How to Build Exterior Wood Steps
By: Danny Lipford
Building steps used to require complicated measurements and difficult angled cuts, but the precut pressure treated stringers available at home centers today have made the job much easier.
Allow for a stringer at each end of the steps and at 16” intervals in between. Use corrosion resistant screws and nails to assemble the steps.
Start by measuring the width of the opening, then cut a treated 2”x4” to length to attach to the side of the house as an anchor for the stringers. Remember to take 3” off the length of the anchor board to allow for the thickness of the end stringers.
Position the anchor board on the house, taking into account the thickness of the top tread. Screw the board in place, making sure it’s level with the house. When attaching to brick, drill pilot holes with masonry bit for anchors or masonry screws.
Place the outside stringers against the house flush with the top of the anchor board, checking to be sure they’re level and square, and nail them to the ends of the anchor board.
Cut 1½” off the end of each of the inside stringers to allow for the thickness of the anchor board.
Toenail the inside stringers to the anchor board flush with the top.
Attach a treated 1”x 8” riser to the bottom of the steps to tie the stringers together.
Cut the 5/4” x 6” pressure treated treads to length, allowing for the overhang on each end, and nail them in place. Using two treads on each step minimizes the cracking and cupping that might occur with a single wide board.
Rip 1”x8” risers to width and cut to length flush with the outside of the stringers. Nail the risers to the stringers to complete the steps.
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