Plans to Build Box Steps for a Deck

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Box steps are fully covered stairs that lead you up to the deck surface. If you're building them at your home, you can customize them: you can place them around an entire patio or at just a portion, between railings. Box steps are not required to adhere to specific dimensions for private homes, but if you're installing them on a public deck check building codes for dimensions.


Suggested Measurements

Measure the ground to the deck surface. This is called the rise and is important for determining the number of steps appropriate for the height. The unit rise, which is the height of each stair, is typically 9 to 10 inches, so divide your rise measurement by 9 or 10. The deck surface is considered a step, so if you have a 20-inch rise, you will build one step and the deck will be your second step.

The final measurement is the depth of each stair, which is called the unit run. Building a lengthy unit run is vital to the safety of your friends and family. Install a step with a depth between 18 and 24 inches. If you have guests with disabilities, opt for a deeper step to provide extra footing.


Wood Selection

Select planks of wood with your specified measurements. Plywood is not a good choice for this project because it's thinner than lumber slats and cannot hold large amounts of weight. A second benefit of lumber over plywood is that planks have a naturally smoother surface that decreases the chances of transferring splinters.

Building the Steps

Laying the framework for the steps. Securing the frame is one of the most important steps because this structure will absorb the weight pressure. Adhere the base of the steps to the framework of the deck. This technique gives the steps a sound support feature. To enhance safety, dig out a portion of the ground to hold the bottom of the base. This will provide a lower center of gravity for the steps and supply a flat surface.


Use nails or screws to hold each piece to the framework. A piece of hardware about every couple of inches is sufficient. Hammer down each nail or screw head so it's flush with the wood's surface. Any portion of hardware that protrudes can damage the sole of a shoe or bare foot.

Additional Considerations

Include a railing to steps with more than four unit run sections. If the stairs rise greater than 12 feet, add a landing, which matches most building and fire codes. This element is helpful for older friends or family members because it provides support in their ascent and descent.

To prolong the life of the stairs, add a weather-resistant glaze. This formula will protect the wood from water and other weathering that breaks down wood components.



Sarah Tidwell

Sarah Tidwell is a freelance writer based in Florida. She contributes to several online publications and works as an online college instructor. Tidwell completed a master's degree in adult education and training/e-learning.