Building deck stairs on uneven ground


Old 07-25-07, 08:59 AM
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Building deck stairs on uneven ground

I have built a few decks to date but never dealt with this problem yet. I built a deck on the front of a house (which is approx. 38" above ground) I am now stuck on the stairs. The stairs land on a cement turn-around which is part of the driveway, the concrete does slope towards a drain from one side of the stairs to the other there is a 4-5" difference in height. My question is how do I go about leveling these stairs. Do I cut the bottom of the risers making the first step lower on one side, or build a type of platform or should I try make some type of concrete pad/base below the first step. I have searched and have not found any other post with this same problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-25-07, 09:19 AM
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What I have done in situations like that where the slope is small- only an inch or two difference- (others may have a better solution) is act like the lowest spot on the concrete is your elevation drop. So, say the elevation drop at the lowest point is 42". That would be six 7" steps, counting the deck level as a step. So basically, if the landing is not level, it will mean that the rise of the initial step will be no greater than 7", and that rise will get smaller toward one end as the grade rises. But 4 or 5" is a lot of slope, and would mean that initial step would be 2 or 3" on one end and 7" on the other. I'm not sure any inspector would go for that. Not only that, but if it would be icy, you'd have a recipe for disaster.

Ideally, the landing should be level so that the first step is consistant. So that's an option you could think about... it would probably mean tearing out an area of concrete, pouring a level pad that the stair jacks would land on, and then connecting that pad to the existing concrete with a new slope. If the slope is too great, turn the landing into an additional poured step so that you don't have a steep slope.
Old 05-15-09, 09:57 PM
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Question Deck Stair Question

Has anyone ever used an adjustable stair bracket system to build deck stairs? What do you recommend? Thanks!
Tony Davis
Old 05-16-09, 05:02 AM
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Welcome to the forums! Not too sure what type bracket you are referring to. If you could give us a reference, we may can analyze it for you. As far as what I recommend? Conventional construction methods. Stringers, risers and treads, making the ground level at the bottom. Don't try to make one stringer longer than the other to accommodate the ground. It will make for an uneven step.
Old 05-16-09, 01:50 PM
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Check with your local building department. You are responsible and liable, as it is a front entrance, open to the public.

My older UBC 3306.c, Exc. 2: Where the bottom or top riser adjoins a public way, walk or driveway having an established grade and serving as a landing, the bottom or top riser may be reduced along the slope to less than 4" in height with the variation in height of the bottom or top riser not to exceed 3' in every 3 feet of stairway width. Be safe, G
Old 05-17-09, 10:53 AM
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Adjustable stair brackets

Originally Posted by tonydavis View Post
Has anyone ever used an adjustable stair bracket system to build deck stairs? What do you recommend? Thanks!
Tony Davis
I've built decks for years and I use an engineered stair bracket from EZ Stairs. The system works well for me because it's easy to install. The brackets adjust to the exact rise and run you need. See How To Build Stairs | interior stairs, deck stairs, concrete stairs- Make it Easy With EZ Stairs.
Old 05-26-10, 10:31 AM
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Need advice on deck stairs

I have a similar issue to the OP in that I'm building deck stairs on uneven ground (except it's in my backyard and not on concrete).

I am not a carpenter, just an average diyer.

I am building a deck and need to put in some stairs. One end of the deck is 18" off the ground and the other end of the deck is 24" off the ground. I plan on running my stairs across this span.

I am thinking of buying the pre-cut risers from Home Depot and then cutting the bottom of the risers to account for the uneveness in the ground. Will this work? I do not want to cut my own stringers.

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