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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As seen on Sweat Equity, wood stairs are built to lead from the second level of this house down to the fire pit area with arched black raiing.

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.

7 Stylish Deck Features

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A Fire Pit Focal Point

This fire pit is a contemporary focal point that, along with the privacy wall, creates an inviting outdoor space for cool evenings. 

Photo By: Tomas Ovalle / Associated Press ©2013, DIY/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Built-In Furniture

Ample seating and a painted rug creates a distinct outdoor room, while built-in benches along the railings and plush pillows maximize lounging space. Photo courtesy of Timber Tech

Photo By: Al Lang

Stair Design

Add interest with a well-designed staircase, like this one from DIY Network's Blog Cabin 2012. Keep in mind, most building codes require that the steps rise 8 inches per step or less and use 2" by 12" boards for treads. 

Photo By: Frank Murray

Contrasting Colors

Constructed with a contemporary deck design, a lighter wood and built-in bench define the fire pit area. Photo courtesy of Trex

Stay Outside Rain or Shine

Awnings are a great solution for shading your deck. Aristocrat awnings designs products that protects you from UV rays, decreases the amount of sun that enters your home and prevents furnishings from fading.

Ahead of the Curve

The layout of this deck incorporates movements and flow, which is ideal for entertaining large groups. Photo courtesy of Trex

Lighting

Go beyond the traditional lamp post and tiki torch. Building discrete lights into your deck illuminates walkways and sets a relaxed mood for your outdoor enjoyment. Learn More About Lighting Your Landscape

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.

Planning a Deck: Tips and Design Ideas

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