Deck stairs question about height and rises

by Tom
(Chicopee, Ma.)

My front porch is 6x11 and 29 inches from floor to ground. The framing is complete and the stringers were just finished. They are 7 9/16 rise with a 12 3/4 tread.

Having had knee surgery I told the contractor I wanted low wide stairs. After seeing the stringer I told him they looked too high and maybe another step should be added.{There were 5 stairs on the old porch}.

He said the size is correct and since the porch skirting is done the stairs cannot be changed. He also said he is raising the grade so the porch total rise is 22 3/4 and the stairs have to be this size. What are my options please?

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Nov 06, 2010
Unit rises seem fine
by: Editor - Rich Bergman

I am going to highly recommend that you visit our new calculators page at

Deck Building Calculator Tools

Or go directly to the deck stairs calculator tool we have developed which is extremely helpful in a situation like this.

Stairs Calculator Tool

You will love these and be able to play with all kinds of stair styles and rise and run scenarios and print them out nicely on paper as well.

From what you are telling me, the total rise is 29 inches and has four rises of about 7.5" each so only three treads, the fourth being the top of the porch surface.

If so that is within building code of 7-3/4" for maximum rise and the run is quite long, with each tread at 12-3/4". That is a very shallow and gentle set of stairs. I don't think you could go much more than that.

If you added one more tread your unit rise drops to around 5-6" which is very subtle - too subtle from my perspective but you could do that.

If he now raises the grade to lower the height differential to only 22-3/4" the rise will be around 7.5" again with only two treads, last rise taking you to top of your deck. Or with 4 rises, three treads and each unit rise again around 5-6". Seems fine to me.

It's just your preference really but a 7.5" rise is very comfortable.

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