# How To Build A Staircase Outside

Let’s get busy building your staircase outside. To begin, pick which side of your house you want it to go on. The easiest way to do this is by using a tape measure and measuring from the wall adjacent to the driveway in one direction, then measure out 3 feet and mark it with a pencil (this will give you enough room for a landing). Measure up from the ground 3 feet and mark that spot with a pencil as well. Using these two reference points, lay out the final dimensions of your stairs.

A staircase is one of the most challenging projects a homeowner can tackle. Although it may seem simple, there’s a lot more to staircases than meets the eye. Before you start building your own staircase, make sure you have a hammer and safety goggles on hand. Also, be sure to familiarize yourself with proper stair building techniques and check local building codes for compliance prior to beginning work on your project.

Building an exterior staircase is a big job, and one that needs to be done right. Whether you’re replacing an old staircase or building one from scratch as part of a new project, knowing the basics about exterior staircases can help ensure your final product is solid and elegant.

## Determine the rise and run.

First, you’ll need to determine the rise and run of your stairs. The rise is the vertical distance between the top and bottom of your stairs. The run is the horizontal distance between the outside edges of your stair treads. Both measurements must be equal for proper balance and safety when walking up or down a staircase.

The length of each step should be determined by measuring its center point on a straight line from left to right across its width (not including any nosing). You can use this measurement as either a starting point for calculating your overall rise & run or as an actual dimension that will influence how wide each individual riser needs to be cut in order not exceed maximum allowable dimensions per local building codes

## Cut a string to length for the rise and tape it to a stake at the top of the stairs.

Cut a string to length for the rise and tape it to a stake at the top of the stairs.

Use a mason’s string and a carpenter’s square.

Mark the string with a pencil.

Use the carpenter’s square to mark the string for the rise, which is half of your stair tread measurement plus 1/8 inch (0.125).

## Use a square to mark the lines for the stringers.

Use a square to mark the lines for the stringers.

• Stand on top of your 2x12s, and position them so that you can use them as a guide to mark your stringer notch locations on the 2x12s. It’s important that this step be done before moving on so you have accurate measurements for cutting out your notches in steps #4 and #5.
• Mark each stringer notch location with a pencil, making sure it’s straight and level with each other. This will be where you put your posts in between every two rungs of stairs (except for at the bottom).

## Cut two 2x12s to length and then rip them down to 9-1/2 in. wide.

To begin, cut two 2x12s to length and then rip them down to 9-1/2 in. wide. To do this, attach a straight edge guide strip along one of the long edges of each 2×12 and then use your circular saw to cut them down to size.

Next, cut notches at the ends of each piece that will be used for stair treads (see diagram). Then screw one end of each step piece into a landing rail support board—be sure not to overdrive screws here; it’s easy for them to split out if you don’t drill pilot holes first.

## Mark the stringer notch locations on the 2x12s.

To mark the stringer notch locations on the 2x12s, you can use a square to mark lines, place a pencil on one end of the board and draw a line across it with a square, or hold a chalk line at each edge and pull it tight. Another method is to use a laser level to mark where your stringers will be cut out; this is especially useful if you’re working outside where there may be some wind.

## Clamp both pieces together and cut out each notch as one unit one at a time with a circular saw.

Once the end and middle risers are cut out, it is time to make the stringer. You will need to clamp both pieces of 2x12s together so that you can make a clean cut with your circular saw.

You will want to cut all the notches before you put the stringer together as this might be difficult after it has been assembled.

## Drill holes for the carriage bolts at each notch location.

Drill holes for the carriage bolts at each notch location. These are used to secure the stringers together, so spacing should be an even 4 in. apart and located about 1/2 in. from the notch edge as shown. Use a 1/8-in. bit so that you don’t have to enlarge your notch opening further later on when you install your stairway balusters (the vertical posts).

## Drill holes for carriage bolts at each notch location using an 1/8-in. bit.

Now that you have your notches marked and the pieces cut to size, it’s time to start building.

You will need:

• a drill with an 1/8-in.-diameter bit
• a tape measure and pencil or pen

First, take each notch piece and hold it in place on the bottom of a step. Then use your tape measure to mark where each carriage bolt will go on each piece. Drill holes for carriage bolts at each notch location using an 1/8-in.-diameter bit.

## Drill holes for the notches using a 1-1/4-in.-diameter hole saw on each end of each notch.

• Drill holes for the notches using a 1-1/4-in.-diameter hole saw on each end of each notch.
• The hole saw should be 1-1/4-in.-diameter, and you will use it to make two holes at each end of each notch.

## This will help you build stairs outside your home

• String a line along the desired path of your staircase. Tie the string tightly to two stakes and then pull it taut. This will act as a guide for you as you cut your lumber with the circular saw.
• Connect 2x12s together using wood screws. Cut them to length by setting up your square at one end of each board and marking this distance on both sides of each board (in case they are not exactly the same length). Use a drill or screwdriver to attach them together, making sure there is no gap between them where dirt could get in between and cause rot over time.

Final words

And with that, you’re done. Of course, the steps themselves aren’t the only thing to consider when it comes to building stairs outside your home. The type of materials you use, how and where you build them—all of this can affect your project and its results. But by now, we hope you have some clarity around what type of staircase makes sense for your house and lifestyle. And if not? If there are still questions on your mind or uncertainties in your heart? Well, remember: the internet is a vast treasure trove of information; all you have to do is go out there and look for it.