Monday, June 13, 2011

Finishing the deck - new stairs

A bit over a year ago my husband and I cut the old falling apart deck off the side of the house. Rather, he cut the deck off. With his chainsaw. And then towed it away from the house with his Jeep. Yeah. Cause he's high tech like that.

We then started the new deck. It was our first big project together, and neither of us had any experience building decks. It was often a difficult project, let's just leave it at that. But we persevered, and even wound up with a (mostly) square, level deck. We're pretty proud of it in fact :)  We built stairs off one end, but the other end we just left a small section of the old deck as a lower level, to tide us over until we had time to build another set of stairs.

That brings us to last weekend. While my parents were here, my dad and I cut our own stair risers, and then over the last week I slowly got them attached to the deck, leveled out, cut the leftover trex bits down to the right length, and nailed them on to the risers.

That made it sound really easy. It wasn't. Cutting your own risers is a pain! I thought I was saving money by not buying the premade risers, but was I ever wrong! It took us most of an afternoon to get the boards measured to match the existing stair risers, and get them cut, and then I still had to dab the cut ends with pressure treating goo so that they wouldn't rot. Not that it was a task that was difficult, it was just way more time consuming than it was worth considering the few dollars we saved!

But oh well, lesson learned I guess! Here is my picture step-by-step how-to to building new deck stairs from scratch.
Measure existing steps to match the rise & run of the stair riser

Measure the height the new steps need to be

Match the angle of the existing steps & make sure the steps will be level

make sure you have power tools capable of making all the cuts

talk about every step in detail so you don't make a wrong cut

level the area for the new steps & dab sealant on the cuts in the pressure treated wood

Use a level to make sure the riser is correctly placed

Lay the bricks parallel with the deck

Get cute help to make your day better

Try not to let the cute help eat your nails

Measure correctly & put up all the risers

cut the step boards & nail them in place, leaving the rest of the patio stones for later!

You may not hear from me much for a couple weeks, we fly out tomorrow to Alaska to meet up with my husband's dad & stepmom on their boat & tour around the coast of Alaska between Juneau & Ketchikan. I've never been to Alaska before, so I'm pretty excited! I am hoping to see lots of whales & fish, not have anyone fall overboard, and not get seasick! Oh, and hopefully Little M gets used to her lifejacket really fast... :)


  1. Great job, y'all! When's your first b-b-q?

  2. Sweet! Now that's gettin' your hands dirty and being handy!


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