How to determine stair height

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Gurb's picture
How to determine stair height

Hi Bill,

how does one determine the height of stairs?


Gurb's picture
Height Of Stairs

Gurb, you have to determine the height from the top of one floor to the top of the floor your stairs are running to.   This is typically done by adding up the height of the wall that carries the next floor above together with the overall height of the floor joist and subfloor materials.    So for instance if you framed      the main floor with pre-cut studs your wall would typically be 8'-1-1/8" tall once you added a sole plate and a doubled top plate.  Then if the floor above had 2 x 10 floor joist they are typically only 9-1/4" deep and normally 5/8" T&G floor sheathing is applied.   So you would add all three of those together to get your floor to floor height.   8'-1'1/8" + 9-1/4" + 5/8" =  8'-11". 


In Softplan when you add stairs and go into the Stair Edit Menu the very first entry box says "Stair Rise".  That is the overall height of the stairs floor to floor. In other words that is where you would enter the 8'-11".  Once you enter that, on the right hand side of the Edit Menu you will see "Risers > Number" and this is telling you how many rises the stairs are split up into.  Right below that you'll see a box that says "Height"  this is the height of each individual riser.   In Ontario, Canada the maximum allowable rise is 7-7/8" but an ideal rise is usually something around 7-1/4" - 7-1/2".    Anything under 7 or above 8" is typically not a comfortable rise or possibly not allowbale.   So you can change this by changing the number of rises in the box above either upwards or downwards.  Softplan uses this info ( the overall Stair Rise x the number of Rises to determine how tall each iniividual rise will be.   Alternatively you can just do the division work yourself.


Hope this helps!

JimC's picture
Stair Height

One caveat to the above is that pre-cut studs and typical material depths or thicknesses could be a little different depending on where you live.  My example is for my location which as stated is Ontario, Canada.  Double check standards in your area.



Gurb's picture
Thanks Jim

Totally makes senese.

great explanation. Nice to meet you.


Gurb S