How to Build Deck Steps and Stairs?
When you build an outdoor deck inside your yard, not only do you increase the value of your home, but you also have an outdoor living space. Your deck will have a lot of foot traffic, so you may need to build deck steps and stairs to ensure pedestrian safety.
Multiple decks can better accentuate the best qualities of your home and bring your deck framing square more in line with the overall landscape. Deck stairs and steps can further enhance the utility of your outdoor deck by opening up space and adding a sense of coordination. Likewise, multi-level and freestanding decks provide the perfect stage for inlaid lighting and subtle deck stairs and handrail designs.
Under the stars or bathed in sunlight, you want your deck to provide longer enjoyment. Good deck stair ideas not only ensure your safety but allow you to move with enviable ease and superior taste.
Deck stairs should be carefully planned so that all stair heights and all stair tread depths are equal. If the bottom or top step is significantly different in height or length from other stair steps, there is a risk of tripping. In addition, to ensure solidity and safety, deck stairs and their railings must meet specifications. Avoid using prefabricated deck stairs as much as possible, as they usually do not meet the code.
Table of Contents
Preparation for a build deck stairs
First, you must understand the various parts of a deck stairway. A landing is a flat surface made of concrete or paving stones at the bottom of the steps. If the stairs are not used often and the lawn is flat, you may choose to omit the landing pad.
A stair tread is a horizontal board that you step on. Building deck stairs can be made from one 2×12-inch decorative board or two 2×6-inch decorative boards. The support board is a wide board, usually 2×12 inches, that runs at an angle from the landing gear to the deck frame and supports the treads.
You can see the grooves in an “open” support plate, while a “closed” support plate is a solid plate with cleats for supporting the treads.
Braces are boards mounted on either end to cover the vertical space between the treads. The balusters or handrails are usually made of composite material of choice.
Stair treads are the width (or depth) of individual stairs. Stair rungs are the vertical distance from the top of one step to the top of the next step. Total length is the entire horizontal distance that the steel travels. Total height is the overall height change of the stairway, from the landing to the top of the deck.
Common code requirements as well as recommendations
Stair treads should be a minimum of 36 inches wide. If possible, stair treads should be as long as possible, and we recommend that stairs be at least 48 inches wide so that they do not feel oppressive.
The maximum stair height is 8 inches and the minimum stair height is 4 inches. The difference between the longest and shortest riser height or stair depth of a stair should not exceed 3/8 of an inch. This is very strict, so take the time to plan your stringers carefully.
Open stringers should not have too deep of a gap or the stringers will be weak.
The posts of the stair railing should be securely attached to the deck structure or to the ground.
In most cases, stair railings should include a graspable handrail.
Openings in the balustrade should be no greater than 5 inches between balusters and 6 inches between the bottom rail and treads.
The rails should be spaced far enough apart to adequately support the treads. This spacing depends on the material of the treads. If the treads are 2 by 2 wood, the supports can usually be spaced up to 16 inches on center. If 5/4 trim boards or composite trim boards are used, they should be 12 inches or closer. Be sure to check with your building department and follow the decorative panel manufacturer’s installation instructions.