Your home’s deck offers you direct access to the surrounding outdoors. Your deck is a significant addition to your house and property, regardless of whether you use it for barbecue, getting together with friends, or simply taking some time for yourself to rest.
It is just as crucial to have a means of accessing your deck that is both safe and efficient as the deck itself. Find out how to construct wooden deck stairs quickly and easily by making use of pre-built stair supplies that may be purchased at your neighborhood home center, in addition to standard tools that you may already own.
Basics of Building Wooden Deck Stairs
Deck stairs and the components that go along with them, including railings and balusters, have to be constructed in accordance with the local building code. Both the risers, the vertical part of the stair that you stand on, and the treads, the horizontal part of the stair that you step on, are required to meet specific requirements. The maximum riser height is typically 7-3/4 inches (10 inches, minimum). All of this, including the balusters and railings of the stairs, is governed by code to ensure the safety of anybody who uses the stairs.
Utilizing pre-built stair materials for some of the most important components of the staircase that are required to meet code requirements is the simplest and, in many cases, the most effective alternative to building the stairs from scratch. The stair stringer is an example of a particularly useful pre-built component.
The notched boards that create the two sides and the center of the stairs and on which the rest of the tread are referred to as the stringers of the stairs. Depending on your requirements, the majority of home centers have stair stringers of various sizes, ranging from two to eight steps.
You won’t have to be concerned about complying with the code because the stringer already has a rise of 6-3/4 inches and a tread depth of 10 inches built into it. Simply make sure to purchase one stringer for each side and an additional one for the middle. Because this will be used outside, you will need wood that has been pressure-treated and rated for ground contact.
The steps, or treads, are the flat parts of the stairs that you walk on. A tread is made from two two-by-six boards that are put next to each other. Since a nominal 6-inch-wide board is actually 5-1/2 inches wide, it fits perfectly into the stringer’s 10-inch depth with a 1-inch overhang.
What You’ll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Circular saw
- Tape measure
- Cordless drill
- Speed Square
- Plumb bob or a laser level
- Scrap piece of two-by-four
- 3 stair stringers
- 3 galvanized adjustable stringer connectors
- Six-by-six pressure-treated lumber
- Two-by-four pressure-treated lumber
- 10d galvanized nails, 1-1/2-inch
- Copper-based wood preservative
Measure the Correct Stringer Length
From the wooden deck’s rim board to the ground, take a measurement. Most stairs should have a slope of 40 degrees. Use the Speed Square against the scrap two-by-four and the plumb bob or laser level to figure out the slope. Mark the spot where the stairs will end on the ground.
If any of the sets of stair stringers you can buy are exactly what you need, buy that set. If not, buy the next size up. Stair stringers that are too long can be cut to fit.
Mark the Stringer Positions on the Rim Board
Mark a line across the wooden deck rim board at 36 inches to show where the stair stringers will be attached. Add the third mark 18 inches from the middle.
Attach the Stringer Connectors
Attach the stringer connectors to the three marks you made earlier. The middle connector will be put on in the middle. The two side connectors will fit into the marks on the sides, making the whole thing 36 inches wide. Use 16d nails to connect.
Attach the Plate to the Footer
The two-by-four should be cut to 36 inches. Attach this to the bottom (or footer) and use it as a plate to hold the stringers’ bottom ends. How the plate is attached to the footer depends on what the footer is made out of. Use heavy-duty screw anchors if the footer is made of wood.
Attach the Stringers
Join the three connectors to the stringers. To match the slope of the stringers, bend the connectors up.
Attach the Stringers to the Plate
With the four framing angles, connect the bottom of the stringers to the plate.
Most building codes say that the rise and run of the steps can’t be more than 1/8 inch different from one another. Make sure to check the rise, or height, of the top and bottom steps to make sure they are within 1/8 inch of the middle steps. The treads are part of this measurement. At this point, you may need to do some cutting before assembly and attachment are done.
Cut the Stair Treads
Cut the treads so that they are 36 inches long. For each step, cut two boards.
Attach the Back Stair Tread
Attach the stair treads to the stair stringers with nails or screws. Place the backboard against the back of the notch, and then put it together.
Attach the Front Stair Tread
Leave a 1/2-inch space between the back and the front stair treads of the wooden deck. Next, connect the front step. This creates a nose, which is a small overhang.