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Building stairs


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  • Building stairs

    In the web site directions for making a stairs, it says:
    "Install by nailing through the back of the risers and into the treads,
    > always using cement-coated fasteners."
    > How can you nail through the back of a riser into the tread? Shouldn't
    > you nail down into the tread and through the 3 stringers?
    I'm not sure what a cement coated fastener is, but assume they mean some kind of nailing device that won't rust. Anyone know the answer here?

    I'm trying to build a stairs going from a boat pier to the cabin. I assume triple treated wood, wider and maybe thicker measurements and hope to use only 2 stringers (using 2 - 3"x12" stringers and 30" wide steps.) Any hints? Should I use 3 - 2"x12" stringers and 36" stairs? There is not much traffic on stairs, just 2 of us around and I felt the 3" width would support the 30" steps leaving 24" unsupported in the middle.

  • #2
    On exterior stairs it is not so common to have closed risers, more often than not the rise is left open.
    Another good trick for the actual step tread is to not use a 2x12 but to use 2 x 2x6, this allows any water that falls on these treads to get away and not help "cup" the 12" wide tread.
    All the exterior steps I build (or repair) are always screwed down with ACQ approved exterior screws. I never nail they always end up loose (and dangerous).
    As for the width of the steps, it really comes back to what size "you" want. 30" would be my min. and 36" is considered a two person size.
    36" is now considered the bench mark in clearances, where two people can pass each other without having to bump and grind past each other. Same size is used in relation to kitchens and counter top clearances.

    If you go 36" wide I'd suggest 3 stringers 2x12", 6" in from the end then 12" then 12" leaving 6" to the other end = 36".
    Little about a lot and a lot about a little.
    Every day is a learning day.


    • #3
      exterior stairs

      Thanks. The reason I was going with 2 stringers is I have to dig holes to put the 4x4 or 4x6 supports at each stringer to hold and bolt to and was hoping to have less digging with one less stringer. Most of the time, noone is there, but me.