How to Build Wooden Steps Fast

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Custom built steps that use specific design elements, hand rails, and various types of support are complicated to design and build. However, the prevalence of prefabricated parts makes building basic wood steps simple. Hardware stores sell precut stair frames that take the majority of the guesswork out of the equation. Assembling wood stairs with the precut frames simply requires cutting the steps and support to finish the construction.

Things You'll Need

  • Circular saw
  • Level
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Carpenter's square
  • 2-by-10 inch wood planks
  • 4-by-4 inch wood beams
  • 2 precut stair frames
  • Drill
  • 4-inch wood screws
  • Hold one precut stair frame, a long board with "steps" already cut into it to hold the horizontal treads, against the building or structure so that one angled end of the frame is flat on the ground. Rest the upper end of the frame on the vertical face of the structure. You typically buy these in three or four step sizes.

  • Mark a horizontal line using a straight edge, such as a level, going straight out from the surface of the structure along the wood frame. The line will intersect the stair frame at a vertical edge. Draw a vertical line straight down from the vertical edge.

  • Cut the wood frame with a circular saw along the vertical line mark. Use the cut made here as a template to cut the second stair frame so that both pieces are identical.

  • Cut 2-by-10 inch wood planks to the length desired for the stair treads. Cut one plank for each level on the frames, including the top level.

  • Attach each wood plank to the stair frame so that the ends of the wood planks are flush with the sides of the stair frame. Drive two or three 4-inch wood screws through the wood planks into the stair frame on each side.

  • Position the partially completed steps against the structure so that the stairs appear completed. Measure from beneath the top step to the ground where the steps contact the building. Cut two 4-by-4 inch wood beams to this measurement.

  • Attach the wood beams inside the structure of the stairs so that they connect from the top step to the ground. Drive three 4-inch wood screws through the outside of the stair frame into the wood beams. Drive one 4-inch wood screw through the top step into the top of the wood beams.

  • Measure the distance between the two vertical wood beams. Cut a 4-inch by 4-inch wood beam to this measurement. Mount the wood beam horizontally between the two vertical beams for additional support. Drive a screw through the side and top of the horizontal beam at an angle so that the screw drives into the vertical beams on each end.

Tips & Warnings

  • A 2-by-10 inch wood plank measured and cut to be mounted flush with the wall that the top step can rest on will create additional support. To quickly erect stairs that can be taken down at a later time, you may want to use the 4-by-4 inch vertical support beams only.

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References

  • "Lowe's: Complete Home Improvement and Repair"; Don Vandervort; 2005
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
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