Building Confidence

Volume 16 Issue 1
ISSN 1923-7162

Welcome to Dave's Shop Talk's Home Improvement Newsletter of questions from our members on their construction projects, a Tip of the Month and a home remodeling article, both from our website at

Tip of the Month

Safety Tip: Maintain your power tools with care. Keep your power tools sharp, clean and lubricated. Wear safety glasses and dust masks. Use the power tool only when you are fit to operate a power tool, while not impaired.

And a Bonus Tip:

Safety Tip: Keep your work area clean. Especially on table mounted power tools such as table saws, band saws, routers, etc. Clutter under foot is inviting an accident, a slight trip and a finger or hand can be cut or removed.

Ask Dave!

My total rise is 133.5. Doing 4' wide runs but have to implement a 90 degree landing at approximately 3' off a concrete carport. Do you have a best practice to offer when doing this? In my mind I would deduct the 36" from my overall rise plus decking thickness and then just do a 3' set for the bottom rise. Am I off here?

I start, as usual, with the total rise divided into the number of rises.

133.5 / 7.63 = 17.49 rises. We can't have an uneven number of rises, so choose 17 rises. 133.5 / 17 = 7.85" rises. You can go with 18 rises and a lower rise of 7.41"

With 17 rises we have 16 steps or runs. You want a landing at about 36" from the bottom floor, so go with 5 rises = 39.25". Make this the height of the landing - 5 rises or 4 steps, the 5th step is the landing itself.

The landing should be the same length as the width, ie. square. The landing height is 5 rises to the top of its sub-floor, just like the steps and the upper and lower floors. Usually, the run for a rise of 7.85 is 10.5 or 11, depending how much room you have for the total run.

Hope this helps,


On your YouTube video you had a diagram for a stair stringer. I would like to find out how you got it. Thank you

Our software for the Stair Calculator draws them, based on what you input into our calculator. See

Follow the instructions on the page. If you have a problem or question, don't hesitate to email me.


Thank you for your reply. I'm trying to do 3 stingers with a rise of 58.5 and a run of 191 in. Its for a handicap customer so the rise needs to be around 3 inches and step needs to be a 2x12 how can I make a stinger cut out sheet? Thank you

Hi Henry,

I'm sending the printout from our Stair Calculator, as requested. Since the rise is less than the minimum 5", we had to force the calculator to give us the numbers, regardless.

Please find attached your drawings for the rise and run requested.

Hope this helps,

Stair Measurements from Dave's Easy Stair Calculator at

Total Rise entered: 58.5 inches

Floor Thickness: not entered

Number of rises: 18 rises

Number of runs: 17 runs

Height of each rise: 3 1/4 inches

Length of each run: 11 1/4 inches

Total Run: 191 3/32 inches (15'-11 3/32")

Length of board needed for the stringer: 18 feet

Length of opening in upper floor: needs Floor Thickness

Tape measurements (in inches) for the stringer (see diagram):

      10 13/16     22 1/2     34 3/16     45 29/32     57 19/32     69 5/16     81     92 11/16

      104 13/32     116 3/32     127 13/16     139 1/2     151 3/16     162 29/32     174 19/32

      186 5/16     198

Diagram from our Stair Calculator with all the measurements of a seventeen step stringer.

Diagram from our Stair Calculator giving the measurements of where and how to attach the seventeen step stringer to the upper floor box joist or header.


I include these drawings to give you, our Newsletter reader, an idea of what is available through the use of our website Stair Calculator.

Feature Article of the Month

(taken from our website:

Roof 5: Re-Roofing a Roof

According to the building code, you are allowed only 3 layers of shingles on a roof. Asphalt shingles are heavy, starting at 210 pounds per square (100 square feet) for the old butt shingles, to 250 pounds, and more, per square for the laminated shingles. This is the reason there is a limit on the number of layers, allowed on a roof.

Now, the shingle manufacturers are saying they won't warranty their shingles unless they are on a roof deck with a layer of 15 pound roofing felt under them. Most of the re-roofing jobs you see done now always remove the first layer of shingles. The new shingles coming out today are warranted longer than the 10 or 15 years in the past. We can get fiberglass based laminated shingles lasting 40 years. Getting warranties like this tells us to do the job that the manufacturers want, that is start right back down at the roof deck. I've done it both ways, roofing over existing shingles and tearing off the old and starting back at the sheathing over the rafters or trusses. The tear off is not that big a deal, but does a much better job. Get yourself a tool like a garden spade with a built up back and dive into it. Start by removing the ridge caps and go down the roof, opposite to the way the shingles were laid. If these roofs are going to last 30 or 40 years, most of us won't have to worry about re-doing it, anyway. So let's do it right the first time.

The advantages of tearing off the old shingles is being able to see the roof deck; re-nail it; replace boards if needed; replace old flashings, plumbing jacks and roof vents. The job is going to be expensive, so we may as well do it right. The only added expense, really, is the labor and cost of getting rid of the old shingles, a small proportion of the total. The only thing I would be leery of disturbing is the flashing on the chimney that goes over the roof flashing. If this stuff is rotten, of course replace it, but it is embedded, or should be, in the mortar originally by the bricklayer building the chimney. The roofer then does his part later. Installing flashing around a chimney, skylight or dormer is not too complicated if you follow procedures. As you go up the roof with your shingles, go around the chimney or dormer, as well. The front apron is easy since it goes over the top of the shingles below the chimney or dormer. Ask for a front apron which has the edge rolled over on itself to keep it stiff on the exposed edge. On the sides of the chimney or dormer we use step flashing, every row of shingles has a step flashing. Half goes under the next row of shingles, above it, and the bottom half goes over the shingle, below it. When coming to the back of the chimney or dormer, we install a back pan which is about 12" wide at the back.

Now the tricky part: The front... Read more at Roof 5: Re-Roofing a Roof.

Dan and I thank you for your interest and support of our Website.

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(Ask Dave) (About Dave)

Your source for building tips, woodworking & furniture plans, house plans and building advice directly from Dave...

Hi, I'm Dave Osborne. With over 50 years experience as a journeyman carpenter, foreman and contractor in heavy construction I enjoyed working with apprentices and sharing the tricks of the trade that others shared with me. Now I get emails from Members all over the world and we include many of my answers in our Free Monthly Newsletters. Some of my answers include drawings and instructions specific to a project, but may also answer your questions. I use correct construction terminology, so you can confidently inform your building supply dealers or contractors exactly what you need.


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