Do you have an outdoor deck you would love to expand with a set of steps? Many people think that adding stairs requires the use of stringers, but there are ways to build deck steps without using these structural supports. It might sound like a daunting task but with some careful planning and knowledge of the building process, it’s possible to create sturdy and visually appealing deck steps without stringers.
In this blog post, we will provide step by step instructions on how to construct strong and reliable deck stairs without having to use any traditional stringer systems!
Traditional Method Of Building Deck Steps Using Stringers
By using stringers, building a set of deck stairs is relatively straightforward.
- First, start by measuring the height of the deck and deciding how many steps you will need to reach the ground. With these measurements in hand, mark out each stringer on a 2 x 12 board with a framing square. Make sure that each riser is uniform in height and that the stair treads are at least 10 inches wide. Cut out each stringer with a circular saw and check for levelness before proceeding.
- Next, secure two pressure-treated 2 x 4 boards to the sides of the deck frame as support posts, making sure that they extend past the top riser by at least 3 inches. Attach the stringers to the support posts using 3-inch deck screws, making sure that each stringer is level and secure before moving on to the next one.
- When all of the stringers are secured in place, add tread boards (2 x 6s) across the top of each stringer. Make sure that each tread board is securely fastened to the stringers with deck screws and that each step overlaps the one below it by at least 1 inch. This will help create a secure footing for visitors as they ascend and descend your stairs.
- Finally, attach handrails to either side of the stairway using pressure-treated 2 x 4s and deck screws. Secure the handrails to the tops of the stringers, then use additional 4 x 4 posts as support posts connected to the side of the deck for extra stability.
Once all of these steps are completed, your deck stairs should be safe, secure and ready for use.
Alternative Method Of Building Deck Steps Without Stringers
If you don’t want to use stringers to build deck steps, there are several other ways to do it such as:
- Prefabricated stair kits: Stair kits come with all the materials you need to build a set of stairs, including treads and risers. This is usually the easiest and most cost-effective way to build deck steps.
- Deck blocks: If you have a low-profile deck with minimal clearance underneath, it’s possible to build steps using just deck blocks and a few lengths of 2×6 or 2×8 lumber. This method requires careful measuring and precise cutting, so it’s best left to experienced DIYers.
- Frameless construction: Another way to build deck steps without stringers is to use what’s called “frameless construction,” which is essentially a series of cut and stacked pieces of wood with each piece being held in place by the ones above and below it. This method requires accurately measured and fitted cuts, so again it’s usually best left to experienced DIYers.
No matter what method you choose for building deck steps without stringers, make sure that your structure meets all local building codes and is safe for use. It’s also important to use pressure-treated lumber for all structural components, as this will help protect the wood from water damage and rot.
With the right materials and some careful measuring, you can create a set of stairs that looks great and adds safety to your deck or patio.
How to build deck steps without stringers?
List of materials required for building deck steps without stringers?
Following are the materials required for building deck steps without stringers:
- 2×6” or 5/4” Pressure Treated lumber
- Deck screws or 16d nails
- Level and measuring tape
- Circular saw and jigsaw
- Miter, drill and hammer (optional)
- Landscaping fabric and gravel (optional)
- Decking boards such as cedar, composite, or pressure treated lumber
- Sandpaper and sealant (optional)
- Exterior-grade silicone caulk
- Masonry anchors for concrete steps (optional)
- Post anchors for wooden steps (optional)
Additionally, you will need safety equipment such as eye protection, gloves and a dust mask while working on the deck. Also, make sure to follow local building codes when constructing your steps.
Finally, if you are using concrete or masonry anchors, you may need additional tools such as a hammer drill or chisel. By having all these items handy before beginning, you will be able to build a safe and sturdy set of stairs for your deck.
7 Steps to build deck Steps
- Measure the area: Measure the area where you want to build your deck steps. Make sure that there is enough space for the stair and landing areas, as well as a clear pathway to get down the stairs.
- Lay out the treads: Lay out the treads, or steps, of your staircase. Make sure that each step is level and consistent in height as you go along.
- Cut the treads to size: Cut each tread to size using a circular saw or miter saw. Make sure that all of your treads are the same size and shape.
- Secure the treads to the deck platform: Secure your treads to the deck platform with construction adhesive and screws. Make sure that each screw is countersunk below the surface of the wood so it’s not visible when finished.
- Construct a railing, if needed: If you require a railing for safety or aesthetic reasons, construct one using posts and balusters. Make sure that the posts are attached securely to the deck platform with screws.
- Fill in any gaps between treads: Go back and fill in any gaps between your treads with wood filler or caulk. This will help create a seamless look and make sure that no one trips on an uneven step.
- Paint or stain the stairs: To finish off your deck steps, paint or stain them to match the existing color of your deck platform. This will help the staircase blend in and look like part of the whole design.
Congratulations! You have now successfully built deck steps without stringers. Enjoy your new set of stairs and be sure to keep up with regular maintenance.
Tips for ensuring that the deck steps are stable and secure
- Make sure that ground is level and the soil is firm and compacted before installing the deck steps.
- Use pressure-treated lumber for the frame of the deck steps as it will be more resistant to rot and decay.
- Securely fasten each step with galvanized nails or screws and use deck blocks or other support systems when necessary.
- Install safety railings and secure them to the steps with lag bolts or carriage bolts to provide extra support.
- Use a level to make sure that each step slopes away from the house for proper drainage and a safer walkway.
- Apply a coat of sealant or waterproofing to protect the wood and make sure that there are no gaps or openings where water can seep in.
- Consider adding a handrail for added safety, especially if the deck steps will be used by children or elderly people.
- Inspect your deck steps regularly for any signs of wear or damage and repair any issues immediately.
- Make sure that the deck steps are maintained to ensure they remain stable and secure over time.
- Never exceed the manufacturer’s weight capacity for your deck steps and always use caution when using them in wet or icy conditions.
Follow these tips and you can be sure that your deck steps will remain safe, secure and stable for years to come.
As we have seen, building deck steps without a stringer can be a great choice for those who are looking to upgrade their outdoor living experience. Not only is this an easy and cost-effective way of adding a beautiful set of steps to any exterior structure but it also adds a unique aesthetic charm that you just can’t get with traditional stringers.
Additionally, the no-stringer approach allows one to get creative with different types of materials, creating a truly custom look that perfectly suits your style. Overall, choosing to build deck steps without stringers can be the perfect addition to any outdoor setting.
Now that you know how to do this project correctly, why not give it a try and increase your property value? It’s simple and easy – plus you’ll be left with some stunningly unique stairs that will surely garner attention from all your guests!