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The Staircase - Mudroom Update

how to install a staircase in garage
Good morning friends!

I'm back today with another update to the garage-mudroom. This time I'll be spilling all the details about how we built the staircase.

If you're new here, let me tell you that this is the garage in my home. The picture you see below was the starting point to the idea of converting that platform you see there, into a mudroom. It was always a messy spot where everybody kept on leaving shoes and all sorts of stuff.
small platform to go inside the house from the garage

Well, this is how that same corner looked at the end of my previous post. You can read that post right HERE.

A little room was built, but it was in dear need of a staircase! We were still using the old staircase, as you can see, that top step was a real hazard. 😬
Jeld wen window in mudroom garage
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When building a staircase you have to keep it up to code. There are special guidelines such as riser height, tread depth, stairway width, etc. that you have to follow. All those rules are intended to make the staircase safe. They shouldn't be ignored or bypassed.

Some of the measurements that I kind of memorized:
Minimum staircase width: 36 inches
Maximum staircase riser height: 7 3/4 inches
Minimum staircase tread depth: 10-11 inches

Let's take a look at how we built this staircase.


We went the easy way by buying stringers, those three vertical pieces of wood below, which are the ones that will support the treads and risers. The cool part is that they already come up to code.

We had to determine how high or low to install them. Then, level them.
staircase being leveled in garage
| Four-Step Stair Stringer | Level |

Close stringers made out of 1 x 12 primed pine were cut to size for both sides of the staircase.
staircase in the garage
And as you can see, we had to make the most out of the single 1" x 12" x 8' board we had!
Once the close stringers were cut to size, they were clamped in place and everything was secured to the platform and to the floor with screws, brad nails, and liquid nails.
The side that doesn't show much, was the one we had to put together like a puzzle! :D
A 2 x 10, and Sheetrock were also added on the right-hand side of the staircase.
Here, an eye-bird view.


The next step was to install the staircase treads. I bought these beautiful 11-1/2 x 48 red oak treads at Home Depot, they're very strong, solid!

They were cut to size using the miter saw.
*At this point, we were only dry-fitting them.
| Red Oak Engineer Tread |

For the staircase risers, we used 1/2 inch plywood that we cut to size with the table saw.
It all looked really nice! However, the treads and risers were removed to finish them.


I first gave the staircase treads a light sanding, and dust them very well.
DeWalt 5-In. Variable Speed Sander |
Then, it was time to stain those treads, and that was one of the hardest decisions I had to make.
My main goal was to get rid of the red tint on those boards and keep them somewhat light-colored.

I already had a few wood stains in my stash, but to try some more I bought the Classic Gray and Sunbleached during one of my trips to HD.

I tried each of the stains on two leftover pieces of the staircase treads. One board is redder than the other. You can see the difference in the stain as well.
different types of Varathane wood stains being tested on red oak
| White Wash | Classic Gray | Sunbleached | Weather Gray | Dark Walnut |
White Wash didn't do much, the reddish undertone was still there. The Classic Gray was too deep, it almost looked like paint. The Sunbleached accentuated the red tones, especially on the reddest board. The Dark Walnut looked great, but I didn't want a dark stain here in the garage, it would surely show every single dust particle!

I went with Varathane Weathered Gray - only one coat. This 8 oz. was more than enough for the four treads.

A couple of days after, a light sanding with 220-grid sandpaper was given to all the boards to make them super smooth.
how to stain staircase treads


The risers and closed stringers were given two coats of Behr White in a semi-gloss finish.
We waited a few days for the paint and stain to dry before installing them.
staircase treads and risers
| Behr White - Semi-Gloss |


All the hard work was already done! Installing the treads and risers was as simple as adding glue and driving a few nails to set each board in place.

Here's what we did:

  • We used a small metal brush to remove dirt from the stringers, it also helps to make those sides that are going to be in contact with the treads and risers, a bit rough - better glue adhesion.
  • Using a vacuum cleaner, we removed any wooden particles and dust lingering on those stringers.
  • Titebond wood glue was applied on that part of the stringers where the first tread is going to be installed.

how to build and install a staircase
| Titebond Wood Glue |

  • The second tread was installed.
  • Then, the riser in between those treads.
  • A very few 2" brad nails were driven from the treads and risers onto the stringers. 

securing stair treads and raisers with wood glue and brad nails
Ryobi Cordless Brad Nailer |
Here's how they looked at the end of the day.
staircase with weathered gray treads and white risers
I still need to apply a protective coat onto those stair treads and I also need to install a railing.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that we capped off that side stringer with a piece of 1 x 3" pine.
mudroom in garage
| JELD-WEN Door | Kwikset Door Handle Set |
And yes, we finally installed that door. It was one of those pre-hung doors, very easy to install.
weathered gray treads and white risers staircase - Jeld wen door

As you can see, I also painted the walls! I still need to cut in around the door and window and all those corners. But hey, this is looking better and better each day!

Installing the floor inside this little room is the next step in this mudroom project. Stay tuned!

-------------------- .  * . * . * . * . *  . -------------------

Here are all the projects that were tackled during this mudroom build:

The mudroom plan

DIY - Garage platform

How to frame a mudroom in the garage

How to build an indoor staircase

How to install slate tile

*This post contains affiliate links.

Enjoy what you read today?



  1. You are so skilled! Looking great so far. Can't wait to see the finished mud room. I would have never thought of creating a mud room there, but it seems to be the perfect spot.

  2. This is going to be such a fabulous mud room. Love how it is coming along.

  3. I want to do this in our garage SO badly (we desperately need a mudroom! But I think if we did it would turn into a one-car garage. Ugh. Yours is looking absolutely phenomenal!

  4. Cristina as always you amaze me. I love seeing your projects unfold! The weathered gray stain looks great on the treads. What an upgrade for garage steps!!

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