Deck Stairs and Steps

Whether you're replacing deck stairs and steps or adding them to a brand new deck, you can get all the info you'll need for the project right here.

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By: Sean McEvoy

Deck stairs and steps are often looked upon as the most complex aspect of a new deck project or an update to an existing deck. However, if you follow a few simple tips, creating a set of sturdy, reliable and attractive stairs and steps for your deck can be easier than you might think.

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First, make sure your deck stairs or steps will be wide enough to accommodate the considerable foot traffic they're likely to host. Some recommended measurements are 48 inches wide, 10.5 inches for the tread of each stair or step, and 7 – 8 inches in terms of riser height.

Secondly, measure the height of the stair from the bottom of the decking or the top floor of the joist to the ground, then divide by 7 or 8 inches—this will give you the number of steps you need to make. You'll want to adjust the height until height and steps balance out—since having half a step would be a bit awkward. Now take the number of steps and multiply by 10.5 inches—that will give you the length of the stair stringer. Take that length and project it from the deck outward, and you've got the location of the stair footing.

Now lay out the steps on the stringer with a framing square using 2" x 12" treated wood.

Next, cut the riser and steps out with a circular saw, but stop just short of cutting through, and use a hand saw to finish.

Finally, install the stringers by attaching them at the top of the deck outside the framing, using metal floor joist hangers. Establish the riser boards using 1" treated wood screws, starting at the bottom of the riser.

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