Wrap-around-stairs

by Paul
(Elmira, Ontario, Canada)

We are planning to build a deck off the back of our house. The height is about 21" (below the 24" that would require me to have a railing) and we want to have steps that wrap around all three sides leading down to the lawn.

My question is do you have any details showing how to construct these type of steps (wrap-around or cascading). All I have come across in books show how to with a set of stairs.

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Jul 26, 2009
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Easy Way to Build Cascading Stairs
by: Editor - Rich Bergman

Since your deck is so low you might consider a simpler way of building these wrap around stairs, or cascading stairs as they are often called.

You can build 6 or 7 inch platforms in the shape of the deck perimeter and layer each platform on top of the other mimicking the effect of steps.

Building true cascading stairs requires a lot of patience and thinking in order to get the multiple and compound angles right. I won't go in to trying to describe this for your situation.

For your situation, I really think the platform stair technique would be easier for you and look better.


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Trouble with stairs

by Gregg

Help Me Build Cascading Stairs

Help Me Build Cascading Stairs

I am building a deck in my backyard (DIY) and I would like to finish the end of the deck with cascading stairs similar to those shown in the picture that I included.

The problem is, that I can't figure out the structural support for this type of stair. I understand that at deck level there must be 4 posts as support but what happens when you move down to the second step and then on to the third?

Do you need supports for the lowermost step with the middle step floating or does the lowermost step float? Do you need to add 4 separate posts for the lower step?

Do these type of steps have a name so I can do some research on the web?

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Jul 04, 2009
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Simple Way to Build Cascading Stairs
by: Anonymous

Cascading stairs or wrap around stairs can be built a variety of ways. However this is a low level deck and I would be willing to bet that this has been built as stackable modules.

This would be the easiest way to build them as they appear to only have a total rise of 18-20". It just wouldn't seem quite right if they used stringers in this application.

Here is what I would recommend - just my opinion and if any other builder has a good idea feel free to chip in.

You need to dig a bit of a foundation below the bottom tread. Remove some soil, 8-10" should be more than enough. Lay some 3/4"- stone, pack it, then add some pea gravel or stone dust, pack it and soak it. Make sure its level. Lay some concrete patio stones.

Build the first tread to to cover the entire area right up to the edge of the deck. Build a second tread that sits on top of the bottom tread. Screw them to each other.

To add stability you should also secure the treads to the deck perimeter as well. This is a fairly simple way of building a low level set of cascading stairs.

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Building Wrap Around Stairs on a Deck


(Aspiring Stair Builder)

How do I calculate the length of a stringer for a wrap around set of stairs on a 90 degree corner when the ground concrete is at different heights?

The stairs are going to be sitting on a sloped walkway.

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Feb 17, 2010
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Bottom Riser Changes
by: Dennis

Each bottom rise will be different.

You have to consider the maximum rise or the average rise you are building and not go over that height, usually starting from the lowest point.

But with the other stringers cut them more shallow as they go up the slope or vise versa by starting with a lesser rise and going up to your maximum rise height as the slope drops.

I hope that helps.

Aug 16, 2009
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Stairs That Go Around a Corner
by: Editor - Rich Bergman

There is no easy way. You really have to calculate the exact height difference from the top of the deck to the point on the landing were the stringer touches.

This will allow you to see what the total runs are for both sets of stairs on each side and also how far out the corner stringer will be.

This can be finicky but must be done or you will have a very unlevel set of stairs. As mentioned it gets trickier if you are working on the stringer the corner stringer - the one that bisects the corner.

It is actually much longer. It covers a greater distance so the unit run changes quite a bit. You have to draw this out using some graph paper you will see it and begin to understand it.

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