How to Build Outdoor Stairs

Building a stairway can be one of the most intimidating tasks any builder – amateur or professional – tackles. But an outdoor stairway is generally not a difficult project, as long as it is planned and executed carefully. This document covers building procedures for a straight-run utility stairway, typically used on porches and decks. Local building codes regulate the width and slope of a staircase, as well as how the assembly is supported and braced, how the landing is built and whether railings are required. ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR LOCAL BUILDING DEPARTMENT BEFORE DESIGNING A STAIRWAY, AND FOLLOW ALL LOCAL CODES. The following instructions are intended as general guidelines only, and local requirements should be your primary guide.

In this document you will find information about:
* Stair-Building Terms
* Designing Your Stairs
* Building Your Stairs
* There are five basic design elements you'll need to consider when planning outdoor stairs:
* The Total Run is the total horizontal distance covered by the staircase, from the edge of the upper floor (porch or deck) to the edge of the staircase where it rests on the landing.
* The Total Rise is the total vertical distance from the surface of the landing to a point level with the surface of the upper floor (Note: You can't find the rise simply by measuring straight down from the upper floor because the ground directly below may not be level with the landing).
* Run is the horizontal distance from the leading edge of one tread to the leading edge of the next tread.
* Rise is the vertical distance from the surface of one tread to the surface of the next tread.
* Passage Width is the width of the stairway.
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