Creating a set of wooden steps can be accomplished with a small amount of materials and some rudimentary construction skills. If you want to create the stairs from pressure-treated lumber, then you will need to choose the type that is most appropriate for your area. These include treated decking boards or cedar shims. To build a set of steps out of pine, add epoxy wood filler as necessary, then sand with fine grit paper.
Steps are an important part of a home, as they allow you to use the land on which it stands. There is no need to buy steps, as the materials and cost of building your own set are significantly lower than those of other options.
Building steps on a deck, porch or patio is not the same as building steps in a home. The difference lies in the foundation that supports the front of each step. A set of stairs for outside use must be built to withstand rain and wind, and with no wall to support them from behind, building your own steps can seem challenging at first. But with a few simple tools and materials plus this how-to guide, you can be sitting out on your new wood deck in no time — even if it’s just one step.
Gather up the tools and materials.
To build your steps, you will need a hammer, tape measure, pencil and power drill. If you don’t have access to these tools or if they’re not available in your area, you can hire a professional carpenter to build the project for you.
You’ll also need some basic construction materials:
- Caulk gun filled with latex caulk
- Level (to ensure that all of the stairs are level)
- 3/4-inch plywood (for stair treads)
- 2x4s (for framing up each side of each step)
For this project I used 2×4’s because they are readily available at any home improvement store and cost less than other types of lumber such as redwood or cedar. However if you have some extra time on your hands then feel free to use any type of wood that feels right for what style decking material would work best in terms of creating an aesthetic look for your home.
Prepare a location for the steps.
You will need to prepare a location for the steps. The ground should be level, free of rocks and roots, free of debris (such as deadfall), free of mud, water or snow.
Figure out how many steps you need.
When it comes to determining how many steps you need, the first thing to do is measure the height of your deck. Measure up from the ground to where you would like your first step to be and use this as a template for measuring out other heights. If you need help calculating where each stair level should be placed, check out a stair calculator!
Once you’ve measured out all of your riser heights and tread lengths, make sure that each step is level—this will ensure that users don’t trip when going up or down. You can use shims (thin pieces of wood) under any high points so they’re even with their neighbors if necessary. In addition: Securely fasten each stair tread into place with screws so it doesn’t slip or wobble while climbing up or down them.
Attach stringers to the deck frame, using metal angles and lag screws.
Now you’ll need to attach the stringers to the deck frame. I like using metal angles because they’re easy to fasten, but you can also use lag screws. When attaching each stringer, make sure it’s straight by holding a level against it before securing it with metal angles or lag screws.
Build risers on the stringer.
The next step is to cut a piece of 2×6 lumber to be the first riser. Use a circular saw to do this, cutting every riser to be 1 1/4 inches shorter than the total height of your deck. Then use a nail gun to attach this first piece of lumber flat on top of each stringer board, starting on one side and working your way around until you have all risers in place.
Now it’s time to make sure they’re level. Use some blocks under each riser so that they’re even with the stringer boards below them, then use shims under any parts that are too high or low until everything lines up perfectly. Once everything is level and straight down both sides, fill all gaps between each side with wood filler or caulk so that water doesn’t seep through when it rains later in springtime.
Now for our final step: cutting out treads for our steps using nothing more than a jigsaw (and maybe some sandpaper). Make sure your lines are nice and straight before going ahead with this process; if not, then just measure again until you get it right.
Build a box frame to support each step.
- Build a box frame to support each step.
- Use 2×6 boards for the tread, and 2×4 boards for the risers.
- Screw the tread directly to the riser, ensuring that it is square before securing them both together with screws.
Fill each box frame with concrete, and then level it off at the top with a scrape of wood.
Now you’ll need to fill each box frame with concrete. To do this, place a bucket in the back corner of each box frame and pour the concrete into it. Then use a scrap of wood to level off the top of each box frame so that they are all consistent and even with one another.
Once your concrete has dried overnight (or at least 4 hours), you can move on to installing your steps.
Attach a 2×6 board (the tread) to each step box frame, screwing through it and into the stringers or riser below it with screws.
Attach a 2×6 board (the tread) to each step box frame, screwing through it and into the stringers or riser below it with screws. Make sure the tread is level with the tops of all stringers’ horizontal pieces when you’re done.
You can build steps with these simple steps
The first step to building a deck is to measure out the location and size of your steps. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that the rise (the vertical distance between one step and another) is equal to or less than 10 percent of your deck’s overall height, and that the run (the horizontal distance between one step and another) is at least twice as long as it is wide. Then you can mark each spot for a post with wooden stakes or golf tees.
Once you have your posts marked where you want them, dig holes for them using hand shovels or power augers; be sure not to hit any underground utilities such as gas pipes! Fill in these holes with compactable gravel before setting each post into place securely by hammering in lag screws from below ground level with a manual impact driver—don’t use an electric drill unless you want sparks flying everywhere! You’ll need four 4 x 4s for every two steps; cut these lumber pieces down so they’re about 6 inches longer than what will be left after making 45-degree angles on both ends; then secure them together by nailing galvanized spikes through pre-drilled slotted holes down into top plates made from 2 x 12s secured directly onto top plates made from 2 x 12s secured directly onto bottom plates made from 2 x 6s secured directly onto bottom plates made from 2 x 6s secured directly onto legs made out of 4 x 4 posts attached together using lag screws driven through pre-drilled slotted holes so they fit snugly against brackets attached securely into concrete blocks set deep underneath ground level surrounding each leg.
You’ve got the basics down, but the next step is up to you. All the materials and tools you need can be found at your local hardware store. Now it’s time to get creative with how many steps you want, what kind of wood will be used (remember that redwood and cedar are durable choices), where they go on your deck.