How to Build a Deck, Part 5: Building Deck Stairs and Steps by Lowe's Home Improvement   7 years ago

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The frame of your deck is set, so now it is time to figure out your stair dimensions and build a solid set of steps. Getting started it is important to have a stair layout. There is also going to be some simple math involved as you figure out the rise (vertical distance of the step) vs. run (horizontal distance of the steps) of the stairs. A typical run is 9''-12'' while a rise is about 7''. The general rule of thumb is to have the rise and run = 17 ½''. To start you will need a level, a framing square and a tape measure.

Start by determining how high your rise will be. Use a level and a tape measure and measure the rise and run from the deck. A common height is 34''. Divide that by 7'' which is the typical rise of a step and round to the nearest whole number to get the number of risers. Divide 34'' by 5 steps to get the actual height of those stairs which in this example is 6 7/8''.

Marking and cutting the stringer will set the base for your stairs. We will need square gauges, 2'x12' planks, 5"/4" decking, saw horses, a circular saw and hand saw. Set the gauges on the framing square on the height of the rise and the length of the run, hold the square at the corner of the plank and mark the top step. Slide the square along the plank and mark the next step. Continue marking. At the top step hold the square under the mark and strike a perpendicular line. This is where the stairs attach to the deck. At the bottom step hold a piece of your treat where the stairs will rest on the ground. Mark this line. Cut the stringer, then use the cut stringer as template to mark the other planks.

It's now time to assemble the stairs and you will need brackets, drill with bits, socket wrench and sockets, carriage bolts, washers and nuts, 3lb. hammer, screws and nails. Mark where you are going to attach your stairs according to your building codes. Secure the stringer to the deck flush with the joist and attach with a bracket. Cut the toe kicks and treads at once to save time. Attach all the toe kicks with screws and the treads leaving a drainage space similar to the decking.

Now that the stairs are finished, there are just a few more steps before the deck is complete. Watch the last part in Lowe's How to Build a Deck series at:

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