||But i was a little scared planing the entrance to our
new porch. I wanted wide steps, that means more stringers. I also wanted
a shorter riser, that means more steps.
I start out buy setting a 6' level on top of the deck
boards and out over the concrete pad the steps will lead to. Then I measure
down to the pad, this gives me the total rise: 46-3/8"
Click for a larger image
|I always find it easier for me to do a scaled drawing
of the stringer. This helps me picture the cuts in my mind.
I know a standard step is about 7-1/2", if i divide my
"total rise by 6 steps (46-3/8" divided by 6steps) I get 7-3/4". I wanted
shallower steps. The total rise divided by 7 steps gives me 6-5/8", very
Now I need to figure my run or the width of each step
without the tread boards in place. A simple rule to remember is one riser
and one run should equal "about" 17. So if I subtract my rise from 17 (6-5/8"
from 17") I get 10-3/8" for a step. If I streach it a little I can use
2 deck boards for each step without cutting them.
When you draw your stringer, remember to draw the rise
including the deck boards, but when drawing the run, don't include the
deck boards. This is important so that the bottom step is the same as the
rest of the steps. If you click on the drawing to the right, you'll notice
the bottom step of the stringer is 1" shorter than the rest, but the distance
from the concrete pad is still 6-5/8' to the first step.
||I like to use 2x12s for the stringers. Sometimes you
can get away with 2x10s for steeper steps, but I perfer 2x12s. Check your
local building codes for requirements. You'll also need a framing square,
cicular saw, a hand saw, and a fine tipped marker, which shows up better
on treated wood. Also make sure you have safty glasses and a dust mask,
you don't want to breath in treated wood dust!
||After determining the rise and run, I like to wrap masking
tape around my framing square and mark the rise and run on the tape, it's
just easier for me to see.
Line the markes on the square up with the edge of your
stringer and trace the inside. The area you marked out is the waste of
the first step, you'll be cutting this out later. The wood that you remove
will determine the height and depth of each step. Be acurate so all the
steps are the same!
||Slide the square over to mark the next step, line up
the square with the mark you made before. Your stringer should look something
like this pic at the left. Check your drawing to make sude the bottom rise
is shorter than the others by the thickness of your decking. So now you've
marked one stringer, if it's ok, you'll have your template for the other
||Ok, now grab your circular saw and saftey glasses and
dust mask and cut out the waste. Being sure to cut on the waste side of
the line, cut on all the tread lines first. Then turn your saw and go back
and cut all the riser lines. You'll notice the waste is still hanging on!
Thats because your blade is round. Grab your hand saw finish up the cuts.
Great, now drag that stringer over to your project and
lay it in place like the pic at left. Check it with a level, make sure
the risers are plumb and the steps level. The top of the stringer should
be down from the top of the deck framing, equal to the rise of each step.
The bottom step should be short by the thickness of the decking. At this
point, I cut little pieces of decking and placed them on each step, just
to be sure.
||Ok, now that I'm happy with the first stringer, I can
use it to trace the other stringers. I need five total, so I'll be cutting
for a while. Make sure you cut them all exactly the same!
||Yikes! It's starting to look like stairs! Check everything
with a level and secure the top of each stringer to the deck. I like to
use metal plates like the one at the far left.
Check corner to corner to make sure everything is square.
Put the bottom riser on first and check for square again. I used pressure
treated stock for the bottom riser since it will near the ground.
||Next you need some fancy riser stock, I used 1x8 ripped
to the height of the riser. Yes the top one is long, and the bottom one
Finally the decking goes on, and later handrails too,
but thats another day.