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How To Build Deck Stairs: A Complete Step By Step Guide


Stairs are essential and functional elements to a deck. They also give a beautiful visual appeal to the deck. Building your own deck stairs may sound complicated and tiring. You can easily and safely build your deck stairs in no time.

Deck stairs should be carefully planned. If the stair rises are not of the same height, then it will look tripping hazard. So follow these steps and build your deck stairs without messing up the things.  

Here is step by step guide on how to to build deck stairs: 

Types Of Deck Stairs

First, you need to think about the style and type of deck stairs.

  • Box Type Stairs: 

These types of stairs are trendy these days. But they are constructed only for the low height decks. Box stairs will look beautiful at the front or side of the deck. They are not like traditional cut out stringers stairs. Here, a series of wood boxes are placed on top of each other. These types of stairs are easy to make, but they are sturdier up to three steps.  Go with stringer stairs for more than three steps.

boxed type deck stair

Source: thomasdecks.com

  • Open Style Stairs: 

Open or freestyle staircases are also very popular. These style stairs will look good in a big yard. Select the stairs that are suited to your deck and area. 

open style deck stair

Source: pinterest.com

Parts Of Stairs

Before building any type of stairs, you should know the basic parts of a stair.

  • Landing pad 

It is a flat surface that is present at the bottom of the staircase. It is made from materials like concrete, pavers or gravels.

  • Stair Treads

Treads are the horizontal boards that you step on. Basically, a stair tread is a depth or width of a single stair. 

  • Stringers

A stringer is side support of stairs and treads and risers are attached to it. 

  • Risers:  

Risers are the vertical boards that are installed to cover spaces between the treads. 

parts of stair

Source: iyashix.com

Common Building codes 

Before you start your construction, find out the local building codes and rules. These are standard building codes: 

  • Stair Treads: 36 inches wide and 10 inches long
  • Stair Risers: 7.75 inches or less than in length
  • Stringers: Sawtooth or stair shaped cuts only

common building codes standards

Source: dir.ca.gov

You can purchase wood from the local woodshop. You can also buy wood panels from a home center. Buy good quality wood because deck stairs should be strong enough to take the weight. 

Steps To Make Deck Stairs

Always wear safety tools such as a mask and safety goggles to cover your eyes before you start your project. Here are eights steps to build deck stairs: 

Step 1: 

Measure the height with respect to the land and top of the deck. Make sure the ground is flat and leveled. 

Step 2:

Decide what kind of stringers you want either inside or outside one. 

Step 3:

Then, decide the total no. of stairs you want and also think about the height of the riser.

Step 4:

Measure the height you steps that you want from top to end. 

how to make deck stair

Source: pinterest.com

Example

Suppose the total height from the top of the deck to the ground is 55 inches then divide it by the height of the one riser.

Total no. of stairs = Total raise / One raiser height

55/ 7 = 7.8 inches, Round off value: 8 stairs

For better calculations divide this number again by the total height. After that, you get a number that will be a final riser measurement.

55/8 = 6.875 inches 

Write all the measurements, or you can also use a staircase calculator online to get the perfect angle and calculations.

If the stair dimensions are too short for you, then you can decrease the number of steps as per your comfort. If you reduce the no. of stairs by one, then you have to do all the calculations all again.

Step 5:  

Layout your plan on wood panels and then mark the details with the help of a framing square, ruler, and pencil. Use a circular saw to make the cuts. Don’t cut over to the guidelines. Use a handsaw to give finishing to the panels. Repeat this process to cut another stringer, or you can use this as a template to trace other ones. They are typical of  2*12 size and are spaced about 12-16 inches.

Step 6: 

After cutting all the parts, its time to assemble them. Choose a location for a bottom stack. If you want a landing pad, then make it before placing anything. Landing is of two types first is a post footer. For that, install a concrete footer post and secure stringers to the post. Another one is a concrete landing pad. Concrete is a very sturdy and strong material. Spread a layer of concrete about 4 inches underneath the ground. 

Step 7:

When your landing is done then installed the stringers and risers to the wooden post.

Screw each stringer to the bottom to the bottom of the deck frame. Use at least 3 inches long screw to secure everything securely.

Step 8: 

At the edges of the stringers, place a riser. Use the first riser as a guide to cut the rest of the risers. Make sure that they all are in uniform length. Use L brackets and screws to attach everything. After you connected the first stringer then follow the same process for the rest of the stringers and risers. 

how to build deck stair

Source: decks.com

After all these steps, you are done building your deck stairs. Make sure that none of the screws are coming out of the wood. Use wood stain to give finishing to the wooden stairs. You can also add a hand railing at one side of the stairs. To decorate it more add stair lighting. It helps you to see the steps at night and save from falling. To get more such ideas and “how to”, stay tuned at Housedecorationtip.