Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Deck Building!!! part 4!!

This will be a quick overview on stair building. Choose the location that suits your best use. Use 2"x12"s for the stringers, measure the distance from the deck's surface to ground level, and don't forget to allow space if you're going to use a concrete pad or pavers, for example. Now, divide that total dimension by 7 inches. Play with that number, if need be, keeping all steps the same rise distance; don't exceed 7.25" total rise. The rise is the distance from one step to the next. The tread is the step itself. This should be approx 11 inches, so a 2"x12" will serve perfectly to use for your treads. Use a framing square to mark each vertical rise and each horizontal tread.

As you draw these out onto your stringer, you will see each step, and exactly where it will be positioned. Follow your pattern down from top to bottom, to the last step. Use the fastening devise of your choice to place under each tread as support. Also, screw the treads from the outside of the stringers into each tread center. You should have three to four screws in each tread on each side.

Well, I hope this helps you. Don't get frustrated. Even so-called seasoned carpenters have difficulty with stairs, so learn as you go. Contact me, if you need to, or hire me to do any part or all of your deck. Remember, steps are something that people have a built-in feel for, so they will feel comfortable and easy to go up and down when they're right. When they're not , they can be clumsy and/or dangerous. This is not something you want, ever. Also, REMEMBER to make a gate if you have small children, one that can be secured when closed. The gate should be light, but strong and easy to operate.

Well, hopefully, you have a deck now, so stain it or preserve it. I don't suggest painting it; however, if you must, don't paint the undersides of the decking, as this will cause wood rot in a short period of time. The reason is that water passes through the wood too slowly because the paint is not porous enough, trapping water inside the deck boards, and never completely drying out. Avoid painting if you can. In the next segment, I will talk about and illustrate what not to do when building your deck. I will tell of some real-life experiences to illustrate these points.

Well, enjoy your new deck, and maintain it yearly, and you should be able to enjoy it for years to come.

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