Once we put up our above ground pool we wanted a way to easily get from inside the house and to the pool. We built the deck at the very end of the build and did not include the stairs at that time. So here is how I built 6 foot tall deck stairs from pressure treated lumber.
*This post is sponsored by the Home Depot Canada and contains affiliate links*
Let me just start by saying that this is one of the biggest and most difficult projects I’ve tackled by myself. Ten years ago I barely touched any tools and was afraid of most of them. My husband is amazing, but he’s a busy man too; my “honey-do” list is so long that I can’t always ask him to do everything for me. So eventually I started learning how to use tools and building up my confidence and experience. And now I’m tackling bigger and more difficult projects, like these stairs. All that to say, is that you too can do it! If you’re afraid to use tools or to tackle a project by yourself, just start. You will learn and build up the confidence to tackle more and more!
Materials (for 4 foot wide, 8 step flight of deck stairs)
- 3 of 2″ x 12″ by 12′ pressure treated lumber for the stringers
- 8 of 2″ x 6″ by 8′ lumber for stair treads
- 2 of 2″ x 4″ by 10′ lumber for the rails
- 2 of 4″ x 4″ by 8′ lumber for the posts
- 30 of 48″ spindles
- 2 of 2″ x 6″ by 10′ pressure treated lumber for the top rails
- stair hangers
- galvanized nails
- deck screws
1. Calculate the stair measurements
There are so many stair calculators online that it makes it really easy to calculate the measurements for your deck stairs. I used this one from My Carpentry that gives the entire calculation. I knew I was going to use 2″ x 6″s for the treads, giving them a step of 11 inches. A 1 inch overhand is good, so this gave me a tread run of 10 inches. If you have the total height of the stairs (which for me was 75″), this stair calculator will determine the total run, the step height, and the top and bottom step heights.
2. Mark out the stringers
Using the measurements, mark out the steps on your stringers. The most important measurements you’ll need are the step height and treads. You can use a square to mark out the measurements using the step rise and run you calculated. Now I used 2″ x 10″s for my stringers. But if you’re going to do a flights of deck stairs that are this long you should probably use 2″ x 12″s. My stairs are fine, but they would have been stronger if I used chunkier wood. I was trying to be cheap and save some money, but this really wasn’t the time.
3. Cut the stringers
Next use a circular saw to cut out the stringers. Just be careful to cut along the line and end before you cut all the way through the stringer.
There was a small chunk in the corner that I couldn’t quite cut with the skill saw, so I tidied up the corners with our handy buzz saw.
4. Cut stair treads
I decided to make the stairs 4 feet wide. This way I could use one eight foot long 2″ x 6″ for each tread. I cut each board in half using a miter saw.
5. Nail treads onto the stringers
Next I laid the stringers out and nailed a tread to the top and the bottom. We measured from corner to corner to make sure that the entire set of deck stairs was square.
Once I got a few steps nailed on, I slid the third stringer underneath. I continued to nail the treads on until they were all installed. I used an air framing nailer with galvanized nails, and put 6 nails in each board.
6. Attach stairs to the deck
Tony helped me move the stairs over to the deck, and we attached them to the stairs using some nails and stair hangers. Make sure the stairs are level
7. Railing posts
Tony cut some 4″ by 4″ posts for me. He notched out the bottoms halfway so they would sit on top of the bottom step. I screwed the posts into the stringers, but cable bolts would also be very strong. He cut the top of the posts on an angle (the same angle that was calculated from the measurements at www.mycarpentry.com)
I also removed part of the railing at the top, and installed another post in the deck.
8. Start on the railing
Next I used a 2″ by 4″ and screwed it to the top and bottom posts. The top has to be cut on an angle, but the bottom has an overhang so it doesn’t need to be cut.
9. Screw on the spindles
All the tops of the spindles have to be cut before they can be screwed to the railing. I cut the tops all on a 39 degree angle. I evenly spaced them along the railing, and put a screw in the top and in the bottom to attach the spindles to the stringers.
10. Attach top rails
Finally, the last step is to install the top rail. I cut one end of a 2″ by 6″ on an angle, and left the other end flat. I glued and screwed the top rail to the top railing. Then I put a few screws into the bottom rail and 2″ x 6″.
And that’s how to build pressure treated deck stairs!
I also built a temporary deck/walkway that goes from the bottom of the stairs to the pool. We hope to build a deck all the way around the pool, but I don’t know when that will be. The stairs and the “deck” make it easier for the kids to get from the house and into the pool, and gives us a place to sit and watch them, and a place to dump their shoes and towels. Have you ever built a set of deck stairs? What’s the biggest project you’ve tackled on your own?