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Deck Stair Stringers – Deck Building Step by Step Part 5

Deck Stair Stringers – Deck Building Step by Step Part 5
This entry is part 5 of 10 in the series Building My Deck Step by Step
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Getting Ready For The Stairs

Now that I have my two deck areas completed, the upper larger deck and the landing area where I change the direction of how people will access the deck.

I chose to change the way the stairs went this time because, I like the stairs going down the side of the deck rather then going down by the house, but I also really had no other choice in this matter as I have utilities as well as my fresh air intakes for the furnace and exhaust air of my dryer on that wall of the house.

The next things I had to do was build a level landing area on the ground where my stair will end as well as to be supported, something other then the earth will work best here.  I guess there are a couple of choices for this landing, one you could pour a small concrete slab, or you can do as I did and use concrete patio blocks.

I used these blocks as I have many around the house from the previous owner.

All Deck Stairs Need A Strong Supporting Base

concrete supporting base for deck stringersWhat I needed to do first was dig out the area where I wanted to put my landing down into the ground about 8 – 12 inches. I then added gravel that has some sand in it and raised the level back up to the top minus the thickness of the patio blocks, which was about 2 inches.  I then leveled the gravel and then tamped it down so to compact it. Once the gravel was level and tamped I added my patio blocks, which ended up just slightly above the level of my grass. That now gives me a place to measure to for the overall height of the stairs, which is nice and level to receive the bottoms of my stringers.

stair stringer with blocking closeupAnyways, to get going on the stringers we need to calculate some information like stair length, stair height, riser height, tread length and how many stairs we need before we do any cutting of the stringers.

Also you will need 2×12 material to cut your stringers out of. My stairs are 36” wide so I require 3 stringers to support my treads. (Check your local building codes for the proper amount of deck stair stringers for your type of treads as well as the width of stairs you are building).

Calculating The Deck Stair Stringers

  • Overall height – 39 ½”
  • Overall Length – 56 ½”
  • Tread Width Minus Nosing – 10 ½”
  • Riser Height – 6 ¾”
  • Number of Risers – 6
  • Thickness of Tread Material – 1”

Please refer to the drawing below to see how I laid out the measurements for my stringers.

stair-stringer-dimensions-2ddeck stair stringer drawing

As you will see in my drawing that I added an extra 4 inches to my overall length dimension as I wanted to be able to attach my stringers to the landing from the front side.  You can do this another way and attach from underneath the rim joist which in effect means you would subtract one riser from the overall height and use the rim joist as your first riser. I always prefer to attach my stairs from the front as I just find it much easier to calculate and then construct everything.  (Suggestion: You should know which way you prefer to attach your stairs before you do your drawings for the deck)

Getting Ready To Make The Cuts

deck stair stringers installedSo now I am ready to layout the cut marks on the first deck stair stringers and cut the notches using my skill saw and hand saw. In total for one stringer I have 14 cuts to make.  After the first stringer is complete and correct (test it out to make sure before cutting the others) I can use it as a template for the rest of the stringers and they will all be exactly the same.

That was a bunch of cutting to do, and now I can go about installing the stringers and attaching them to the small deck (landing) on the front side of the rim joist.

I think from my photographs and drawings you can see how I went about this by cutting some 2×6 blocking to space between the stringers. These 2×6 spacers are what makes it so easy to attach the 3 stringers to the rim joist with a bunch of screws, making a nice, strong, permanent connection to the landing area.

That completes the stair stringer assembly and now I am able to move onto installing my cedar 4×4 posts for the railing as soon as I paint some stain onto the stringers.

Series Navigation<< Deck Joist Installation – Deck Building Step by Step Part 4 .... 4×4 Cedar Deck Posts Installation – Step by Step Deck Building Part 6 >>
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Warning: The topics covered on this site include activities in which there exists the potential for serious injury or death. DOES NOT guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained on this site. Always use proper safety precaution and reference reliable outside sources before attempting any woodworking or home improvement task!

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