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Michael Cartwright
steep stairs to lake

Are there any resources to help design a stairway down a very steep, heavily wooded hill, to a lake? Drop off is too severe for a stair that is perpendicular to the hill. Must run parallel to hillside, landing half way down, then switch back, again parallel to hillside. Soil is very sandy. Need advise on placement of posts and general design options.

Re: steep stairs to lake

I have a similar problem. We only have three steps on our stairs into the lake, but need to build a sturdy handrail to let older people get safely in and out of the lake over our 3' bulkhead.

Re: steep stairs to lake

It'll be a little like building a sloping wooden sidewalk. You're talking about switchbacks instead of steps now. The walkway will just slope downhill. You're going to have to make it level from inside to outside and slope down. It's going to be a lot of work and $$ by the time you finish. Anytime you are going down/up hill, you have to use posts to build a level platform.

You'll have to dig some holes on the outside of the walkway. Put 4x4s about 10ft apart and pull a line across the top of the post. The top of the post on the outside, needs to be level across the walk, to the top of the one on the inside to keep your walkway level to walk on. When you get this far, you'll need to do the same thing for some posts in between the ones at 10ft. I'd put one in the middle, between the outside posts. Now you can run a band between the posts to carry the slats that will run side to side.

You can nail, screw, lag bolt, or carriage bolt these band boards (2x6 should do it). Once you get a downward sloping section built, just do basically the same thing to make a landing and then run another 10ft section back in the opposite direction, still sloping it downhill.

This may be a little vague but hopefully, you'll get the idea.

Good Luck.

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