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Thread: Stair construction and tread spacing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Windsor,Ontario
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    20

    Stair construction and tread spacing

    I'm contemplating building a foldable set of stairs to gain access to the rafters in my garage and looking for ideas.

    Ceiling height is 8', give or take an inch, and I'm thinking of making it about 10' long. My idea is to have it fold in the middle, so it will fold flat against the ceiling when not needed. Construction material I'm considering is basic 2x4 material with the steps set in dadoes on each side.

    Is there a formula that will tell me what angle to put the dadoes so the steps are level?

    Suggestions, criticisms, are both welcome.
    Brian

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Long Hill Township, NJ
    Posts
    467
    If it were me I would just buy a commercially available set of attic stairs for $100 and be done with it.

    http://www.amazon.com/Louisville-Lad.../dp/B000KKNRL4

    The only reason I'd do something else would be if you need a larger opening or there are other (not mentioned) limiting factors.

    That said you can figure out the angles based on the rise/run of the staircase. I'd pull the angle from my attic stairs but they broke and are buried in a snow drift next to my garage and the replacements are in the shed out back. The metal arms got bent trying to get something large into the attic and continuing to use them ruined them.

    Cheers

    Jim

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    NH
    Posts
    4,005
    I am with Jim on this one. If I had to do it I would lay the stringer up and mare it with a level. Me not being real big on math that only works in theory.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Bradford, Vermont
    Posts
    425
    I'd recommend buying one... but if you must build for some reason, first siddown & figure out for sure how many risers & how many treads you're going to fit in, starting from knowing the distance from the floor in the living space to the FLOOR in the overhead space (NOT the CEILING), then deciding for sure how long a run the unfolded stair will have, and how it'll attach to the joists.

    When you've got the total rise & run figured out, and the number of treads & risers picked, the rest just falls into place. Then & only then will you know the rise & run of each step, and from the rise & run comes the angle you're looking for.
    -- Tim --

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Windsor,Ontario
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    I've checked into the attic style stairs, but the opening I have to use is only 48"X26" and so far any of the ones I've found have required a larger opening. I "could" make this one longer, but since I already have insulation and lighting in place, I'd like not to disturb everything.
    Brian

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    NH
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    Here is a set for a bit smaller opening. http://www.amazon.com/Stairs-ladder-.../dp/B0002YP3GK
    This link has one LWS-P is just the right size http://www.jnkproducts.com/attic-stairs.htm
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Westphalia, Michigan
    Posts
    955
    I know this is a woodworking forum but,................................ Have you considered a steel ladder. If you know someone with a welder you can make something real strong to whatever size you want. I buy steel from a scrap yard at less than half the cost of new steel and I have yet to have anything break. Those flimsy wooden contraptions scare me. I got rid of my only wooden step ladder buy shooting a bottle of tannerite sitting on the rungs. I had to spend a while with the kids picking up the scattered pieces of kindleing in the hay field.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Windsor,Ontario
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    20
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Downes View Post
    I know this is a woodworking forum but,................................ Have you considered a steel ladder.
    I have been using half of an old aluminum extension ladder, think it's 10'. It has worked well, but it's become inconvenient as my small garage has suddenly become crowded with tools as I persue my hobby. Get the step ladder, open the hatch in the ceiling, move the step ladder out of the way, get the ext. ladder off the wall, and manuver it thru the opening... becoming a bit of a PIA.
    Brian

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Windsor,Ontario
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Thoits View Post
    Here is a set for a bit smaller opening. http://www.amazon.com/Stairs-ladder-.../dp/B0002YP3GK
    This link has one LWS-P is just the right size http://www.jnkproducts.com/attic-stairs.htm
    Thanks Chuck. Will check them out.
    Brian

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