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Hello,

I wanted to start a discussion about English versus American stair construction. I have found references to both, the best of which being in Adele's carpenter and builders book page 1295 that has nice diagrams showing American versus English.

American sets the risers first and then the tread and the English sets the tread and then the riser on top of the tread. Both seem to have pros and cons such as the shrinkage joints being on the face of the riser or the top of the tread. From my research it seems the American is more common but there are people out there building English.

The other day I constructed a set of stairs English style and was told that I constructed them incorrectly and they were wrong. I explained both methods to the person and even going as far as pointing out the references in Adele's carpentry and building book.

What do you all think am I wrong?

Andy
 

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my head is spinning . do what works for you .
in my training i tend to avoid leaving gaps where our eyes most likely tend to look . if there is shrinkage and a gap was produced i want it in the least seen place . i generally put risers first for that reason .then again it is 2022 and i have real high quality glues ,fast screws ,biscuits or dominoes . i can do this both ways on the same stairs and no one would know .
 

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I like risers first, as I don't have to be as perfect with the fit. The tread covers it and the treads will slide in with minor variations if any.

I'm not a stair guy, so that's just my thoughts on it on the rare times I do interior stairs.


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In the US it is common to hide the gap when viewing a set of stairs, so we install backers first.
In the US, we make em pretty and hide that nasty line because we are civilized people who want it to look the best it can.
In the UK, they make them last as long as possible, so they use the riser to trap and hold the tread stock.
US vs UK Stair construction differences are style vs longevity.
Which way is better? Well let's look at the results of the last 200 years.
The US is arguably the most powerful nation on earth while the UK has gone from an empire spanning half the globe to being relegated to a tiny island in the Arctic Circle.
#UK_Free_The_Treads
 

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Which way is better? Well let's look at the results of the last 200 years.
The US is arguably the most powerful nation on earth while the UK has gone from an empire spanning half the globe to being relegated to a tiny island in the Arctic Circle.
#UK_Free_The_Treads
Pretty sure this is the real reason for the American revolution. Treads first? F that.
 

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I build my stairs out of plywood and use the risers to support the front and rear edges of the treads. Makes for exceptionally solid stairs. I also build my stairs as soon as both decks are framed.
 

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We used to do stairs last to keep looky loos (curious home owners) away from the upstairs until roof framing was done.
We can only hold off on them until the second floor platform is framed.
If tools or materials need to be brought up, then stairs are mandatory as per our safety regs.
But I will block off the bottom flight with lumber at the end of the day /week if we want to keep the inquisitive away.
 

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Eater of sins.
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In the US it is common to hide the gap when viewing a set of stairs, so we install backers first.
In the US, we make em pretty and hide that nasty line because we are civilized people who want it to look the best it can.
In the UK, they make them last as long as possible, so they use the riser to trap and hold the tread stock.
US vs UK Stair construction differences are style vs longevity.
Which way is better? Well let's look at the results of the last 200 years.
The US is arguably the most powerful nation on earth while the UK has gone from an empire spanning half the globe to being relegated to a tiny island in the Arctic Circle.
#UK_Free_The_Treads

Wow, we attained all that because of the way we do our stairs.
Just think of all the wonderful things we created because we drive on the correct side of the road.
'merca, love it, man.

Andy.
 
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