DIY Projects

How to Build Wooden Deck Stairs

By: Danny Lipford

When building stairs or steps for a deck:

  • Make sure all of the step risers are the same height, and all the step treads the same width to avoid a tripping hazard.
  • The rise of each step is determined by the height of the landing from the ground, with each step height from 7″ to 8″ high.
  • The width of each step should be from 11″ to 12″ wide.
  • The stringers for the steps are notched at right angles with the proper rise and run.
  • After cutting one stringer, use it as a pattern for all the others.
  • Notch the top of the stringer so it rests on a ledger board attached to the deck framing.
  • Attach deck stair treads with the cup facing down to prevent the steps from holding water or acting as a tripping hazard.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information


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14 Comments on “How to Build Wooden Deck Stairs”

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  • Sven Says:
    April 2nd, 2018 at 10:56 am

    Thanks for the info. Isn’t the distance out going to be approximately 8′ since your first step and rise is actually the deck surface and face itself? After that drop you would only need 8 more 7″ rise steps.

  • Wolfgang Says:
    November 7th, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Hi, understand that the steps can’t raise more than 8″ but I have the challenge that I have to go from a deck to the next floor. The deck isn’t that wide so the steps will be quite steep. I’m 8″ high with the step but can’t get the step wide enough to make it safe, especially on the way down. How can I solve that problem of very steep steps?

  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    November 5th, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Hi Kat,
    Check out our videos on How to Prune a Tree and Trimming Tree Limbs as well as our article on How to Trim Large Tree Branches.

  • Kat Says:
    November 4th, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    I’m helping my dad rebuild our front porch on our 84 year old house. We have a lot of over grown tree limbs that need to be gone and shade our porch and other parts of the house. Can y’all PLEASE show some videos about how to cut tree limbs and such. Also can y’all PLEASE do some videos on different solar lights you can put around the house and on porch steps that do not require any electricity? Thanks 🙂

  • Adela Graves Says:
    January 12th, 2015 at 7:55 am

    My husband has asked if we can add a new set of wooden stairs to our deck this spring. I thought it was a good idea, but I had no idea where to start! This has given me a really good idea of how to build the steps. I’ll definitely consult this video again when we start our project!

  • Ray Spoto Says:
    January 17th, 2011 at 11:08 am

    In pictures they show the rise and runs however it appears the top step serves as the first step and the drop down is the rise to the first step of the stringer. Everything I am reading they never actually explain this part. If it is 7 steps you cut only 6 out of the 2×12. I would like it explain better and I believe this is factored into the cutting of both ends of the stringe so it is flush against the deck and flush at the bottom for resting. These are not explained well by most videos.
    Sorry but these are just some of the tidbits those making videos tnd to leave out and assume we know.

  • Craig Brewster Says:
    March 23rd, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    You have good information in your video. It makes me cringe though when I see a deck nailed down. You should always use screws to fasten deck boards. I have replaced a lot of decks where the nails pop up and become a hazard.

  • E. Joseph Says:
    May 15th, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Have you ever tried an adjustable stair bracket system to build deck stairs? I’ve used them a lot lately and it really speeds up the building process. You don’t have to make so many cuts. Look at . There’s a stair calculator on the site too.

  • Luis Rosa Says:
    February 18th, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Please check this site that has a calculator

  • David Rethemeyer Says:
    October 28th, 2008 at 11:59 am

    We have recently purchased a beach home on the Outer Banks in NC. My concern is how should I build steps leading from our deck down to the beach? What is the correct thinking? The steps are always being damaged by the pounding surf when we get Nor’easters. Do I increase the strengh by using 6X6’s? Or should steps “break-away” from the deck structure to keep from further damage of deck and or house? Is there a better “step system” than the standard PT 4X4 and 2″ treads nailed to stringers? Currently it a drop of about 12 feet to the beach or toe of dune.
    Thanks, looking forward to hearing your thoughts ’cause I’m at a loss!

  • Rickie Bell Says:
    August 10th, 2008 at 6:34 am

    Good quick overview of the basics of how to build steps. Could you explain in detail how to figure out the rise and run of each individual step?

    This seems to be the biggest obstacle to building stairs for most people.

  • Joe Leon Says:
    May 29th, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Can you make a video on how to make a oval shape wood deck

  • Gary A Vela Says:
    November 21st, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    Building a set of stairs specially outside for a decking may not be as intimidating… It also depends on the type of wood one uses to build a set of stairs.

    I (Gary)am located in New Smyrna Beach Florida and a lot of builder prefer to use IPE decking and IPE or Brazilian Walnut for their steps… what is the different though? or is it just the price of the material?

    I would be nice if you could Danny put together a video on how to put together a decking!

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How to Build Wooden Deck Stairs