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Deck Steps

Hi Building experts!

 

Apron Blog reader, Mike, has a basic deck building question:

 

"I need help and I dont know where to ask.  I'm putting steps on my deck.  It's 6 ft off the ground.  How many steps will I need?  Thanks for any help."

 

So how many steps will Mike need to build for his 6 foot deck?  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

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Posted 2012-04-17T16:33:50+0000  by SoDeco SoDeco
 

Hello SoDeco.

 

The first step, (no pun intended :smileyembarrassed:), for calculating stair sizes is to check with your local building inspector.  Local codes on this do vary.

 

Let's start out with what is currently common practice though.

In order to ensure a comfortable and safe climb, the rise and run of stairs have practical limits.  Normally there is a maximum of 7-3/4” for each riser height and minimum of 10-1/2 “ depth (run) for stair treads.

 

We know that the total height for these stairs will be 6 feet or 72 inches.

 

Divide 72" by a 7" rise =  10.29.  Round down to an integer and you get 10 risers.

Or,

Divide 72" by a 7.75" rise = 9.29.  Round up to get 10 risers.  Works out the same either way.

 

The actual rise of each stair will work out to 72" / 10 risers = 7.2" or 7 1/4" each.

So you will walk up 10 steps to get to your deck.

Whether that means you will have 9 or 10 treads depends on how you build the stairs.

 

Here is a link to the American Wood Council publication:  Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide.

 

While the figures I have provided will yield a "normal" stair feel and configuration, please remember that this project will need a building permit and inspection.  Knowing ahead of time what the local code requirements for rise/run calculations as well as construction requirements is essential to a successful project.  For example, while inside a home a 6 foot rise would not require a landing, local codes for decks can be different.

 

I hope this helps,

Newf.

 

.

Posted 2012-04-17T20:24:04+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI

Thanks, Newf!  This answer is a huge help.

Posted 2012-04-18T15:18:24+0000  by SoDeco
 
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