Stronger, Smarter Deck Stairs
The ideal stair stringers balance strength, durability, and ease of assembly.
Synopsis: The stairs attached to a raised deck involve a unique set of challenges and face a different type of abuse than any interior staircase. But the extra effort required to build them also affords some opportunities for building stronger stairs that ease the installation of the guardrails, risers, treads, and trim that come next. This article explains a few tricks for making the job run smoothly and to ensure that the stairs are strong, safe, and ready to survive the weather.
The stairs attached to a raised deck involve a unique set of building challenges, and they face a different type of abuse than any interior staircase. In addition to having to follow stricter span tables, use code-required hardware, and negotiate potentially uneven surfaces where the stringers land at grade, deck stairs have to survive abuse from the elements — including dramatic swings in moisture content, the possibility of…