How to Attach Stairs to Your House

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Stairs that attach to your home are likely to receive heavy use, whether they lead from your yard onto a deck, connect your front door to the sidewalk or span the height difference between a detached garage and a side door. Whatever the layout, you can install pre-built stairs, or the stringers for a stairway you're in the process of constructing, to your home with two different methods. Screwing the notched stringers that support the stairs to a rim joist on your home or deck is an option if you have access to the space behind the joist. Or you can attach stringers with angle brackets that attach to the rim joist's outer facing.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Cordless drill
  • 1/16-inch drill bit
  • Screwdriver bit
  • 3-inch wood screws
  • Galvanized angle brackets

Screwing to Joists

  • Determine the location of your stairs by placing one or more stringers against the rim joist that runs around the perimeter of the top of your home's foundation. Use a pencil to mark the locations where the stringers will abut the rim joist.

  • Drill into and through the rim joist with a cordless drill equipped with a 1/16-inch bit. Drill several holes spaced about 4 inches apart in vertical rows that will be covered by the stairway's stringers.

  • Access the space behind the joist by climbing under your deck or porch or access the joists from a location in the basement.

  • Have someone else hold the stringers or completed stairway against the rim joist in its final position. From behind the joist, insert 3-inch wood screws through each of the holes you pre-drilled. Screw through the joist and into the stringer until the screws are flush with the back of the joist.

Using Angle Brackets

  • Mark the location of stringers against your home's rim joist as you would if you were going to screw the stringers to the joists.

  • Measure the width of the stringers. Purchase one angle bracket for each stringer that is approximately as long as the width of the stringer where it will attach to the rim joist.

  • Attach the angle brackets to the rim joist by screwing 3-inch wood screws through the pre-drilled holes in the metal surface. Place the brackets directly next to the locations you marked for the stringers in Step 1.

  • Hold each stringer in place and insert screws through the holes in the other side of the angle bracket. Screw into and through the stringer at an angle that is perpendicular to the screws that hold the bracket to the rim joist.

Tips & Warnings

  • The width of your stairway will determine the number of stringers you need to use. Consult a contractor or refer to the stairway plans to determine how many stringers to install. Anchor all of the stringers to your home with screws or brackets to avoid weak points in the design.
  • Use galvanized brackets and screws to prevent your stairs from becoming weak or detached from your home as the hardware will be exposed to moisture over time.
  • Photo Credit Jack Hollingsworth/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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