Deck Stair Width

by Mike
(Wauksha Wi)

I am building a deck that's 27'-6" wide with stairs that will be in the middle leading into the back yard. I am debating how wide to make the stairs? 5'-6' or even bigger? Any thoughts?



Editor's Comments

A deck that is 27'-6" wide is quite large. Although you can put whatever size of stairs you wish as long as they are at least 36" wide you might consider looking at this from a design and functional perspective.

Design

Having such a large deck with only on small set of stairs may detract from the appearance of the deck.

It might end up looking a bit like a pen where you subconsciously feel like you are penned in and there is only one way out. Through a rather small set of stairs.

This is just a subtle thing but it does matter as you will find out over time.

It does not apply to residential decks - if memory serves me correctly - but decks that fall under the commercial codes almost always have requirements that there be a number of stairs and sizes of the stairs can change.

This is so people can safely and quickly exit the deck if needed.

As I say this should not really apply for your backyard. But take the concept to heart from a functional perspective

Function

Having at least two sets of stairs 5'-6' wide could really make your deck feel cozy and open. It would create at least two usable foot traffic paths.

This in turn could create a zone on your deck where people generally don't walk right through. This can give you some privacy and you could use if for a table and chairs.

So while you can go ahead and just install that single stair case these tips should help you consider all your options.

Stair Building Basics

Please read this refresher article on the minimum
requirements for stairs.

Design Principles Explained

And here is a short video that shows how more stairs can really enhance a deck.

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