Building stairs on a slope can be tricky. But if you take it one step at a time, you can make it happen. You’ll need to do some measuring, but the process is not too complicated.
Decide where you want the stairs to be.
You should decide where you want the stairs to be.
You can also determine how far apart you want them to be, how high they need to be and whether or not they are straight or curved. You may want to make sure that they are wide enough for people who will use them regularly.
Measure the height and horizontal distance of your slope.
The first step in building steps on a slope is measuring the height and horizontal distance of your slope. The second step is determining how high you want the riser to be, which will determine how steep or shallow the stairs will be. You can make them as flat as you like, but if they are too flat then they won’t feel comfortable for walking up or down. For example, if you were to make them like risers for a deck (4 inches), then people may have trouble walking down them because it would be too steep for comfort. If you made it so that there was only 2 inches between each stair tread and riser (2x 4×10= 40 inches), then it would be very easy to climb up and down on these outdoor steps even though they have no handrail system installed yet.
A level should always be used when measuring the angle of your slope because otherwise inaccuracies could occur due to inaccurate measurements from freehanding with a tape measurer instead.
Divide the height by the distance to find out how many steps you need.
To determine the number of steps you need, divide the total height by the distance between each one. For example, if your front porch is 8 feet tall and you want to build a 6-foot step, you’ll need two steps (8/2 = 4). You can also calculate how many risers each step should have by dividing its height by 7 inches. In our example, 2 (4/7) x 2 = 4 total riser heights per flight of stairs.
To find out how big each riser should be and what size of wood you need to buy for your project, measure from the ground up as well as from one outside edge to another outside edge for every step in your flight of stairs. Multiply these measurements together for each riser length (for example: 1 x 18 = 18 inches). Finally add these lengths together with all other staircases in order to get an idea of how much lumber will be necessary for your project
Multiply this number by 2 and the length of your riser to find out the total length of all the risers combined.
To find out how long your risers should be, multiply the number of steps by 2 and then divide that result by 2. This will give you the length of each riser.
Subtract this number from the height and divide by two to find how big each riser should be.
After you’ve determined the slope, subtract this number from the height and divide by two to find how big each riser should be. For example, if you’re working on a 20-foot stairway that has a 14 degree slope, subtract 14 from 20 to get 6 — then divide 6 by 2 for an answer of 3 feet. This means that each riser must be no shorter than 3 feet tall (6 inches shorter than the total height of your stair).
Risers should also be exactly half as wide as their corresponding treads. This ensures that people won’t trip over them when they walk up or down stairs. To determine an appropriate width range for your steps, check out our guidelines below:
- If your stairs have a 15-degree angle with level landings at both ends (i.e., no sloping terrain), risers can measure between 4 inches and 7 inches in height — but never more than 8 inches — and treads can measure between 8 inches and 12 inches in length — but never more than 16 inches.* If your stairs have a 20-degree angle with level landings at both ends, risers can measure between 5 inches and 9 inches in height — but never more than 10 1/2 inches —and treads can measure between 10 1/2 to 17 1/4th inch lengths — but never more than 19 7/8ths inch lengths.* If your stairs have a 25 degree angle with level landings at both ends (i.e., no sloping terrain), risers can measure 6″ to 9″ in height 1″ less than where they start out on top end; treads must always be equal size within themselves: width plus depth equals 36″ max length per step;
Get a load of crushed rock or gravel.
Use crushed rock or gravel. Gravel is cheaper than concrete, easier to carry, easier to spread and easier to compact. It’s also less labor intensive than pouring concrete steps.
You will need about 20 cubic yards of gravel for every 100 linear feet of stairs that you’re building, so if you want a 200-foot extension then you will need about 40 cubic yards of gravel (or 21 tons).
Build a platform for your stairs. The platform should be at least 3 feet wide on each side of your planned stairs.
The platform should be at least 3 feet wide on each side of your planned stairs. You may need to excavate more dirt, depending on how much room you have and how steep the slope is.
The platform should be level and strong enough to support the weight of the stairs, which may include as many as four people using them at once.
Put in a layer of crushed rock or gravel under your platform, about 2 inches deep, using a hoe to spread it out evenly.
You can also use your wheelbarrow to spread out the crushed rock or gravel. Simply dump out some of the material from the wheelbarrow and move it into place with a hoe. Your goal is to make sure that there are no large clumps of dirt in between your layers, so be sure to scrape them away before they become permanent. Once you’ve done that, use a level to check that your slope is straight up and down (or flat) on all sides, and try not to leave any dips or humps where water might collect over time.
Once everything is leveled off and smooth enough for walking on without sinking in too far, add another layer of crushed rock or gravel about 2 inches deep at least once more before adding concrete mix as described below
Mark the location of each step with a stake. Use string between stakes to make sure they’re straight and level.
Once you’ve marked the location of each step with a stake, use string between stakes to make sure they’re straight and level. If your slope is quite severe, you may need to add more than one stake.
When you have your string in place, use a level to check it; if it’s not straight or if it’s not level, adjust your stakes accordingly until everything is perfectly aligned.
Once all the strings are level and straight (and have been checked again with another level), mark where they intersect on the ground by pushing them into the dirt with a stick or rock that has been flattened on one end for this purpose. This will leave an X in the ground where you should dig out soil later for each step’s footings.
Mix concrete in a large trough or bucket with water according to package directions. Leave room in the bucket for adding another bag if needed later on.
Mix concrete in a large trough or bucket with water according to package directions. Leave room in the bucket for adding another bag if needed later on. Make sure that the concrete is mixed well, and add more water if necessary. If the mixture appears too dry, add more concrete until it reaches desired consistency.
Now you know everything you need to build your own steps on a slope. It’s an easy project with the right tools and materials, so don’t be intimidated by it. Take a little extra time to make sure that the riser sizes, step widths, and angles all work out the way they should, because once the cement has dried, it’s very difficult to go back and make changes. Other than that though, this is one of those DIY projects where you can just let your imagination run wild without worrying about getting things wrong.