Saturday, January 7, 2012


One of my projects next year is to build a new set of stairs for the little house. Janne helped me build a landing for its front door, and now I have about a 2-meter wide leading edge. This will be perfect for a broad set of stairs to come off the path, up to the little house.

I want to make these stairs myself, so I have been reading up on the subject. There's a wealth of information out there on the mathematics and mechanics of stair-building. I've bought a book, and also watched videos on You Tube. (I've found you can learn how to do most anything on the internet these days. And I mean anything.)

The most important thing is to calculate the 'rise' and 'run' of the stairs. This simply means how high the stairs have to rise up from the ground to meet the deck. The length (or 'run') of the stairs is calculated from how many steps are needed to complete the rise.

There are lots of variations on how wide and steep each step should be. Standard building codes specify the maximum rise (not too steep) and minimum run (not too shallow). The steps I have now are fiarly broad and shallow; I initially wanted that to make life easier for Ollie. But, as Margaret pointed out, broad steps make a great perch for having a bowl of cereal in the morning and watching the scenery.

When I was at the house in December, I made a bunch of measurements. My local building store in Texas had simple angle finders and other stair-measuring tools for me to bring along, so I have a pretty good idea of what I need to do.

I've made a sketch of what the stairs will look like. I have a bunch of photos and measurements of my current stairs, so I'm confident about what needs to be done. I'll run it all by Janne when I see him next, to make sure I've thought of everything. I'm looking forward to the project!

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