How To – Building Wood Porch Stairs

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    So, now that you built your deck you need a way to get off of it and stairs are a great way to do that.

    The first thing you need to do is decide of you will be building the stair stringers (things that hold the stair tread steps) yourself or if you will be buying some pre-cut ones at the lumber yard.  The cost of buying them isn’t that much and if you haven’t cut them before it can save you a little time and effort. The one drawback is they can’t be adjusted for height.

    Stairs are one of the things that inspectors like to look at closely. Inside your home the stairs you have were most likely built in a factory in a jig which makes for a very nice tight fit. Steps that are outside your home when made of wood or concrete need to meet the same type of requirements.

    Each Tread of the stair must be the same height and they can not vary in height on any of the steps more then about a 1/4 to 1/2 an inch. This means your cuts and measurements need to be exact. 

    Also the width of the stairs must meet code. 36″ is preferred and will allow someone to easily get up and down the stairs.

    Hand Railings must have openings of less then 4 inches just like the balusters on your deck railing.

    Inspection requirements should be available at your local code inspectors office. Because decks are a very popular home addition they may have paperwork that will explain all the details you need to follow.

    So lets get started

    The first thing that we have to do for our deck steps is install some joist extension blocking.

    We will use 2×8 material and build extensions that will wrap around and be nailed to our joists.

    If you are attaching directly to your homes rim joist or to the rim joist of your deck you can skip this step.

    After the extensions are in place we can attach a 2×8 x 4 foot long board to them that will act as our nailing plate when we install the stairs.

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