How to Design a Staircase Online

Designing a staircase requires basic geometry, and using an online staircase calculator can help you with any project. All you need to do is have your staircase measurements handy and select their equivalents from the drop-down menus provided on the blocklayer.com website.

Design a Staircase Online

Go to blocklayer.com to access the online staircase calculator. The bottom of the screen shows a cross-section illustration of the staircase you are designing, as well as proposed measurements.

Measure the distance between the floors for the stairs you are designing. Enter this measurement under the "Total Rise" drop-down list.

Choose a preferred stair riser height, which should be about 7½ inches for residential staircases. Your range can be from 7 to 8½ inches. Choose the measurement in the "Ideal Rise" drop-down list.

Show more details in the cross-section drawing of your staircase design. Select "Show Nosing", "Show Stringer" as desired, and select "Restrict" to lock the design to the riser dimension you selected.

Determine the tread depth, or length. Enter this measurement in the "Ideal Run" drop-down list for the staircase. A standard residential tread depth is 10 to 11 inches, including the nosing. Enter the tread depth as the "Ideal Run" measurement from the drop-down list. Select "Use Ideal Run" to provide the overall length the staircase will require, based on the tread depth you selected.

Click the "Calculate" button to see a graphical design of your stairs.

Refine the design by selecting the "Stringer Width", "Stair Width", "Headroom" and "Floor Thickness" to incorporate these elements in the design results. For example, a typical stringer width is 11¼ inches, a standard stair width is 42 inches, and the headroom should be a minimum of 7 feet, 4 inches.

Press ¨Calculate,¨ again, to update the calculations and graphic. Scroll down the page to find the extrapolated measurements for the staircase you just designed.

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Notepad
  • Computer with Internet access


  • If you haven´t determined your staircase measurements, the default measurements in the drop-down menus provide a reasonable starting point for a typical residential stairway design.


  • It is recommended that you consult local building codes before finalizing your staircase design.

About the Author

Paul Massey has been writing since 2009, drawing on a 35-year career in the construction industry. His experience includes 15 years as a general building contractor specializing in architectural design, custom homes, commercial development and historic renovations.

Photo Credits

  • house construction interior 1 image by Paul Moore from Fotolia.com