Building stairs for a deck is a straightforward job if you know the basics of building and if you have all the necessary tools. You can do the job on your own without relying on contractors and can also save a large sum of money in the process. You can choose to build the stairs either before you put up the deck or after the deck boards are in place. Read on to learn how to add stairs to that beautiful wooden deck of yours.
Things you require:
- Framing square
- Measuring tape
- Circular saw
- Pea gravel
- Fast-drying cement
- Angle brackets
- Deck screws
- Masonry anchors
Step 1: Determine the rise and run
You need to get your measurements right in order to build a perfect set of stairs. To evaluate the number of steps you would need, measure the distance from the floor of the deck to the ground and then divide the answer by 7.5. Dividing the height of the deck by the number of stairs that you previously calculated will give you the actual height of the stairs. Keeping the standard depth as 10 inches, calculate the length of the staircase by multiplying it with the number of steps.
Step 2: Prepare the concrete footer
Clearly mark the area where the stairs will meet the ground. Clean the site around by removing all sorts of debris, dirt, and grass and then dig a hole about 6 inches deep. Use the tamper to compact and level the soil and add pea gravel to a height of about 2 inches over it. Level and compact again. Mix the cement according to the instructions given and create the stairway footer by pouring it on top of the pea gravel until the hole is filled to about ground level. Smoothen it out, level it using a trowel, and leave the cement to dry properly for about 24 to 48 hours.
Step 3: Cut the stringers
The side of the steps, known as stringers, need to be cut out from boards. Using a framing square, mark the portions that need to be cut away, starting from the top. Then continue moving the framing square from where the last line was made until all the cutouts are marked. For the last stair, however, create another return, which would be part of the stringer that sits on the ground. Once marking is over, cut them into perfection using a circular saw and clean off the edges using a hand saw. Continue the process until all the stringers are cut.
Step 4: Attach the stringers to the deck and footer
Now you need to attach the stringers to the deck and footer. Set them in place by resting their bottom ends on the concrete pad and the other ends against the face of the deck. Then, with the help of angle brackets and galvanized deck screws, attach the stringers on to the deck. Cut out a board to fit between the two stringers perfectly at the base and attach it to the concrete pad with masonry anchors.
5. Cut and attach the treads
Cut out stair treads in such a way that they over lap the stringers by about an inch on both sides. Then push one tread against the back of the stringer center and clasp with the galvanized deck screws on each side, leaving about 1/4 inch between the first and second tread board. Continue the process until all the treads are attached to the stringers.
Step 6: Construct the railings
Cut out two pieces of posts to a length of about 30 inches, which will serve as the lower railing posts. Place them at the base of the stringers and mark the portion that needs to be removed with a handsaw, and then attach them using the deck screws. Cut out railings in such a way that they cover the distance from the lower posts to the deck railing. Attach the railings to the post, making sure the slope matched with that of the stairs. For lower railing and baluster supports, cut similar pieces and install them between the posts parallel to the upper railings. Finally fix the handrail by attaching them to the top of the railings.
Following these simple steps will enable you to add stairs to your deck.