Easy2 Technologies - Deck 9: Installing Deck Stairs Product Demo

Deck 9: Installing Deck Stairs Instructions

  • Installing the Deck Stairs

    You are nearing the completion of your deck and its time to put in some stairs. Steps can be built a number of different ways depending on your aesthetic preference, however most municipalities have specific codes that must be taken into consideration. There are many options in design of your stairs. The key is to design steps that suit your style. To understand this tutorial, note the main illustration and the following terms: Vertical rise - distance between 2 steps. Usually 6" to 7“. Run - depth of each tread. Can range from 11" to 16“. Vertical drop - height of stairs from the ground to the deck surface. Span - distance the stairs cover from the deck to the foot of the stairs.

  • Overview

    The basic steps to installing your deck stairs is to first, mark the position of the stairs on your deck. And measure the dimensions of your particular stair case. Then you will need to pour concrete footings for the stairs. And finally, construct and install the stringers and the threads.

  • Mark the Stringer Location

    On the side of your deck, mark the location that the two stair stringers will attach,at least 36" apart.

  • Calculate the Vertical Drop

    Measure the vertical drop from the deck surface to the ground. Divide this number by 7 to determine the number of steps.

  • Calculate the Span

    Now you should calculate the run you prefer. Typically two 2x6's is a good choice. Which means your step treads will be 11-1/4" deep. So your run is 11-1/4". Multiply 5 (steps) times the run (11-1/4"), you get 56-1/4". This is the span of your stairs.

  • Mark the Post Hole Location

    Now it is time to mark the post locations. Using a 2x4 and a square, lay the 2x4 on the deck about 2" on the outside of one of the stringer marks. Measure out the distance of your span calculation minus 18". Drop a plumb bob and mark the ground. Follow the same procedure for the other stringer mark.

  • Dig the Post Holes

    At the marks on the ground, dig round post holes and pour concrete footings. Attach the post piers and posts as described in the Digging Deck Post Holes tutorial.

  • Mark the Stringers

    You will now work on the stringers. Use a square to make out your stringers on 2x12 boards. If the deck surface overhangs the frame of the deck, factor that into the top step. The other steps should be 10-1/4" to allow a 1" overhang on each step. The rise measurement in this example is 6-1/2" as calculated above.

  • Cut Out the Markings

    Use a circular saw to cut the stringers. Since a circular saw can't get all the way into the corners with a circular saw, use a hand saw to finish each cut.

  • Attach & Secure Each Stringer

    Attach each stringer to the deck frame using an angle bracket. Use lag bolts and washers to secure the foot of the stringers to the support posts.

  • Build the Stair Treads

    To build the stair treads, cut 2x6 boards to span the stringers. If you factor in a 1" overhang on each side, cut the boards to 38" per this example. Allow ¼" gap in between the two boards on each tread. Screw the boards into place with two screws per board per stringer.

  • Alternative Stinger Construction

    As an alternative to the stringers used in the above example, you can use solid stringers with angle brackets to support each tread. With solid stringers, the first step tread is one step below deck level. That means you will have 1 fewer tread in your flight of stairs. In step 2, subtract 1 from your step calculation (5-1=4 in the example above). There is also less cutting involved.


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