidence to install stairs on my own.

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