Replace Wooden Porch Steps

Home repair expert Henry Harrison helps a guest reinforce his wobbly front steps and replace them with stairs that are safer and better match the look of the house.
arh508_2a

arh508_2a

Materials and Tools:

power miter saw
drill
carpenter's square
work gloves
dust mask
nail puller
hammer
pry bars
tape measure
workbench
pencil
gauge
pressure-treated lumber
L-bracket
wood screws
self-tapping deck screws

Steps:

arh508_2b

arh508_2b

1. Remove the nails holding treads in place. You can get at the nails using a pry bar and hammer, but an old-fashioned nail puller might make for an easier job.

2. Remove the treads and set aside.

3. In this case the stair's instability was due to the fact the stringers were just resting in notches in the header instead of being secured.

4. Secure the stringers to the header using 90-degree hardened steel L-brackets. Use a power drill to attach brackets with screws.

5. Lock down the header by installing self-tapping screws about every 12 inches.

arh508_2g

arh508_2g

6. Remove the top riser and use it as a template to cut replacements. Cut replacement riser out of pressure-treated lumber using the miter saw. Always wear a dust mask and eye protection when working with the saw.

7. Cut replacement treads to desired length. In this case, the homeowner decided to extend the new treads beyond the length of the old ones.

arh508_2h

arh508_2h

8. Install the top riser then work your way down installing risers and treads. Use galvanized deck screws to secure the boards. Pre-drill holes to avoid splitting the wood and use a template so the screws are spaced evenly.

9. Allow the new stairs to age a bit and turn gray, then come back and prime and paint to match the house.

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