If you have stairs that are old and worn, or you just want a new set; you can build them. You have a choice of either a stand alone set to get into your house, camper, or hot tub or a set that is attached to your deck or porch. Either type is an excellent choice and very simple to assemble.
electric drill with screwdriver attachment
straight edge (ruler or T-Square)
1×6 treated boards (at least 6 feet for each step)
two treated 2×4’s
two treated 4×4’s either carved or plain, (optional)
box of galvanized, treated, or coated screws 2 inches long
extra treated 2×4’s, either plain or carved (optional)
First measure the distance from the ground to the door, top of your hot tub, or top of the deck or porch. Then determine the slope you want on your stairs. Do not make it too steep or you will get winded climbing them or you may hurt yourself going down. If the stringers you purchase are too long, you may reduce the slope or cut them off. If they are too short, it just won’t work. Remember, however, before cutting anything MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE.
Now you are ready to go to the hardware store.
Purchase treated stringers, which come in four, five or seven step varieties. The four or five step stringer is a good all-purpose choice, while the seven-step variety is best if you have a long distance to travel. Then purchase 1×6 treated boards for the steps, the 2×4’s for support and two 4×4’s, either plain or carved, for the uprights if you are making a stand-alone stair. Make sure that all of your wood is treated, if not it will weaken with age (usually in a few months) and become unstable and dangerous.
When you get home, assemble all of your materials and equipment in one central location so you won’t have to go running all around to find it.
Begin by placing your stringers 36 inches apart, this will make each step 36 inches wide. Measure the distance from a point three inches down from the top of the left-hand stringer to a point three inches up from the bottom of the right-hand stringer.
Cut one 2×4 to that measurement. Then measure the distance from a point three inches down from the top of the right-hand stringer to a point three inches up from the bottom of the left-hand stringer. Cut the other 2×4 to that measurement. Attach the two 2×4’s in a cross pattern, just to the inside of the stringers. Be sure not to interfere with the steps. Use galvanized, coated, or treated screws for all attachments, as they are much easier to work with than nails.
Attach the stringers to either the porch or the uprights.
Place one 1×6 across your stringers to test fit the steps. Mark the ends. Use one more 1×6 to verify that two will make the proper width step, mark it. Then cut along your lines.
Replace the steps on the stringers and screw them to the stringer. Start at the bottom, then go to the top and then fill in the center steps. If you are building a stand-alone stair, carefully make a notch to fit around the upright.
Stabilize stand-alone stairs by attaching 2×4’s vertically to the back of the uprights. Three evenly spaced should be enough. This makes the unit firm and portable.
To add a railing to your stairs, evenly space 36 inches treated 2×4’s (either plain or carved) upright at either end of each step, centered back to front. Screw them in place. Then place a plain, treated, 2×4 atop these as a banister, (it will slope) and screw that in at an angle to attach.
You may either stain or paint your stairs or leave them natural. Either way, you will have a nice set of stairs that will last you for a very long time.You may either