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November 18, References. This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
This article has been viewed 33, times. Learn more Designing and building your own house can be a rewarding experience, as it allows you creative control over the location and design of your home. Although it's possible to form your own house design and blueprint, you can save time by working with a professional architect.
Determining zoning regulations for your build site. Contact a reputable architect. Working with an architect should be more like collaboration than like handing over control of your pet project.
Obtain bids from builders once the blueprints are complete. The architect will make the blueprints and floor plans, but you need to find someone to actually build the house.
Collect bids from at least 3 builders. Your architect may already have one or more builders that they can recommend with you.
Ask your architect for a builder recommendation. This will save you the trouble of having to find a builder on your own. Part 2 of Determine the location for your house. The location of your house will, in fact, have a significant effect on the design. Work with an architect—or accommodate your own floor plan—to take into account:  X Research source How to situate the house for the best views from your bedroom, living room, and porch.
How to maximize sunlight entering your home. Formulate a budget with your architect. Communicate your financial goals to your architect, and ask for their help in establishing a budget for each phase of designing and building the house. The architect can advise you on which building materials and house styles will best suit your architectural and financial goals. Also consider that multi-story houses typically cost less to build than single-story homes.
Accommodate the needs of all family members. This will directly effect the size of your house, the size of your living spaces, and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you build. Assist the architect in the design process. When helping design your own home, take a hands-on approach and communicate to the architect what you want regarding the shape and size of your home.
If you have a specific architectural style in mind, or want an overall aesthetic for certain rooms, communicate this as well. These can be found in magazines or online.
Part 3 of Research local city and county building codes. These sets of rules will govern where you can and cannot build a house. You should be able to find these rules online without too much trouble.
Contact your county government and obtain the necessary building permits. A county or city inspector will review your building plan and issue permits once the building plan is approved. Determine how the property will be reached by roads. This may involve modifying your building location. Work with the builder while construction is underway. On average, it can take from 4 to 6 months to build a new home, from when the foundation is poured to when you move in.
During that time, the builder may encounter unforeseen problems, or you may decide to make cosmetic changes to the house layout.
Keep in contact with the builder and visit the site frequently to make sure all goes according to plan. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0. Submit a Tip All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. Recipe Ratings and Stories x. Related wikiHows.
More References 3. About This Article. Co-authors: 8. Updated: November 18, Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 33, times. Did this article help you? Yes No. Cookies make wikiHow better.
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POP Projects is a collection of new and classic projects from more than a century of Popular Mechanics. Master skills, get tool recommendations, and, most importantly, build something of your very own. From a technical standpoint, there's nothing particularly difficult about building stairs for a deck, porch or shed.
Anyone with basic carpentry skills can make the necessary cuts and assemble the parts. And yet, stair building is arguably the most challenging task do-it-yourselfers will ever attempt. Stairs must satisfy strict building codes meant to ensure safety and climbing comfort.
Tall steps make climbing hard, and shallow steps are uncomfortable and dangerous. Since there's so little room for error, building stairs requires careful layout and some potentially tricky calculations. Start by consulting your local building department for codes and guidelines. Then, follow the procedure laid out here, where I built steps for a raised backyard deck.
There are three main components in a typical staircase: stringers, treads and risers. Stringers, normally cut from 2x12s, are the angled boards that extend from the deck down to the ground. They support the other stair components and carry the weight of people walking on the stairs. Stringers are typically spaced 16 in.
When determining the width of a staircase, remember that wider is better. Deck and porch steps are seldom less than 4 ft. Treads form the horizontal top surface of each step, and risers are installed directly under the front lip of each tread.
Deck staircases don't always have risers, but it's a good idea to install them because they protect the exposed end grain of the notched stringers, which helps prevent them from cracking. Stair stringers for decks and porches are almost always made of weather-resistant pressure-treated lumber. The treads and risers can also be cut from treated lumber, but are often made from whatever material is used for decking, such as cedar, redwood, composite lumber, PVC boards, or exotic hardwood.
The first step in building stairs is finding the total rise, which is the overall vertical height of the staircase. Lay a long level or straight board on top of the deck and let it extend out from the edge several inches.
Then measure down to the ground or landing location. Let's say the total rise is 57 in. With that dimension known, you can now calculate rise of each step. Divide 57 by 7 in. Round down to get the number of steps: eight. Then, to determine the actual rise of each step, divide 57 in. Now you must find the total run of the staircase, which is the horizontal distance the staircase will cover from the bottom step up to the deck.
Simply multiply the number of steps by the horizontal depth of each step. The optimum depth for deck and porch steps is 10 in. In our example, the staircase has eight in. Staircases have strict building codes with regards to acceptable rise and run measurements, and when a landing is required.
Before laying out the steps on a 2x12, decide how the stringers will join the deck. They're either attached directly to the rim joist so the top step is flush with the decking, or to the framing under the deck, which is the way I did it here. When mounted under the deck, the stringers are either attached to the joists or to blocking placed between joists.
Note that with this technique, the stringers must be cut long to reach the framing. Mark the tread notches using a framing square fitted with stair gauges. These small brass fixtures clamp onto the square, providing an accurate way to mark several identical notches.
Clamp one stair gauge on the square's tongue directly at the rise dimension. Attach the other gauge to the body of the square at the run dimension. The tongue is the narrower leg of the framing square; the body is the wider part.
Then, lay the square on the 2 x 12 with the gauges pressed against the board's edge and mark the tread and riser. Slide the square down, align it with the previously drawn notch, and draw the next one. After drawing all the tread-and-riser notches on the first stringer, cut the notches using a portable circular saw. However, be very careful not to cut beyond the pencil lines. After cutting up to the pencil lines the waste piece will still be attached to the stringer.
Use a handsaw or jigsaw to cut through the last bit of wood to free the waste piece. Next, trim the bottom of the stringer an amount equal to the tread thickness. That ensures each stringer will be exactly the same size. On this deck, I used galvanized carriage bolts to fasten the stringers to the deck-frame blocking, which was spaced 16 in.
Carriage bolts are stronger than lag screws and eliminate any chance of splitting the framing. And note that the bottom of the stringers rest on top of a bluestone slab, which provides rock-solid support, but also protects the stringers from ground moisture and water damage. Never set stringers directly on bare ground. Instead, pour a concrete pad, or set them on stone slabs or solid-concrete blocks. After setting the stringers in place, lay a long level across all of the stringers to confirm that each step is level.
If you find any high spots, pare them down with a block plane or rasp. Cut the risers to length using a power miter saw for speed and accuracy. Later, a 1x12 cedar trim board will be nailed to the stringer, giving the staircase a more finished look. After installing the risers, fasten the treads with 3-in. Continue installing treads, working your way up the staircase. The 4x4 posts used to support the staircase handrail are often bolted to the stringers before installing the treads.
However, I completed the stairs first, and then attached the posts and built the handrail, as required by code. The final step is to apply an exterior-grade finish, typically stain or clear wood preservative for deck stairs, and acrylic-latex paint for porches. Type keyword s to search. Susan Pittard. Buy Now. Smoothing Bench Hand Plane. Wood Rasp.
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