Hinged Porch Stairs for Storage

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Old 06-14-17, 07:11 PM
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Hinged Porch Stairs for Storage

I have a 10x20 front porch that has a good amount of space underneath it and I'd like to have easy access for storage. The house and porch are cedar shingled and I'm not really interested in disturbing the siding to make a removable hatch.

The more awesome plan is to make the wood stairs assembly up to the porch hinge up, so that I can walk underneath them. Since the stairs are rotting away I need to rebuild them anyways. I can workout the hinging part but I'm wondering what would be the best way to rebuild the stairs.

I can easily build the standard stairs with pressure treated stringers and treads/risers, but I'd like to design something lighter and more rigid, but still wood on the outside. The stairs are 4 treads, about 4ft wide. If it were an indoor project I'd built something with high quality plywood, but that probably won't survive outside. I was thinking about a steel or aluminum stringer/frame with maybe a thinner treated wood for the treads. Any ideas?

Here is an image of the side of the porch with the stairs removed. There's actually a lot of space there after we removed the rubble and some dirt (I can walk around under the porch crouched).
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Old 06-15-17, 06:44 AM
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Just some thoughts.
1. It would be nice to have a concrete floor under there or at least patio pavers.
2. Not the best for safety, but your stairs could be the front of a roll out unit. Hinged stairs naturally block the opening to keep people from falling so some other safety feature would be needed. But the roll out unit would bring the stored items out where you can access them.
3. Whatever you build should address hand rails to satisfy codes and insurance requirements.

Bud
 
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Old 06-15-17, 06:58 AM
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Just a really bad idea in my opinion for several reasons.
The amount of time and money to have something like that built would not justify gaining that little bit of storage.
Under deck storage is subject to moisture and insect issues.
You also would have to figure out a way to hold those heavy steps up while crawling under there on your hands and knees trying to pull something out.
That deck already looks like it was way under built, rim joist at least should have been far wider to attach the stairs to.
 
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Old 06-15-17, 09:02 AM
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I'd rather have a trap door in the floor than a movable set of stairs.
 
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Old 06-19-17, 10:54 AM
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Yup, the deck needs to be beefed up anyways, including sistering up all of the joists with larger lumber. You know what would make that work easier? Access to underneath the porch.

"crawling under there on your hands and knees" I guess you didn't read my post - I can walk around under there crouched, and we'll remove some more dirt. You could roll bicycles under there. Where exactly do you store long ladders at a house with no garage? The stairs need to be rebuilt anyways, so time will be spent and I may as well add this feature.

A hatch in the floor would be terrible. How do you get long items in and out? How does a person get in and out? Right now the deck is continuous and water-sound (a spilled drink or a windy rain storm would not find it's way down), I'd hate to go cutting an unsightly square out of the floor.

I would not build roll-out stairs. As mentioned, the hinged stairs have the advantage of blocking access (for safety). Rolling stairs would just get in the way. I would plan to pour a little set of concrete stairs going down to the under-porch area, starting right at the edge of the concrete you can see in the photo. That'll get you deep enough that you just have a duck slightly under the header where the stairs attach.

Pretty typical post on these forums. I ask advice on how to do something and everyone tells me I shouldn't do it. I guess no one wants to take a stab at my actual question, which was about building lightweight rigid stairs...
 
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Old 06-19-17, 11:58 AM
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My 2˘ is that any stairs you could build which would work like this would not be lightweight.

That said, I always thought that staircase down to Grandpa's workshop was the coolest part of the whole Munsters TV show.
 
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Old 06-19-17, 12:03 PM
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I can't imagine a movable wood stairs being lightweight. Constructed out of steel might fit that bill.
 
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Old 06-19-17, 01:40 PM
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Google this, might have some ideas:
"hinged aluminum outdoor stair stringers pictures"
The results are not just aluminum.

Bud
 
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Old 06-19-17, 08:41 PM
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Unfortunately, my metal working tools are limited to angle grinder and mig welder.

As I mentioned if this were interior I'd probably use a high quality plywood to build everything. I wonder if I could build the frame & stringers from a ply with waterproof glue, then treat it with a copper solution. Treads & risers could be solid wood, well sealed and painted. Would it survive?

I really just don't like building stringers with treated wood.

Funny, my photo below showed up in that google search.
 
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Old 06-20-17, 03:41 AM
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Rather than movable stairs which would be heavy, why not look to make an access door adjacent to the stairs by removing some shingles and framing in an easily usable door? Then cover the door with the shingles you removed to blend it back in.
 
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Old 06-20-17, 10:59 PM
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Because then I wouldn't have the space to make stairs going down to under the porch.
 
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Old 06-21-17, 03:47 AM
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You don't have to use the same hole, in fact the door Z suggested could be most anywhere along the perimeter of the porch. For the most part it appears the porch has a wooden underpinning so it shouldn't be a big deal to cut out an entrance.
 
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