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How to Build Porch Stairs


Even basic porch stairs like these take precise planning and careful construction.
Even basic porch stairs like these take precise planning and careful construction.
iStockphoto.com/Kimberly McBride

­You have the perfect porch you've always wanted. It's sturdy with a nice railing and a wooden swing, but it's still missing something. You need a way to get off that nice porch and onto the ground -- you've got to build porch stairs.

Building stairs is a very difficult job, even if it's just a short porch staircase that might be only a few steps high. Though you can surely do it on your own with lots of careful planning and design, you should build porch stairs -- or any stairs, for that matter -- on your own only if you have carpentry experience and feel comfortable with the job. As with any building work, be sure to check the local codes and obtain any necessary building permits.­

­In this article, we'll learn how to build porch stairs, starting with the most important step -- designing them. You might think, they're stairs -- what is there to design? But this is the most crucial aspect of the project. The design of the stairs is so important that some carpenters buy drafting software for this step. The actual construction isn't particularly difficult -- it's the preci­se measurements and calculations that can trip you up. If math isn't your strong point, you might want to save this project for a professional. If you're willing to put in the proper planning, however, building your porch stairs shouldn't be too hard.

So, haul out your measuring tape and calculator and try to remember high school geometry class as you head over to the next page.