Cost-Effective Porch Stairs for the Budget Minded

You want your porch stairs to be durable and attractive, but you don't want to spend a fortune for them. Consider the alternatives described below for cost-effective, strong porch stairs that are elegant in appearance.

Use Scrap Wood for Porch Stairs

Find a supplier of scrap wood from barns and other demolished buildings that you can use as risers and treads for your stairs. Since you will likely stain or paint them, the wood's initial appearance will be covered up. Be sure to use new, kiln-dried wood for the stringers that support the porch stairs. They will need to be sturdy and free from knots, warps and cracks.

Recycle an Old Staircase

If you have renovated your house, replacing an interior staircase, salvage a few of the steps and the handrail to use for your outdoor porch steps. If the stair treads are not wide enough, just reuse the handrail.

Make Fewer Stairs in Your Staircase

Safe stairs can be up to 12 inches in height according to building codes. If you have a rise of under 36 inches for your stairs, you can build a safe stairway with just 3 steps.

Stone Steps

A serviceable set of porch stairs can be built with concrete cinder blocks and flat topping stones. The cinder blocks are the ideal height for risers, and you can dig the steps into the lawn turf to stabilize them. Fill the cinder blocks with mortar, and spread it across the tops to fasten the flat topping stones. Choose from limestone, bluestone, sandstone and granite wafers as your topping stones. If your porch stairs contrast with your home's brick finish, repaint your home's trim and front door to coordinate with the stairs.

Brick Steps

Build a porch stairway base with cinder blocks and then top them with recycled brick. Many home supply centers sell recycled brick at prices much less than the cost of new brick. Check all the bricks you buy for structural safety. Ensure they are also free of the white crust called brick mold.

Prefabricated Stairs

You can get prefab stairs made of metal with steel handrails for a reasonable price. All the work will be done for you, right up to the installation, without all the work of measuring, sawing and hammering together wood stairs. The stairs can be welded or bolted together according to your preference and the traffic you expect on the stairs. Delivery time for the stairs averages about 3 weeks. Other prefab stairs come in kits, such as spiral staircases. These are most suitable for high porches or decks with moderate traffic. The cost reduction comes in the framing, a single pole, to which all the spiral steps are attached. When ordering these, state how high your stairway rise is, and how many steps you would like. You and a friend can install these yourselves in an afternoon.

Safety Tips for Porch Stairs

Add a traction finish to your stairs by using pea gravel in the varnish or paint. Add rubber mats to the top step and bottom step of stone stairs to reduce slips and falls.