Front Porch Steps

  • Advertise with us
Project by ldl posted 12-10-2011 09:14 PM 3949 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first project entry so if there is something I did wrong or need to do differently please correct me and/or give advice

I didn’t take any pictures where I laid out & cut the stringers. Project took me a couple of days as it was only me working with 2×12 material in a limited space.

-- Dewayne in Bainbridge, Ga. - - No one can make you mad. Only you decide when you get mad - -

15 comments so far

View dakremer's profile


2746 posts in 3630 days

#1 posted 12-10-2011 11:22 PM

hey looks good! do the stairs get wider at the bottom? or is that just looking like that in the pic? Welcome to LJ’s!!

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View endlessDESIGN's profile


22 posts in 3591 days

#2 posted 12-11-2011 12:15 AM

Looks Good
Heres a couple things I noticed.
The overhang on the ends is way to much and I would add a 3rd stringer down the middle, it looks like it might sag over time. The bottom step looks shorter then the rest, that could be a trip hazard.

-- sk

View ldl's profile


1135 posts in 2903 days

#3 posted 12-11-2011 05:58 AM

Is is camera angle I suppose as they are same width.

Endlessdesign your critique is spot on. One mistake I found out later is with a step that wide I needed 2x material for tread and not 5/4 deck boards. You are correct I need to add a third stringer or replace tread with 2×12s. The other 2 sets of steps I made about a year ago weren’t as wide so the deck board has werked fine. I will probably replace the tread with 2×12 later. That is the simplest thing to do.

-- Dewayne in Bainbridge, Ga. - - No one can make you mad. Only you decide when you get mad - -

View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 4003 days

#4 posted 12-11-2011 08:47 AM

Nice looking build. Like Shaun (endlessDESIGN) said, that variation in step height can be an issue. You might be able to cheat a little if you leave the 5/4 bottom tread on and add the 2X on top of it. It will even out the difference in fist and second steps. Measure it out and see for yourself, it’s hard to tell from pics. Not trying to be critical just helpful. I once tore out a 14 step staircase because the top step was 3/16 taller than the rest. Noone knew it but I did!!! So I might be a LITTLE anal about this subject.
Overall, it looks good and it looks like you know what’s going on. WELCOME to LJ’s, can’t wait to see some more projects.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3640 days

#5 posted 12-11-2011 10:45 AM

Nice pictures showing your progress. Funny how one riser can be off and send a person tripping. (or not funny).............

-- mike...............

View Bluepine38's profile


3387 posts in 3623 days

#6 posted 12-11-2011 06:51 PM

People have a muscle memory section in the brain that automatically adjusts our stride on steps after the
first two treads, do not know why but is seems to be true. I once had to redo a circular stairway after
someone had laid out the first 3 steps at different heights, almost everyone was stumbling on the fourth
tread, no fun at all. Since I am absentminded and slightly clumsy, I would have to add a railing and another
handrail on house side of the stairs to keep from adding too many bruises to my all ready battered body.
Thank you for sharing and welcome to Lumberjocks.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View a1Jim's profile


117746 posts in 4115 days

#7 posted 12-11-2011 08:36 PM

Welcome to Ljs Dewayne

A good first time stair build. It takes practice to get stairs to come out just right. The corrections you and endlessdesin noted are spot on. It’s very important to have equal rise on all the stairs . One mistake you didn’t make is that many first time stair builders have the top step even with the deck surface .

View ldl's profile


1135 posts in 2903 days

#8 posted 12-11-2011 08:43 PM

Jim you are right about it taking practice on steps. I don’t do enough to stay in practice on them for sure.

-- Dewayne in Bainbridge, Ga. - - No one can make you mad. Only you decide when you get mad - -

View yrob's profile


340 posts in 4191 days

#9 posted 12-11-2011 11:18 PM

As a matter of fact, threads of varying heights were used in french medieval castles to trip up the invaders. Some of the stone steps would be purposely made of a different height. If you were running up the steps and did not know which steps were differents, you would trip and fall which would be a problem for a soldier equipped in full chainmail..

-- Yves

View devann's profile


2250 posts in 3231 days

#10 posted 12-13-2011 03:15 AM

First, welcome to LJs Dewayne.

Looks like you did a pretty good job with your stairs. It is very important that the risers be spaced equally. The most common mistake I see rookies make when cutting their stringer is forgetting to cut off the thickness of the first step at the bottom of the stringer.

1. I agree with the three stringer method for stairs as wide as yours, but I only cut the the center stringer and then used it to layout the outside stringers cutting only the ends of the stringers. I use cleats (metal or wood ) to secure the treads to the outside stringers eliminating the notches needed and the end grain exposure at the risers. It gives you stronger, cleaner looking stairs that last longer too.

2. At the bottom of most stair stringers will be a cleat as wide as the stairs & notched to fit flush with the front of the stringer. This is to keep the stairs from sliding down and away from the beam at the top of the stairs.

I notice that you mentioned using 2×12 for replacement treads. I’ve learned that 2-2×6s work better for outside steps. The single 2×12 has a tendency to cup, curl and twist more the a pair of 2×6s.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View ldl's profile


1135 posts in 2903 days

#11 posted 01-02-2012 01:13 AM

Yves, That’s interesting about the medieval castle steps.

Darrel I never thought of building steps as you describe but I can see how it would work very well. Might try it next time I need steps. You would only have to lay out and cut one stringer that way.
I might try two 2×6’s instead of one 2×12 and see how it werks.

-- Dewayne in Bainbridge, Ga. - - No one can make you mad. Only you decide when you get mad - -

View laketrout36's profile


200 posts in 2565 days

#12 posted 09-14-2013 12:55 PM

Trial, error, correction, satisfaction. You made it, it looks good. I’d be proud.

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3405 days

#13 posted 09-14-2013 01:59 PM

It looks to me that these should work just fine. I’ve never built stairs. I’d sure have to study up on it myself. Nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16238 posts in 3157 days

#14 posted 09-14-2013 02:09 PM

I certainly appreciate what you went through laying out these stairs. Done it a few times, and it was like learned to walk each time. Tough to do well without repetition, I think, not at all like riding a bike.

Your work looks great, and the ‘equal risers’ comment is valid. Use these until you can build set #2, I’d say, with three stringers and corrected risers. Either way, though, what you’ve done looks great!!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View ldl's profile


1135 posts in 2903 days

#15 posted 09-16-2013 01:32 AM

Thanks for the comments. Been so long I had bout forgot about this thread.

-- Dewayne in Bainbridge, Ga. - - No one can make you mad. Only you decide when you get mad - -

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics