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Determining Stair Angle

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  • Determining Stair Angle

    As some of you may know I recently installed some railings, including a section alongside some steps. The hardest part was determining and maintaining the angle from the break at the top of the stairs to the bottom post. Because the work was at my house I was able to do most of the work in place for the angled portion. For those of you who do this for a living and would fab the panels in your shop, when you visit a site to take your measurements, how do you measure for the stairs? I'm looking to be able to walk away with something on paper that I can refer to and know that I measured correctly. Is there a standard angle that you use?

    Most examples I look at have a fixed post before the break then about 4-6" of horizontal rail before angling down the steps.

    I'm looking to start the front steps and really want it to look right.


  • #2
    I just use a long straightedge and a protractor with a bubble level in it...Bob


    • #3
      I find a construction calculator to come in handy for thing like this.
      Then I lay out the stairs on a 1" x 12" and make sure that they will work. If all looks good l start building. This seems to work for me. Here is a handrail I did with a pattern. Look at photo 10 on page 3. On this project I laid it out on the wall so I could see the project at all times, Built it took it to the cabin it fit without any rework. Hint takes good measurements and notes and photos. It makes life allot easier.

      Rick C


      • #4
        I measure every riser and tread,then just draw it on graph paper.Take it back to my shop and lay the stair case out on the shop floor with a marker and build off that.


        • #5
          I use a straightedge and a protractor to get the angle correct, and I measure from the tip of the top step to the ground using the straightedge to where the angle intersects with the ground. All dimensions are taken with this in mind when at the location. I bring a level also and find any variations in the ground around or in the consruction.
          Then I draw it out on the shop floor as well and measure everything relative to those two points.


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