stairs - the second installment
There seemed to me 3 options for building stairs in our timber frame home. #1. fashion "airy and open" stairs solely from timbers and solid plank boards. #2. build "closed stairs" with typical building materials or #3. build partially open stairs with typical building materials, inserting timber supports and beefy timber-like handrails where appropriate. Given my limited experience at stair building (the basement stairs were my first), and my small supply of sufficiently seasoned wood, Option 3 seemed like the best comprimise between aesthetics and "gettin 'er done," so option 3 is what I chose.
These U-shaped stairs link the 1st floor to the second floor. They have a rise of 7 + 25/32" and a run of 10". The landing is 3'x6', with a step in the middle.
As with the basement stairs, head clearance was the biggest design challenge that the 1st floor stairs presented. Had I known something about building stairs when I designed the timber frame, I might have designed the timber frame differently. Ah, but hindsight is 20/20. The problem that needed to be solved for the first floor stairs was that the stringers beneath the 1st floor stairs were too low, and created head bumpers above the basement stairs. I solved this by laterally offsetting the 1st floor stairs a bit from their intended location, shrinking the landing a bit, and by leaving out the middle stringer in the upper half-flight of stairs. Having only 2 stringers instead of 3 will require me to install thicker treads so they won't feel so bouncy in the middles, but this was the easiest (only?!) solution I could come up with.
In order to keep the basement as a seperate and isolated heating zone, it was necessary to close in the stairs with the dry-wall you see in the second picture. Behind that drywall is a thin wall (built of 1.5" x 2.5" studs) that forms the basement stairwell.
I snapped this last picture before we began building the 2nd-to-3rd floor stairs. It's a birds-eye view of the 1st-to-2nd floor stairs taken from the 3rd floor.
Like the basement stairs, I intend to cover these 3/4" plywood treads with 3/4" hardwood treads and risers. The hardwood treads will have a bull nose that overhangs the risers by about an inch, making the treads 11", even though the actual run of the stairs is still only 10".