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Building Deck Steps

This DIY Basic will provide tips on building deck steps.

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Step 1: Watch an Overview Video

Step 2: Gather Your Materials and Tools

Materials and Tools:

1x12 lumber
2x12 lumber
angle irons
circular saw
galvanized nails
measuring tape
framing combination squares
concrete mix
joist hangers
lag screws
power drill

Step 3: Take Measurements

Place deck steps away from sitting or eating areas so traffic doesn’t disrupt outdoor living.

Start by measuring height of deck and dividing by 7.

  • 7 inches is standard riser height.
  • 11 inches is standard width for treads.
  • Treads should be 1 to 2 inches wider than unit run. Unit run is horizontal distance from top of one riser to bottom of next.

Step 4: Create the First Stringer

A stringer is a vertical support board cut out in the shape of risers and steps. Using framing square, create stringer by drawing step measurements -- risers and unit runs -- onto 2x12-inch treated board.

Cut along stringer lines with a circular saw or handsaw.

Set stringer in place against deck to check positions of steps and risers.

Step 5: Create the Base and Secure Stringers

Mark outside limit of steps and create a base and landing out of concrete or pavers.

Trace first stringer onto another board and cut out second stringer.

Tip: For extra security, double the stringers.

Bolt tops of stringers to deck joist and secure with angle brackets.

Attach bottom of stringers to base with angle irons and lag screws.

Step 6: Add Risers and Treads

Cut risers and treads. Risers and treads should overlap stringers by 3/4 inch on each side.

Sand outer edges of risers and treads and round front edge of risers with a router.

Nail risers into place.

Nail treads into place. For extra stability, screw bottom edges of risers to backs of treads.