Installation

14. Framing for Finish: Before I install the stair horse that runs along the wall I pad-out the studs with a few long 2x4s equal to the length of the stair horse so the drywall and stringer trim can slip between the rough stair horse and the wall studs.

15. Connectors at the Landing: The attachment to the landing can involve many different framing options. Depending on the framing situation, I always make sure to have Simpson Strong-Tie A34/A35 or other similar metal connectors on hand to ensure a positive connection. Unless directly supported by a wall below, the connection at the landing needs more than angled nails.

16. Attachment to the Floor: Solid support at the floor requires a 2x4 notched into the bottom of the stair horses. This allows a kick plate-type resistance and can be nailed to the subfloor or, in the case of a slab, be attached to anchor bolts or by shot pins.

17. Draft Blocking: Staircase framing creates all kinds of fire-draft blocking challenges, so I make sure to block out all areas required before I have tons of framing in the way.

18. Fasteners and Adhesives: I always glue and screw the treads and risers, no exceptions. I install the risers first so I can run a few screws through the backside of each riser into the butt edge of the tread below for extra support.

19. Strength and Noise: Once built, I run up and down the stairs looking for bounciness or squeaks. This is the one and only time they can be dealt with affordably.

Don Dunkley is a framer from Cool, Calif., and construction events manager of Hanley-Wood's JLCLive! show and The Remodelers' Show.