Deck Stairs set into frame of deck

by Mike
(Ottawa, ON)

We are building a deck at the cottage and would like to set the stairs back from the front edge of the deck by 4 feet. This will give us more run for the stairs and provide what we feel is a good aesthetic improvement to the deck.

Question is - how to construct the inset deck stairs. There is a 2X10 support beam that runs under the length of the deck. The beam sits on 6X6 posts.

The joists that sit on the beam are cantilevered out 2 feet (2 X 8 joists - 16" on center - 8 foot span from the house)

I will have to cut the support beam to inset the stairs - how do I support the stairs after the support beam has been cut out. The stairs will be 6 feet wide (3 stringers).

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Jun 29, 2011
Here are some building considerations to think of
by: Editor-Rich Bergman

Building deck stairs that are set into the deck frame can be a great option for many aesthetic and functional reasons. Seems you have determined it is the way to go.

However it is easier to do this in the planning stage before you build rather than after the fact as you can now appreciate. Nevertheless it is still possible but you now have to take into consideration a number of critical structural issues to do this right.

Given I do not have drawings or any details in front of me I am going to speak in terms of general concepts and you will absolutely have to rely on local expertise to make sure you execute your plan properly and safely.

Sounds like your supporting beam is going to get in the way as you want to have your deck stairs stairs start from further back into the deck, beyond where the beam is. So this means you would have to cut the beam into two sections and likely install two more supporting posts over new foundations or piers to support the individual loads to be imposed on the now two separate beams.

In addition there are some framing techniques you will have to use to ensure the cut out is rigid. Double headers and double length joists with good strong hanger hardware and fasteners will be a must.

Additionally you may find the structure has more wobble to it once you break that beam into two sections. As a result it may be necessary to diagonally brace the under side of the deck frame with long 2x4s inset into the frame so they are all flush with the underside of the joists.

You may also have to had triangular bracing from the supporting posts to underside of the joists.

All of this is to say, yes, it can be done. But you have some work ahead you and it must be done correctly to keep everything safe.

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