How To Use A Speed Square For Stairs? (14 Steps)

How To Use A Speed Square For Stairs

Without stair stringers, you can’t think about stairs. A stairway gets proper support and treads from stair stringers. This means it is mandatory to cut stair stringers properly; you will need to measure them using speed squares and lay them out correctly.

Once the stairs run and rise measurement is finished and drawing them is completed on the wood, precise cutting along the lines is necessary.

Let’s learn more about how to use a speed square for stairs.

Step-by-Step Process – How to Use a Speed Square for Stairs

The first stringer cutting is crucial in these steps. Once you make the measurement right and cut the first stringer using a speed square, balance work will be much more effortless.

Required Ingredients

  • Hand gloves
  • Goggles
  • Earplug
  • Wood board (38mm X 286mm)
  • Speed Square
  • Hand Saw
  • Circular saw
  • Pencil
  • Calculator

Step 01: Measuring the Total Rise

The rise is the total height between the 2 stories that the stairs will connect. In most cases, measuring the height is a crucial requirement.

The measurement has to be from the top of the bottom finished floor and the finished floor above. When measuring your stringers, if the floor is not finished, you must consider this, too.

Step 02: Determine the Each Steps Height

The height of Each step may vary, but general standards are available. 7” is the standard height of every riser, so consider this standard height unless you have limitations like not using it like a limited headroom.

Step 03: Identify the Total number of Stairs

In this step, you will need to do some mathematics. This calculation will let you understand the number of real stairs to reach the required height. Take a calculator and do the arithmetic as below.

For example,

If 7” height stairs are the requirement, 56” should be the overall rise. Then divide 56” by 7”. In total, 8 stairs will help you to reach the height.

The risers number will be more than the trades number automatically.

Step 04: Find out the stair Required Run.

Between the top and bottom stairs, the horizontal distance is known as the total run. The general thumb rule is 40° should be the angle of the stairs; how far away the stairs are will vary according to your preference.

Generally, 10” is the standard height of each run for a person’s comfortable walk on the stairs.

Moreover, stair measurement can easily be determined since online has many stair calculators. All you need to do is put the angle and rise; the rest of the calculations will be done by the online calculator.

Step 05: Calculate the Stringers Length

Calculating the length of the stringers is relatively straightforward using a Pythagorean Theorem since you have already calculated the stair’s overall run and rise.

It would be best to use the a2 + b2 = c2 formula at this point.

If 65” is the rising requirement and 80” is the run requirement, the calculation will be 652 + 802 = c2. Then the “c” will be 80”.

Step 06: Carefully Check Your Measurement

Make sure the calculations are correct to avoid any future problems. Your time and effort should be well worth it. Also, if the measurement is wrong, you have to rework it again, which is quite a hassle. Double-check the calculations again; once you are satisfied, go to the next step.

Step 07: Measuring the First Stair

Take a speed square and a board of 38 mm X 286mm. Place the speed square over the board, leaving a 1” or 2” gap between the end of the speed square and the board.

Using the speed square makings, draw the run and rise measurement on the board according to the measurement you got.

The rise measurement should be the square’s short end. On the other hand, the run measurement will be the square’s long end.

The board needs to be longer than the stringer’s length. This will give you some room to play.

Step 08: Outline and Second Stair Marking

Outline the balanced stairs using the speed square. This will be the outline of the top stairs.

Crosscheck that the figures of your run and rise are perfectly drawn with the top edge. Once the top edge is finished, start drawing the second stair.

Step 09: Mark the Stringer’s Bottom

In the bottom stringer, the first step has to be the same height as the others. From the rise, subtract the thread depth; this way, 7” will be the height of the finished stair. To the right of the run line, draw another mark equivalent and parallel to the thread thickness. It is the bottom mark of the stringer.

Step 10: Circular Saw Preparing to Make the Cut

Make sure to wear protective gear like goggles, hand gloves, a hard hat, and other necessary equipment.

Also, the stringer board needs to be clamped down so it doesn’t wobble when you work. Moreover, keep your body away from the circular saw blade when working.

Step 11: Start Cutting

Start the saw before starting the cut. Don’t rush; slowly position the saw in the outline. Also, don’t cut the outline entirely; leave 5” in the end, and you will finish cutting that area using a handsaw.

Step 12: Use a Handsaw to Finish the Cut

You might be thinking, why didn’t we finish the cut with the circular saw? In fact, if you do so, more cuts than expected may happen accidentally. To get the exact cut we leave a few inches to get an exact cut.

Step 13: Cut Down the Stinger’s Top & Bottom

Don’t forget to trim down the stringer top & bottom. You should use the handsaw to do this.

Step 14: Balanced Cut Needs to Be Done Following the First Stringer

An exact match is necessary when cutting the other stringers. As a stringer template, use the first stringer. This way, cutting will be easier and faster than before.

How to Use a Speed Square | Ask This Old House

Sum Up

The whole process of using a speed square for stairs will be comfortable once you finish measuring correctly and cutting the first stringer, as stated earlier.

Don’t forget to wear protective gear because the circular saw blade is pretty sharp and can harm you if you remain inattentive. Put your focus on the work and work in an open space; hopefully, you will enjoy the DIY project.