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How to Build Porch Steps

In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva removes an old set of porch stairs and builds a new one. The new stairs are safe, solid, and up to code. One of the key the changes included cutting the stringer on an angle to streamline the steps.

How to Build Porch Steps

  1. Pry off the treads from the upper step to gain access to the tops of the stringers.
  2. Use a reciprocating saw to cut through the top end of the stringers, freeing the staircase from the porch.
  3. Remove and discard the old staircase and any leftover debris.
  4. Use a circular saw and jigsaw to cut six new stair stringers from a pressure-treated 2x12. Cut four steps into each stringer.
  5. Screw a pressure-treated 2x6 to the existing porch frame to provide extra support for mounting the staircase.
  6. Space the six stringers 16 inches on center, then fasten a 2x6 across the tops of the stringers. Attach the 2x6 with 3-inch decking screws.
  7. Screw a 2x6 across the bottom ends of the stringers, then attach a 2x6 toekick to the previously installed 2x6.
  8. Set the stringer assembly against the porch and secure it with several 8-inch structural screws.
  9. Use a hammer-drill to bore screw-pilot holes through the bottom 2x6 and into the concrete walk.
  10. Fasten the bottom of the staircase to the walkway with 3-inch masonry screws.
  11. Cut four risers from PVC trim boards.
  12. Attach each PVC riser to the stringers using specially designed screws. Conceal each counterbored screwhead with a PVC plug.
  13. Cut and attach PVC trim boards to outer surfaces of the stringers on the left and right end of the staircase.
  14. Cut stair treads from composite decking; screw the treads to the stringers.
  15. Install a welded-steel handrail, making sure it’s between 34 and 38 inches above the nose of the stair tread.
  16. Assemble a composite railing system, which includes a handrail and balusters, to fit alongside the welded-steel handrail.