JLC Field Guide: Stairs

Building codes strictly govern all aspects of stair construction, including a stair's rise and run, the height and shape of guardrails and handrails, and the headroom above the steps.

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Stairs Featured Articles

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Custom Stairs From Stock Parts

Stair specialist Jed Dixon describes how to lay out, cut, and install treads,... More

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Installing an Over-the-Post Handrail - Part One

Simple-to-make railing stands allow accurate assembly right in position. More

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Installing an Over-the-Post Handrail - Part II

Loose-fitting dowels and five-minute epoxy allow fine adjustments in the assembly. More

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Foolproof Layout For Winding Stairs

While new stair codes have made winders more complicated to build, full-scale... More

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A Custom Newel Post Retrofit

Dave Holbrook shows how he updated a staircase's original square newel posts with... More

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Fitting New Stairs Into a Tight Space

Retrofitting a narrow townhouse with a new staircase while meeting code proved to... More

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Opening Up a Narrow Room

Using glass panels to separate a basement stairwell from the living room and... More

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Stairs Instruction

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Rules for Wall-Mounted Handrails

A building inspector explains what the code says about returns at the ends of... More

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Rules For Baluster Layout

Master stair builder Jed Dixon explains the art and science of laying out balusters. More

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Q&A: Alternative Stair Design

When building a house with a loft accessed by a code-compliant stair, does a second, unorthodox, stair that leads to the same loft space have to comply with code as well? More

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