How to make a staircase to the second floor

One of the most important aspects of building or renovating a home is constructing a staircase to the second floor. It’s a design element that can improve the overall aesthetics of your living space in addition to being a functional necessity. A safe and aesthetically pleasing staircase must be carefully planned and executed, whether you’re building a new home or remodeling an old one.

First, think about the available space and the design aesthetic that works best in your house. Depending on your needs and preferences, there are a variety of shapes and configurations for staircases, including spiral and straight, each with their own advantages. While spiral or curved stairs can add a touch of elegance, they require more careful planning to ensure they meet building codes. Straight stairs are practical and efficient with space.

Next, decide what supplies you’ll need. Because of its warmth and adaptability, wood is a popular choice, but glass and metal can give a modern appearance. Your choice should also take into account each material’s maintenance needs and durability. Budgetary planning is also essential because expensive materials and complex designs can add up quickly.

Make sure the staircase satisfies local building codes and safety standards when designing the layout. Safety-related factors that cannot be compromised include the stability of the structure, the height and depth of each step, and the clearance above the steps. Not only are balusters, handrails, and guardrails decorative elements, but they are also vital safety components that need to be installed precisely.

Finally, employing a knowledgeable architect or contractor can expedite the procedure and guarantee that your staircase satisfies all legal specifications. Professional knowledge can also assist you in overcoming design obstacles and guaranteeing that your staircase improves the aesthetics and usability of your house.

What a staircase consists of

There are various types of stairs, such as prefix, rope, retractable, and ladders, depending on the intended use. However, they are rarely used in private homes because it is inconvenient to use them for frequent trips up and down to the second story. The most popular types of stairs are the marching and screw stairs, which have the following features.

  1. Kosour or bowstring. These are the guides of the stairs, two inclined beams on which the steps are attached. The main difference between them in the method of fastening the steps – on the aunt, the holes for them are cut inside, and on the bracket the boards are attached from above. If the staircase is screw, then the central column can be used instead.

  1. Step – the main component of the stairs. This is a board located horizontally, on which a person will advance when lifting.
  2. Approach. Optional element that can be located vertically, at right angles to the steps. It makes the structure more durable, extends the service life of the steps.
  3. Pillar, handrail, baluster. These are vertical elements that facilitate climbing the stairs and make it safer. Together they form a railing. Can be mounted on one or two sides or not at all if the staircase is located between the two walls.
  4. Site – gap between several staircases.

What should be the staircase

The stairs should be secure and comfortable first and foremost. In order to achieve this, it needs to match the following specifications:

  • The width should be such that two people can calmly break out-preferably 120-130 centimeters, but if there is not enough space in the house, it can be reduced to 1 meter, but in this case it will be problematic to raise furniture and other large items;
  • The height of the step that provides a comfortable rise is 15 centimeters taking into account the thickness of the board itself, that is, the distance between the neighboring steps should be about 12 centimeters;
  • The width of the step should be such that the leg of any person is completely placed on it – at least 27 centimeters;
  • The recommended height of the aisle is at least 2 meters so that when lifting it does not have to bend, but if the staircase leads to the attic, which is rarely used, the value can be reduced to 180 centimeters;
  • The angle of inclination of the stairs is 20-30 degrees, if necessary, this parameter can be increased to 45 degrees, it is no longer recommended;
  • The total length of the march depends on the width of the steps and angle of lifting, most often is 1.5-2 meters;
  • the number of steps at the standard ceiling height of 2.40 meters and observing the recommended parameters usually is 16 pieces, but the number can vary from 14 to 20;
  • The dimensions of the site can be any, but it is desirable that it is at least twice as many steps – so you can comfortably take a step and continue to rise or descent.

What stairs are

March and screw stairs are the most popular options in private homes; each has different variations.


The marching staircase is made up of steps and a kosour, also known as a bowstring. This is a traditional and well-known option that is typically found in private homes but is also utilized in retail establishments, underground crossings, and apartment buildings.

These stairs are easy to construct on your own and are very practical and convenient. There is very little chance of stumbling and falling on the ascent. This option makes it easy to raise furniture of any size along the marching staircase and allows two people to walk along it comfortably at the same time while ensuring a sufficient width and taking up minimal space in the house.

In individual homes, typically installed:

  • single -small stairs in which one flight connects the first and second floor, the sites are not provided;
  • Two -march stairs, into which the rise is divided into two spans with one site, marches can be located at an angle of 90 or 180 degrees to each other.

A two-step stairway with 90-degree (right) and 180-degree (left) angles

Private homes rarely have stairs with three or more marches because they take up a lot of room and necessitate a sizable opening in the ceiling.

Racing steps can be used in place of places for forming a corner in the two-minute stairs. This lessens the structure’s overall size, but it also brings risks. Specifically, if you rise beneath the structure in the dark, you run the risk of tripping over the steps’ varying widths. It is therefore preferable to consider this option and withdraw from the race if there is a chance to create a single-march staircase or allot a little more space on the site.


A spiral staircase is built with the steps arranged around a central axis. They are visually stunning and unique, blend in perfectly to serve as the room’s "highlight" and decoration, and frequently take up less room than marching options. However, climbing these stairs is more challenging because you frequently have to use the raining steps to create the required angle, which increases the risk of touching. Another disadvantage is that the span’s width is typically limited, making it difficult to bring large furniture and making it uncomfortable for two people to break comfortably.

The march ladder can be easily made independently, using only wood, but screw – no. You will need a central axis, which is most often made of metal, and not from wood, and a handle of a screw form, which is also rarely made of wood. You will also have to make steps of a special shape – it will not work to purchase even boards of the same size. All this significantly increases the cost of the structure, and during use the costs will not pay off – on the contrary, the spiral staircase is much less convenient. Therefore, it is better to choose a classic marching option – it is both cheaper and more convenient.

"Several crucial factors guarantee both safety and functionality when constructing a staircase leading to the second floor. Every stage is vital, from picking the best design to comprehending building codes. This article offers homeowners clear guidance on materials, measurements, and safety standards along with helpful hints and necessary steps. Whether building a new staircase from scratch or remodeling an old one, a well-designed staircase improves accessibility and raises the aesthetic value of any house."

Preparation and design of the stairs

Thus, we describe how to build a second-story hand-built staircase.

Step 1. Choose a design

Choosing the design is a must before you can do any calculations or buy materials. It is preferable to focus on a more practical and affordable march; with the correct materials and careful planning, it can become an interior decoration that is on par with a screw staircase.

How many marches must you perform? Since the ceiling opening is precisely calculated for the staircase, it is preferable to leave the design unchanged if it needs to be redone after it is already installed in the home. If it is made from scratch, you must start with the item that will be most useful while occupying the least amount of space.

One of the easiest and most convenient designs is a staircase with a single march. Less materials will be needed and the project will be completed faster as a result of the site’s absence. It will only require 5.16 square meters of usable space, with a width of 1.20 meters and a flight length of 4.3 meters. You can later outfit a pantry or cabinet underneath it to make the most use of this area. Building a single rubber staircase makes sense when it’s crucial to narrow the occupied area because it takes up a long, narrow space.

Two-marched stairs are shorter in length but wider. They are frequently constructed in the shape of a square or small room. Simultaneously, the site’s width is increased, which has an impact on the ceiling opening’s dimensions: it will be larger than the machine staircase. The best choice that enables you to decrease this opening’s dimensions is when there are three steps in the first march and the second, 12–13. Subsequently, his dimensions will match those of the identical machine staircase.

Step 2. We carry out calculations

You must choose the following factors in order to compute the size of a single-ruble staircase.

  1. The number of steps is the height of the ceiling, divided into 15 (recommended step height).
  2. The height of the approach – the opening between two neighboring steps. Formula: the selected step height is the thickness of the board (it is recommended at least 20 mm). For example, 15 cm – 2 cm = 13 cm.
  3. The total length of the stairs is the number of steps multiplied by their width (recommended-27-30 centimeters)-for example, 16×27 = 432 centimeters. If it is important to reduce the length, you can make sure that the steps come a little on top of each other, but the size of such an overwhelm should be no more than 5 centimeters. In this case, the formula will look like this: The number of steps x the width of the steps – the number of steps x the size of the overlap. For example, 16×27 – 16×5 = 352 centimeters.
  4. The size of the opening in the ceiling. Here it must be borne in mind that the distance between the step and the ceiling should not be less than 2 meters, otherwise you will have to bend down when lifting. Based on the dimensions, you need to calculate at what step the distance between the stairs and the ceiling will be 2 meters. Formula: ceiling height – 200 cm / step height. For example, 240-200 / 15 = 2.6 (you can round up to 3 steps). After that, the length of the resulting number of steps must be taken from the total length of the stairs – this will be the length of the opening, and its width coincides with the width of the march. For example, 432 centimeters – 3 steps x 27 centimeters = 351 centimeter. With a march width of 120 centimeters, the dimensions of the opening will be 3.5×1.2 meters.
  5. The length of the Kosuura or the bowstring and the handrail. A staircase is a rectangular triangle, where the height of the ceiling and its length is the cattle. Thus, Kosour is a hypotenuse, it is considered by the formula √ (Square of the height of the ceiling + square of the length of the stairs). For example, √ (240²+432²) = 494 centimeters. The length of the handrail coincides with the length.
  6. The angles of the slope of the stairs – it will be needed when working with a bow. Corners can be calculated through the Arctandgens. The upper angle adjacent to the second floor is considered according to the formula: Arctg (ceiling height / staircase), bottom corner – Arctg (stairs / ceiling height). For convenience, you can use the calculator of calculating the angles of a rectangular triangle. For example, at a ceiling height of 2.4 meters and a staircase length of 4.32 meters, the upper angle is 60 degrees, the lower – 30.

Since the two-minute staircase is made up of two single-ruble stairs, the computations follow the same methodology; that is, you must compute the parameters of each span independently. The drawing can be seen to reflect all of the clarity indicators that were obtained.

Step 3. Preparing materials and tools

To construct stairs by hand, you’ll need the following tools:

  • drill;
  • saw or electrician;
  • end saw (you can rent or do without it);
  • roulette, triangle, caliper;
  • a hammer, screwdrivers, a chisel and a chisel;
  • pencil or marker for marking.

Of the supplies that are required:

  • Self -tapping screws, screws, dowels;
  • Morilka and varnish for impregnation of wood, if necessary – paint;
  • The carpentry glue.

Moreover, supplies for building the staircase will need to be bought. The use of chipboard and its wood chip equivalents is not advised because the structure will be flimsy and short-lived, posing a major risk to the home’s occupants’ safety. Consequently, you must select a wood massif:

  • Pine is the most budget option, it is easy to work with it, but it wear out quickly, suitable for rarely used stairs;
  • Ash and beech are inexpensive, but high -quality, serve for a long time, retain the strength of the structure, differ in a beautiful wood pattern;
  • Oak is an expensive, very durable option, it looks premium and looks great in the interior.

You can order a cut in a woodworking workshop or from a seller, and you can calculate in advance the sizes of steps, kosour, balusters, and handrails. Work can be done independently if you own or rent an electrician.

The process of assembling the stairs

They begin assembling the stairs once the calculations are completed and all the materials are prepared.

Step 1. Working with a kosuer or aunt

You can order a pre-made Kosour or bowstring; however, the number of steps and lifting heights must be reported to the workshop. In this instance, the cutouts will be even, and as soon as the material is purchased, additional assembly can begin.

If you are going to carry out all the work yourself, you first need to mark the beam. First you need to draw the corners according to previously calculated calculations – in our example it is 30 degrees for the bottom and 60 for the top. After that, unnecessary parts are cut off with a saw or a jig. To do this, they need to be put where the staircase will stand. It is necessary to pay attention not only to whether the Kosour with the floor and the wall converges, but also to ensure that all the beams are the same – if there is a difference between even several millimeters between them, the integrity of the structure will be broken.

Next, start cutting out shapes to place beneath the stairs. They have to be placed parallel to the floor; a right-angled triangle can be used to ensure that the markup is flat. The vertical neckline is the estimated height of the approaches (height of the step minus board thickness), and the horizontal neckline is the width of the step (27–30 centimeters).

The bowstring is constructed using the same principles, but recesses are created in the beam in place of cutouts.

Kosour is fastened with anchor bolts to the walls and floor. Larger bolt sizes and numbers are needed in proportion to the structure’s weight and dimensions. The bowstring is fastened using the same principle; however, it is mounted to the floor subsequent to its connection to the steps, making assembly easier.

Step 2. We collect steps

As soon as the stair base is prepared, start assembling the framework. If a bracket is being used, a drill and screws are used to secure the steps to the protrusions. They are fixed in the corners in four different locations. In the event that the approaches are planned, the assembly is done in turn: the step is fixed first, followed by the approximate, and so forth. Carpenter’s glue can be used as an additional glue before drilling the joined surfaces.

A staircase that operates on the same principle as a bowstring. The steps are screwed into the grooves using a drill and self-tapping screws after being previously lubricated with carpentry glue. The approaches are gathered using the same methodology as the Kosoura.

Step 3. Install the railing

Balusters can be installed most easily by screwing them into a bracket or bowel from the side. Prior to that, they are cut at an angle so that the beams’ edges line up with the stairs’ base. Then, using multiple self-tapping screws, they are fastened to the structure. It is crucial to make sure that the distance between adjacent balusters is the same. Each component can be precisely installed mid-step to avoid doing intricate calculations.

Although the second option is more intricate, this design will appear more realistic. Prior to installation on Kosour, vertical handrails must be screwed onto the first and last step. The balusters are already installed on the staircase and the crossbar is screwed to the upper and lower handrails after it is fully assembled.

Another option, which is also simple to implement, calls for balusters to be filled exclusively from above. The self-tapping screw is positioned perpendicular to the floor and screwed into the structure when they are installed on the edge of the steps. The primary benefit of using this installation method is that baluster spacing doesn’t need to be calculated.

Step 4. We process wood

Sanding the wood is necessary after the design has been gathered. While creating a grinding machine is convenient, if one is not available, you can still work by hand with tiny sandpaper; the process will take longer, but the outcome will remain the same.

Next, in order to prolong its useful life and prevent the growth of parasites, the wooden staircase needs to be treated with an antiseptic.

The last step is varnish, which not only protects the structure but also gives it a more regal appearance and highlights the tree’s intricate natural pattern. The interior and the owners’ preferences will determine whether or not the stairs are painted rather than varnished.

Materials Needed Tools Needed
Wood planks, screws, nails, measuring tape, level Saw, drill, screwdriver, hammer

When building or renovating a home, constructing a staircase to the second floor is a sensible and necessary component. It’s not just about practicality; safety and aesthetic appeal are also important.

Take into account your home’s general layout as well as the available space when designing your staircase. The staircase should be easy to use and blend in perfectly with the rest of the house’s architectural design.

Make sensible material choices by weighing cost, durability, and aesthetics. While metal offers a contemporary appearance and robust structural support, wood is still a popular choice because of its warmth and adaptability. Make sure the materials you choose adhere to safety regulations and building codes.

Installation calls for accuracy and compliance with regional construction codes. Whether you’re building a spiral, L-shaped, or straight staircase, every step needs to be firmly placed, and for safety, there needs to be enough balustrades and handrails.

Finally, don’t undervalue the significance of accessibility and lighting. Safety is improved by having enough lighting along the staircase, especially at night. Furthermore, take into account the requirements of every family member, including those who have mobility challenges, by making sure the staircase is designed to be easily accessed.

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Gleb Zuev

Exterior designer, author of books about roofing materials. I will help you make your roof not only reliable, but also beautiful.

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