Step Up Your Garage Game With a DIY Staircase

Improve the look and safety of your garage with these simple, DIY steps.

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If you’re like most people, your homebuilder decided to spend the very least amount of time on your garage. Unfinished walls, questionable drywall work and, of course, the classically wonky concrete steps. Not only are they an eyesore, they aren’t always safe either. Take matters into your own hands and cover them up with a beautiful set of wooden stairs.

Materials Needed

  • 4x8 sheet of 1/2” plywood
  • (3) 2x4 x 6’ pine boards
  • (2) 1x4 x 6’ pine boards
  • 11-1/4” stair tread
  • 1” wood screws
  • 2-1/4” wood screws
  • wood stain
  • paint rags
  • clear polyurethane
  • L-square
  • pencil
  • table saw
  • safety glasses
  • drill + bits
  • white interior paint
  • paint brush
  • waterproof flashing roll
  • brad nail gun
  • wood glue
  • painter’s putty
  • 120-grit sanding block
  • pry bar

Measure for New Stairs

Before buying wood, measure your stairs to figure out what you need. The wood measurements we used are based on our specific set of steps and may need to be slightly adjusted to suit your needs. Once you’ve measured, adjust the list accordingly.

Pro Tip: When possible, have large items such as plywood sheets cut into smaller pieces by the hardware store. This makes the trip home and unloading much easier and will also save you some time.

Prep the Stair Space

Begin by using a pry bar to remove any existing trim around the old steps. Secure one 36-inch 2x4 an inch under the threshold. This will be what you later screw the new stair base to. Leaving an inch of space allows room for the stair tread.

Cut Out the Base

To fit our space, we traced out a large rectangle measuring 13.5 inches by 29.5 inches. Then, we marked the three stairs measuring four inches tall and ten inches deep. Based off of the measurements of your staircase, use your L-square to measure the outline of the base on the plywood. Wearing safety glasses, cut out the pattern using a table saw. When finished, trace the shape on another piece of plywood and repeat this process once more.

Assemble the Base

Use 1-inch wood screws to attach the plywood pieces to a 36-inch 2x4 at the front of each step. Cut out narrow strips of flashing to put on the bottom of the stair base for a waterproof barrier. Paint the base with two coats of white paint.

Secure in Place

Slide the base in place around the 2x4 that is attached below the door and secure with wood screws. Add a 2x4 tread support on top of each step (two total). Attach these supports to the stringers using wood screws.

Attach Stair Tread and Complete

Cut all three stair treads down to 39 inches long (based on your measurements, just make sure there is a one-inch overhang on all three sides of the tread). Sand and stain. Once dry, apply a coat of polyurethane following the manufacturer’s instructions. Run a bead of wood glue on top of each stair base and place the treads on each step, using a nail gun to secure in place. Finish off by using the nail gun to attach painted 37-inch 1x4’s to the front of each riser. To complete, fill screw holes and nail holes with painter’s putty, sand and touch up with paint.

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

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