Build box stairs from scrap wood to create a simple, sturdy, and attractive set of steps at your home. The steps should not be sturdy enough to hold the weight of an adult but rather for general use by children and older adults. Build box stairs for a yard that surrounds a pool or outbuildings to allow safe access in and out of the area.
The box stairs are a very popular way to add a unique element of character to your home. Perhaps you’re looking to build some stair treads but don’t want the expense or look of traditional stairs. Here we show you how to build box stairs out of any material you like, such as stock lumber from a home center, 2×4’s from the lumberyard, or even reclaimed materials making them perfect for DIY projects
Building box stairs can be a great addition to your deck. While they are not as difficult to build as straight stairs, they do require some extra planning and precise measurements that you should not take lightly.
Measure the Rise and Run
There are a variety of tools you can use to measure the rise and run. A tape measure is probably the most common, but laser measures, stair gauges, and stair calculators are also available.
The first step in measuring is to take down your old treads and risers so that they don’t get in the way later. If your stairs are already taken apart because you’re replacing them anyway (because they’re damaged or unsafe), this step is unnecessary.
Once you’ve got your measurements (rise in inches multiplied by run in inches equals total height of each step), it’s time to build.
Determine the location for the stairs.
The location of your stairs is determined by the overall design of your deck. The most common placement for box stairs is to have them centered on the landing, or flat area before going down into the yard.
This helps prevent accidents from occurring when people are going up and down the steps because it makes it easier to see each side of another person’s body if they are coming up or going down.
Box stairs should also be located so that they’re in the right place to allow for a comfortable descent and ascent with no tripping hazards along their sides (you don’t want anyone falling off!).
Cut the Stringers
To begin the process of building your box stairs, you need to cut the stringers. A stringer is one of the boards that makes up a set of stairs. They are usually made from 2×6 or 2×8 pieces of wood with an angle cut into them so they can be installed horizontally as support beams under steps.
To get started, you’ll need a circular saw and some safety equipment (eye protection and ear protection). If you’re cutting wood slats in an area where there are other people around, make sure they know what you’re doing so they don’t get hurt by any flying debris caused by your work.
To cut your stringers correctly:
Attach Stair Stringers to Box Frame with Deck Screws
- Attach the stair stringer to the box frame using deck screws.
- Use a drill and level to make sure all of your stringer pieces are perfectly aligned before you screw them together.
- Use a tape measure, pencil, square and hammer to mark where you’ll be drilling in your deck screws (use them sparingly)
Fasten the Risers to the Stringers
You should now have all of the risers attached to the stringers, but they’re not quite ready to use yet. The next step is to fasten them together with screws. If you have power tools, this can be done quickly and easily with a drill or screwdriver bit. If you don’t have power tools, however, there are still ways to get the job done without them:
- Hammer in each screw by hand until it’s flush with the surface of your workbench (or just slightly below). This will ensure that they don’t come loose while people are walking up and down stairs on them later on.
- Use a level to check that each riser is level with one another before moving onto attaching floor joists (the horizontal beams) between them; do not skip this step.
Attach Treads to Stringers
- Using a power drill, attach the treads to the stringers.
- Make sure the treads are level with each other and the floor by using a spirit level.
Build a Landing and Attach Handrails
To properly construct a landing and handrails, you’ll need to build a platform for the treads to rest on. This is essentially the top step of your staircase. The landing should be at least as wide as your stair treads, long enough to accommodate its height from floor to ceiling and preferably higher than that so that people can stand up straight on it without bumping their heads on the ceiling above if they’re tall.
Building box stairs is a project that any homeowner can do on their own. It does require some specialized tools, but the investment in a skill saw will pay for itself for years to come.
Now that you know how to build box stairs, you can take your outdoor living space to new heights with an outdoor deck or porch. Take this time-lamped project and make it your own by adding railings, benches and more.