DIY Floating Stairs

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Those who appreciate minimalistic design might want to install floating stairs, which typically have open risers and don't have visible support underneath the steps. These eye-catching staircases add visual interest to a home with their contemporary design. Before building floating stairs, check with your local building office.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Support tube
  • Header plate and base plate
  • Drill
  • Lag bolts
  • Steel tread supports
  • Hex head steel bolts
  • Washer
  • Hex nut
  • Level
  • Wrench
  • Wood treads
  • Pan head screws
  • 1 inch square steel spindles
  • Steel handrail
  • Socket wrench
  • Determine out how many steps you need by measuring the total rise of the staircase from the ground to the top. Determine the riser height you want, based on code requirements. In general, the maximum height of a stair riser should be a maximum of 7 inches and a minimum of 4 inches, but your locale might differ. Divide the total rise by the riser height to find out the number of stairs you will install.

  • Attach the base plate and the top header plate to the center support tube. The plates are the flat metal disks that connect the long metal cylindrical support tube to the floor and the top of the stairway opening or stair well. Bolt the top header plate to the well opening 1 inch down from the finished floor by drilling pilot holes and securing the plates with bolts. The base plate should be down when installing the header plate. Position the center support tube so it is parallel to the adjacent wall, and bolt the base plate to the floor by drilling pilot holes and securing with lag bolts.

  • Attach steel tread supports at the predetermined riser height by sliding the locking sleeve up from underneath the center support. Secure with hex head steel bolts and place a lock washer and hex nut over the bolt. Tighten with your fingers, set the exact riser height, and tighten with a wrench.

  • Place wood treads with the bottom back edge touching the center support tube. The wood treads should be centered over the center support tube. Fasten the wood treads in place with pan-head screws from below. Install the railing by setting the top and bottom 1 inch square steel spindle at least 2 1/2 inches in from the side of the step and center it on the tread depth. Use flat-head wood screws to secure the spindles to the wood treads.

  • Bolt the handrail to the top and the bottom spindle with hex-head slotted self-tapping screws. Use a drill to make holes in to the steel handrail and a socket wrench for installation.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a “rise and run” chart to get an idea of how many steps you will need.
  • Stain or seal the wood treads before installation.
  • Inspect the tightness of the nuts and bolts annually for safety.

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