How to Frame Winder Stairs


Winder stairs with steps that turn direction without pausing at an open landing come with positives and negatives. There is less area required when no landings are involved, but the varied step size and angle can at times be difficult to navigate. The process of framing winders requires that a landing be installed at the location of each turn. The landing platform will then serve as both the bottom directional step and the foundation on which the remaining steps are built.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • 2-by-6-inch lumber
  • Circular saw
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Level
  • 1/2-inch plywood
  • Tread material
  • Finishing nails
  • 2-by-8-inch lumber
  • Wood glue
  • Rounded nose molding
  • Safety goggles
  • Work gloves
  • Measure the space between the bottom riser of the straight portion of the staircase and the flooring surface below. Determine the amount of steps required to make the necessary turn in your staircase, making sure that each is as close to uniform in depth as the existing stairs. Subtract the total height of all the steps from the space you measured. The remaining measurement is the height of the support you must build for your landing.

  • Cut two lengths of 2-by-6 inch lumber to the remaining measurement with your circular saw. Place the two posts at each corner of the landing area opposite the existing staircase stringer. Fasten the posts to the flooring surface or floor joists using your hammer and nails. Use your level to make sure the posts stand flush.

  • Cut a piece of 1/2-inch plywood to the dimensions of the landing. Install the plywood onto the two posts at one end and the tread surface of the existing stringer at the other. Fasten the plywood in place using your hammer and nails. Cut a piece of tread material to fit the dimensions of your landing, then install with your hammer and finishing nails.

  • Make an outline of the next step upon the surface of the landing using your masking tape. Measure the outline, then cut pieces of lumber to the measurements for use as the frame. If your step is 6 inches deep use 2-by-6-inch lumber to build the frame. If it is 8 inches deep, use 2-by-8s, and so on. Fasten the frame together using wood glue, your hammer and nails. If the step is large, place a length of lumber down its center for added support. Fasten the frame to the landing surface with nails.

  • Lay a piece of 1/2-inch plywood onto the frame and nail it in place. Install the tread material on top of this. Repeat the process with the next step, and another, continuing until the winder turn is complete.

  • Install a rounded piece of nose molding onto the exposed edge of each step to create a finished look and to eliminate the rough edges. Use wood glue, a hammer and your finishing nails to fasten it in place.

Tips & Warnings

  • Inquire with the local building authorities to learn what requirements exist for winder stairs. Some codes include certain necessary step sizes, layouts, spacing and other requirements. If you ignore these rules, it may result in a future demolition and rebuild.
  • Use caution when working with dangerous tools like saws, hammers and nails. Serious injury can occur. Wear safety goggles and work gloves for protection.

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