How to build steps for a deck

How to build steps for a deck

Helpful advice for building a set of steps for your deck

A deck on either the front or the back or the house (or both) provides you with a way of expanding your living space to the outside so that you can enjoy the beautiful weather. It is here that you can enjoy the setting sun, have your morning coffee and enjoy the sights and sounds of your garden. Although you may want it to be a private retreat, you should have a set of steps so that you have an alternate way of entering or exiting your home. Plus, a set of steps from the deck that lead to the garden make it quite easy for you to attend to your flowers or supervise the children at play.

It may look like a complicated task to build a set of steps for your deck, but it really isn’t when you have the right tools and materials. It is helpful for you to draw out the plans for the steps before you start so that you have a plan from which you can envision what the final product will look like.


Step 1

Measure twice and cut once

The measurements of the area where you plan to build the steps for the deck will determine the size of the steps. First you have to measure the height from the platform to the ground. Steps are generally seven to eight inches apart, so then you divide one of these numbers into the total distance to the ground. This will tell you how many steps you need. The number of steps will also determine how far out they will extend because the back of one step is usually an inch or so inside the previous one.

Next you want to determibe how wide the steps will be. This can be any measurement you want as long as you have the room for it. You can even have one full side of the deck open to the steps.

Step 2

Cutting out the step runners

The runners for the steps are the sides of the step that are cut in a zigzag fashion. You must cut two of these — one for each side of the steps or stairs.

Start with 2 X12 planks and measure the total height of the steps. Once you have the measurement from the top of the steps to the ground then you start marking off where the steps will be. Make sure that the distance between the steps is even (either seven or eight inches). Any more or less than this will make it difficult to walk up and down the steps. Draw out the zigzag shape on the plank first before you cut so that you can see if the steps will be even.

Once you cut the pattern on one side, repeat the exact same pattern on the other plank for the other side.

Step 3

Cutting the planks for the steps

When you finish cutting out the runners and have them secured in place with nails or screws, it is time to cut out the planks for the actual steps. Measure the length of the step and cut the planks. This will be a straight cut, but it is important that you have the same measurement for each one.

Place the planks on the zigzag pattern on the runners and secure them in place by means of nails or screws.

Step 4

Sealing and staining the steps

In order to have steps for your deck that will last for a long time, it is important to treat the wood. Apply a sealant to protect it from water and then apply a stain in whatever color you prefer. You should also install railings on the steps to prevent falls that could cause injuries.

Things Needed
• 2 X 10 planks for the steps
• 2 X 12 planks for the runners
• measuring tape
• screws or nails
• saw
• square
• hammer or screwdriver

Tips & Warnings
• Draw out the plan on paper first to determine the style you want for the steps.
• Be sure of your measurements before you make any cuts in the wood to avoid wastage.
• Wear protective eye wear when working with the tools and be careful when sawing.


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