Building deck stairs is quite a simple job. Replacing them is even simpler because you have a template to work from. If the stairs are hazardous you should remove them while you build the replacements. Tie some warning tape across the gap in the rail so people don’t step off the deck and fall.
Step 1 – Remove the Stairs
The stairs will be attached to the deck by just a couple of bolts through the rim joists. By using the old stairs as a template you will end up with a set of stairs that knows where everything is. Undo the bolts and gently remove the deck stairs. You could possibly do this by your self but someone helping would make it much easier.
Step 2 – Dismantle the Stairs
Carefully take the stairs to pieces. You will see that the steps and risers are all the same size as are the two stringers.
Step 3 – Cut out two Stringers
The stringers are the sides of the stairs that hold the steps in place. Quite often this is achieved by having the top edge of the stringer cut down so that it forms a set of triangles along the length of the stringer. Each triangle will support one step and one riser. Cut the stringers to the same size and pattern as the old ones you are replacing.
Step 4- Cut out the Steps
The deck steps are easy to cut out since they are all the same size and strictly rectangular.
Step 5 – Cut out the Risers
The risers are the vertical pieces behind the step. They add strength to the deck stair construction but don’t really serve any other purpose except to prevent anything that falls on the stairs from disappearing behind them.
Step 6 – Fit the first Step
Using the dismantled steps as guides, mark the positions of the stringers against the steps. By using these positions you will be able to build the stairs again knowing that when you come to connect them to the deck they will fit perfectly. Use a carpenters square to make sure you build the steps with the correct 90º angles.
Step 7 – Fit the Rest of the Steps
Fit the rest of the steps so that they are all perfectly square and so that their edges are lined up properly.
Step 8 – Fit the Risers
Fit the risers so that they are nailed to the stringers and to the steps. You will now have a set of deck steps ready to be fitted.
Step 9 – Fit the Deck Stairs
The new stairs should fit exactly where the old ones were. You will be able to drill the stringers to take the bolts that will go through the rim joists and hold the steps in place.
Make sure that the stringers are based firmly on the ground. If the stringers are not properly bedded they will be distorted as people walk on them. Place bricks or some sort of block under the foot of each stringer and bed it into garden sand until it is in the right position to support the stringers.