|Volume 18 Issue 1
Welcome to Dave's Shop Talk's Home Improvement Newsletter of questions from our members on their construction projects, a Tip of the Month and a home remodeling article, both from our website at https://daveosborne.com.
I combined some tips on heights and distances for installing items in your house:
Dear Reader, I'm noticing that since we have so many articles on our site, now, I'm getting fewer questions from our subscribers. I encourage you to send me an email if you would like me to discuss a subject, relating to new construction or renovation, in this Newsletter. Just reply to this email.
From the beginning of this service to our Newsletter readers and paid clients, most of the questions and concerns are related to building stairs. As most of you know, Dan, my brother and webmaster, has created a basic Stair Calculator to help in determining the number and size of rises and runs. Most problems come from the total run available for your stairs is simply not enough space. This requires some manual manipulating to decrease the individual run and tread depth. I usually solve the problem by giving them a minimum run, which causes a steeper set of stairs, but at least falls within the envelope of the Building Code. Please ask me if you need help in this situation.
Another situation which our Stair Calculator does not anticipate, is when the top step is desired to be flush with the top floor, for whatever reason. Sometimes, I have to agree, that this is required under certain circumstances. Therefore, Dan and I have relented. Dan is in the process now, of dealing with the option of having your stairs flush with the top floor and revamping the drawings to show this option, automatically. I used to do this manually, including changing the drawings to show the top step flush. I'm anxious to see what Dan comes up with.
Speaking of stairs, here's our feature article:
(taken from our website: DaveOsborne.com)
During the last few years answering questions on this website, I've retained a few good examples of different types of deck stairs.
Here is an example of the basic deck stairs off a raised backyard wood deck. Notice that the one piece 4x4 posts holding the deck stairs railing also carry the weight of the stair stringers. When attaching stair stringers to a backyard wood deck with only a 2x6 box joist, there usually is nothing to attach the stair stringers to. Here the stair stringer is bolted to the posts and a ledger board is installed under the stair stringer for those with a longer run. Either pressure treated wood or concrete pads are shown under the posts and bottom stair of the stair stringer, rather than having the stair stringers and posts just sitting on the ground.
In this drawing, tapered deck stairs are shown with the stair treads having equal depths as they turn the corner. This example shows a run of deck stairs between two levels of a backyard wood deck.
Notice in this drawing that the deck stair treads are extended in depth so that the stair nosings are all the same lengths.
In this drawing is a raised backyard wood deck of about 5' with deck stairs returning back to the deck. A set of deck stairs such as this is a bit more complicated than the simple deck stairs in the first drawing. This example is from a custom plan that I drew up for Tom, a member of our site. Refer to my article Deck Stairs with Returns. for the plans for these deck stairs.
Other ideas for deck stairs may be to climb up to a pool or hot tub.
Rather than climbing up to a pool, here is a sketch of a pool or hot tub enclosed by a deck, but not sitting on it. The pool or tub is sitting on a level bed of compacted sand.
Here is a drawing I did for a couple who had to contend with the back garden sloping 90 degrees to the direction of the deck stairs. Notice how we divide up the vertical height difference as well as the width of the deck stairs for the supports, so that each support has a different height. Since the height difference is 4" we can still stay in the safe envelope of riser height by starting with a height on the left of about 4" and ending with a height on the right of 8".
I hope some of these drawings will help you in deciding how to build your deck stairs and your backyard wood decks.
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Hi, I'm Dave Osborne. With over 50 years experience as a journeyman carpenter, foreman and contractor in heavy construction I enjoyed working with apprentices and sharing the tricks of the trade that others shared with me. Now I get emails from Members all over the world and we include many of my answers in our Free Monthly Newsletters. Some of my answers include drawings and instructions specific to a project, but may also answer your questions. I use correct construction terminology, so you can confidently inform your building supply dealers or contractors exactly what you need.
Membership gives you full access to our hundreds of how-to articles, woodworking plans, converters, calculators and tables. Our Stair Calculator is one of the most popular on the internet. We have projects you can build for (and with) your kids, furniture for your wife, and sheds and gazebos. If you run into a problem or need advice your Membership includes unlimited email questions to me through our Ask Dave quick response button.