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Outside Stairs

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"OLD?" It's all in how you decide to "mature." Out of necessity, I removed the steps built by a Contractor and built new ones - the right way! In the process, I discovered that I LOVE building, and I'm excited to be starting more building projects - at 71 (and I'm a girl)! Here we go.... First pic is what the Contractor built for me.
  • outside stairs, stairs
Notice the waves? The brick supports? The long drop from the lower step? He must have forgotten to measure the height from the ground to the door and then forgot the standard 7" step height code as well as all steps must be the same height.... When he got to the bottom, he had to push dirt up under the risers, but couldn't push enough so also used bricks on their sides as supports for the risers.
  • outside stairs, stairs
I have never built steps before, so I took note as I removed the Contractor's steps. I found rotted wood up under the bottom of the door frame, so I removed all the wood and pushed a small pvc pipe up into that space, and I attached white flashing to stop any water from getting behind the new steps.
  • outside stairs, stairs
I discovered that the brackets used were incorrect and purchased the same bolts that came off with the old steps and the correct brackets to hold the risers. I drilled holes in the ledger board and the risers before attaching the brackets. NOTICE: I made the mistake of not leveling and placing concrete patio blocks under the bottom of the risers! Don't do this!
  • outside stairs, stairs
This picture shows the step boards all hanging off to the left. I was hoping to only have to cut one end, but a few boards were a bit warped on one end, so the next picture shows how I placed them to use the straightest portions of the boards.
  • outside stairs, stairs
I used 2 deck screws to attached each board (2 per step) to each riser. Then I cut the ends on each side leaving a little overhang on each end.
The dog 2nd from the right is a digger, and she teaches the others.
  • outside stairs, stairs
To stop the digging (tunneling along the foundation), I cut lattice strips and attached them to the risers between the steps.
NOTICE: I now have patio paaverss under the risers (so they aren't resting on dirt or mud and have solid support on the bottom). This was extremely difficult to do after they were at this stage of construction.
I later added a few more rows of patio pavers.
  • outside stairs, stairs
I attached latice t the risers on each side as well and put a cap on the top and bottom.
I used a RotoRazor Saw to cut the lattice. LOVE that tool!
  • outside stairs, stairs
As you can see, I placed the patio pavers to extend on each side so I would have a foundation for the posts. Inside each white post sleeves is a 4x4 solid wood post which is attached to the riser with a long bolt counter-sunk into the wood post. (I didn't dig post holes, because I plan to build a deck with stems and footings to later add a roof and walls.)
The railings haven't been cut to size yet. In this picture, you can see that the change in temperature has allowed the pvc pipe to come outon the ends, so I'll have to attach that to keep it in.
The post caps are solar lights.
  • outside stairs, stairs
This picture shows the hand railings almost completely attached. I used a heavy duty sealer as these steps get constant Southern exposure at 8,000 ft. altitude in sunny Southern Colorado.

Materials I used for this project:

  • 5 4-step risers   (Home Depot)
  • 1" x 8' Step boards   (Home Depot)
  • PVC Pipe   (Home Depot (They cut it for me also))
See all materials
  • William
    William Burbank, IL
    on Dec 12, 2016

    The stairs are amazing! You at 71 are AMAZING! Love the lattice idea. Great job!

    • Wowhavs
      Wowhavs Westcliffe, CO
      on Dec 12, 2016

      Thank you soooooo much!

  • Hillela G.
    Hillela G. Jamaica, NY
    on Dec 12, 2016

    I'm crazy about the lattice!!

    • Valawoosie
      Valawoosie Louisville, KY
      on Dec 13, 2016

      Me too. You did a fantastic job. Well done you!

  • Valerie
    Valerie South Africa
    on Dec 13, 2016

    What a fantastic job! You can teach us all a thing or two - it is never to late to learn or to feel the joy of accomplishment of a job well done!

  • Lisa
    Lisa Myrtle Beach, SC
    on Dec 13, 2016

    You are my hero!

  • Tamara K
    Tamara K Winthrop, MA
    on Dec 13, 2016

    I think you need to teach that contractor how to do his job since you did it 100% better than he did!

Inspired? Will you try this project? Let the author know!