Graphical Construction Glossary >> stairs. >> general >> Stair Strings

Stair Strings
The sloping members of a flight of stairs that support the treads.
Also called Stringers . Under certain conditions they can also be categorised as:-
Bracketed, Close, Cut, Curved, Outside, Wall, Wreathed.

sketch stair stringers

A sketch of flights of stairs and quarter landings. The raking pieces (greenish) are the stringers. Against and fixed to the wall they are known as Wall Stringers. The ones not fixed to the wall, but fixed to the newel posts are the Outside Stringers.

Stairs have to be strong enough to carry the load imposed on them. The live load of foot traffic and maybe furniture, but they also have to carry their own weight without deflection or springiness. Enter the stair string or stair stringers. They are the main support members of most stair designs.

Apart from support of course the stringer is a way of tying the whole of the components of a flight of stairs together, the treads, risers, newels, handrail and balusters.

It is quite common to see a stair to a wall or even between two walls using Cut Stringers so that from the finished stair no part of the string can be seen. I am not in favour of this practise, as the true housed string that gives a solid margin above the nosing line performs a similar function to a skirting or base board in that it protects the wall surface from toe and cleaning scuffs.

a housed stringer

Above at the top is a detail of a routered string where the treads and risers are fixed to the stringers using glue, wedges and glue blocks. Known as a Housed Stringer.

a cut stringer stair

Above is a quick sketch representation of a cut stringer stair.

steel plate stringers

Strings come in all shapes and sizes. Some stair flights like concrete ones or ones with heavy carriages do not use them at all. By way of variety here is a stell stair that used 12mm thick mild steel plate strings for the main support of the flight.

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Please Note! The information on this site is offered as a guide only!  When we are talking about areas where building regulations or safety regulations could exist,the information here could be wrong for your area.  It could be out of date!  Regulations breed faster than rabbits!
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