Stepping it up

28 Jul

As you saw in a recent post we are working on the third set of stairs for our deck. Now that the concrete has cured we were ready to move on to the building portion of the project. Due to the mitered corners we chose to do on the treads we chose to do some unconventional framing. Essentially we built a set of stairs to put the treads on instead of counting on the treads to span the stringers, this allows us to screw in the treads wherever it makes sense instead of hoping you hit something or compromising where you screw in. We made “sub-treads” out of 2×10 and risers out of 2×8 which then were ripped down on the table saw to the exact size we needed. When all was said and done we had a very solid base on which to lay our stair treads.


Obviously there was a lot of tricky calculating involved that made sure that when the treads came in they wouldn’t need to be cut to strange sizes or anything. The first step in cutting the treads was to cut all the miters. We used continuous pieces for each tread so the grain was relatively continuous around the corners.


I then pre-fastened the mitered ends to the main cross tread from behind with pocket-hole screws. This keeps the miters tight and made it much easier to install each tread as one unit instead of three separate pieces that all need to be lined up simultaneously. Once all three units were built I could go on to screwing them in. Of course this entailed a lot of measuring and pre-drilling to ensure all the screws look uniform. Thanks to our framing method, we were able to put the screws where they look good instead of where they’ll hit framing below.
Now all three main treads are installed, the miters look pretty good and hopefully they’ll stand the test of time and weather.



The treads that go inside will have to wait because we were losing the light. When they do go in we’ll have to cut them to fit so there is a continuous gap and round over and stain the ends for a finished look. We’ll also drill some drainage holes so water doesn’t collect on the sub-treads.


2 Responses to “Stepping it up”

  1. Marcella July 30, 2014 at 1:43 AM #

    Amazing! This is a work of art. I admire your perseverence!

    • Jerry July 30, 2014 at 7:39 AM #

      Thanks! It certainly does take some determination. Pictures of the completed project to follow… Eventually.

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