Steps all Around Two Sides on Sloping Ground

by Dennis
(Glendale, Caifornia)

I am building a floating 14 by 20 cedar deck (max height is 18 inches) and wish to have stairs all around two adjacent sides. The other two sides are bordered by a fence (14 ft side) and a garage (20 foot side).

The ground in front of the open 20 foot side is fairly level. However, on the 14 foot side, the ground slopes down 6 or 7 inches (away from the garage).

I have tried to look at various internet videos concerning deck stair installation, but am unable to decide how to proceed. I am assuming there will be two steps on the highest side (a third will be the top of the deck) nearest the fence and eventually, only 1 (a second being the top of the deck) on the lowest side.

How or to what do I secure the stringers at ground level before proceeding with the risers and treads.

I am hoping to avoid pouring a long slab all around the entire deck but will do so if necessary.

Will precast cement pads work?

I am planning on cutting all the stringers the same, then start by attaching the first stringer at the highest point of the deck (next to the fence), then attach each successive stringer, working my way along the level 20 ft side, and then turning the corner and cutting off the bottom of each stringer as I get closer and closer to the garage - gradually eliminating the bottom step.

My construction skills are limited, but I am a careful worker.

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Nov 25, 2011
Steps all around
by: Hope Ranch Construction

My advice for you is to build platform steps and install posts/pier blocks as needed at supporting corners.

Aug 16, 2009
Building Stairs Around Sloped Deck Landing
by: Editor - Rich Bergman

Building stairs around a deck where the grade is sloped is a challenge for sure. And there are different opinions as to what is the best way to build them.

You mention that the one 14 foot side slopes about 6 or 7 inches over the 14 feet. That is not too bad. In fact 7 inches could easily account for one rise. So what I might envision is you have only one rise at the highest part of the grade and two or three rises at the far end.

The question then becomes what is the best way to make this transition from two or more steps to only one.

I think you should prepare a landing area either of poured concrete or of gravel and patio stones. It sounds like it would be level along the front 20 foot face and then sloping up to the house along the 14 foot side.

Once you have the level of the landing established you can determine the size of each stringer. You might find that on the sloped side your second step only goes 6 or 7 feet from the outside corner. After that it is essentially level with the landing and you can stop it nicely.

The top step carries on around the entire deck and keeps a nice clean line.

In this way the lower stair looks like it flows from the grade.

Bottom line here is that unless you excavate to create a continuously level landing you will be faced with working on a sloped area.

There must be some other experienced stair builders out here with some other helpful comments. Please share.

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