How to build stairs

« back to Exterior Home Improvement forum

Topic by DaddyT posted 01-14-2010 11:27 PM 6266 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View DaddyT's profile


1 post in 4404 days

01-14-2010 11:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Alright, Im going to throw myself on your mercy’s. I got a friend wants me to build her a deck. Thing is, Ive never built stairs before. I know how to lay them out with a carpenters square but how do you get the pitch? How do you cut them to attach to the deck( after youve cut out the stair layout?) Its probably simple but I want to make sure of what Im doing before I tackle them. Ive looked around the internet but havent really found anything that gives me what I want. If any of ya’ll can help me out, I would greatly appreciate it.

BigDaddy T.

View Catspaw's profile


35 posts in 5024 days

01-23-2010 03:04 PM

Well, let’s see….

So what you do is measure from the bottom level (whether it’s the ground or concrete pad or whatever), up to the deck level. For the purpose of this discussion let’s make this real easy. Let’s say that measurement is 24”.

Standard stairtread depth (run) is about 10”, rise is in the neighborhood of 7 1/2” to 8”. Divide the 24” by 8” and you get a nice even 3. You’ll have 3 steps including one at the level of the deck. The run will be 3×10” or 30”.

If it’s not a real nice easy measurement, then, you divide what you have to get the number of steps that rise somewhere between the 7 1/2 and 8. And subsequently the fractions of an inch. I’d also say 8 is max. particularly for seniors. Alittle shallow would be better than alittle steep. If you wanted to get real mathy about it you could adjust the run also, but, it’s just as easy to stay with your standard material widths for tread.

The tread at the deck level is not necessary or maybe not desired. But, by putting one there, the stair horse will fasten directly to the joist. If you don’t want one, then there needs to be something below the joist to fasten to, depending on the substructure and the width of the joist.

You then set your knocks to 8” by 10” and lay out 3 steps. The top of the horse is backcut at a 90 to the horizontal of the tread, 10” back from the riser and the bottom is cut parallel to the tread, but, is cut the thickness of a tread less (total rise of 6 1/2” on the horse itself.) That way when the tread is installed the total rise for the first step is what you calculated. Since the rise of the second step is 8”, it will become 6 1/2” because of the first tread. But, it ends up being 8” when it’s tread is installed….etc., etc….

On a deck I would typically notch the bottom/back of the horse at the top to fit over a 2×4 ledger. Although they make stair horse hangers you can buy.

Note that with a 10” run you’ll want to get 2×12’s for tread (not 2×10’s assuming you’re using 2 x material.) That way when they are installed, they overhang the horse (in this case) by 1 1/2”. This gives your toes somewhere to go without hitting the horse….and or risers if installed. Each step then has a total of 10” clear space as each tread is offset by 10”, the desired run.

kinda TMI maybe but I’m just working it thru my head (as a refresher for myself.)

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

View Dennis's profile


3 posts in 4360 days

02-13-2010 10:59 PM

there is a cool new tool at thestairguide.com

-- Dennis,Iowa,www.thestairguide.com

View jamesmrosas's profile


12 posts in 4274 days

05-19-2010 06:00 PM

Hi daddyT,

How was your stair?Have you finished building it already?

-- http://stoneideasllc.com/

View Jason22's profile


5 posts in 3060 days

09-12-2013 05:24 AM

Well for building stairs you need the good skill in building homes. Because building stairs is more complex then simple room or walls. Anyhow if you think you cannot do this then contact to some professional.

-- http://www.thepoolfactory.com/swimming-pools/above-ground-pools

View stephenandy's profile


17 posts in 3041 days

09-24-2013 03:02 AM

From a technical standpoint, there’s nothing particularly difficult about building stairs for a deck, porch or shed. Anyone with basic carpentry skills can make the necessary cuts and assemble the parts. And yet, stair building is arguably the most challenging task do-it-yourself will ever attempt. ..

-- Stephen Andy, USA, http://www.ServiceGarageDoors.us/

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: All views and comments posted by members are not necessarily those of HomeRefurbers.com or of those working on the site.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

LumberJocks.com :: woodworking showcase