How to Build Porch Stairs

Building Porch Stairs

­Now that the hard part is out of the way, yo­u can move on to what you came for -- the construction of the porch stairs.

Got your steps designed? Check. Got your local building codes? Check. Got all of the necessary permits? Check. Then you'­re ready to go with the following basic steps:

  1. Position the stringers based on your measurements. (Stringers are the cutout boards on which your steps will rest.)
  2. Attach the stringers with lag screws (heavy wood screws with square heads).
  3. Cut the risers based on your calculations and screw them in.
  4. Install the treads, screwing them in both at the ends and down the middle [source: Hazelton].

Most likely, you'll want a railing so you can grip something when walking up and down your beautifully constructed stairs. To do so, first install a post before you install the lowest tread. (Be prepared to cut the tread so that it fits around the post.) Then, install the railing. This can be as simple as a piece of lumber connected from the post to the top of your porch, though you may want to have it both at the top of the post and then reinforce it by putting another one closer to the steps.

It might not be the easiest carpentry job you've attempted, but by using a little foresight, you can build a great set of porch stairs in just one weekend. Now get your measuring tape and your hard hat and get going. For more information, visit the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Adams, Doug. "How to Build Stairs." Extreme How To. (Accessed 12/16/08)
  • DoItYourself. "How to Build Outdoor Stairs." (Accessed 12/16/08)
  • Hazelton, Ron. "How to Build a Porch Stairway." Ron Hazelton's HouseCalls. (Accessed 12/16/08)
  • Maki, Bruce W. "Designing Stairs and Laying Out Stair Stringers." HammerZone. (Accessed 12/16/08)
  • Truini, Joseph. "How to Build Stairs." Popular Mechanics. October 2007. (Accessed 12/16/08)
  • YouRepair. "HowTo - Building Wood Porch Stairs." May 5, 2008. (Accessed 12/16/08)