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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all you deck guys, I just had a couple of questions about stairs. I seem to have trouble getting my stairs on square to the top support post, and getting them to line up with pre-poured piers. Any suggestions? I also seem to have trouble getting the handrail to stay the same height up the stairs. Anyone else have problems with this the first few they did?
Also, sometimes the stairs seem to have a lot of play in them laterally (side to side). Is this normal, or do I need to put a landing in the middle, an extra stringer, bracing on the support posts?
Any help would be appreciated, as I don't have anyone in the area to turn to for advice. Hopefully more people start using this forum, so I can start picking up some of the finer points of deck building. Thanks again.

Orion
 

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Your rail pitch is changing because your not pulling from the same point on each tread when you cut and set your posts.

Your rail wobbles because your center post is twisting your stringer, no landing needed for correction, stringer bridging with a 2x4 strongback will solve.

Bob
 

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You are going to have to give us some measurement and details if you want detailed answers. I have no idea if you need a landing, if you are 30 feet up, you need one, if you are 5 feet up you don't, but I have no idea what exactly you are doing. How many stringers are you using? 2,3,4,5,10? How wide are the stairs? Play is not normal nor desired. Rock solid is what you should be shooting for because they won't get any sturdier over time.

The other stuff about not lining up just means you are measuring wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Mike, thanks for the reply. I've been doing rises of 6 to 8 ft., with 2 stringers, 32 to 36 in. wide. I usually do a centerpost, continuous from the pier up to the handrail for extra vertical support.
Glass, ty as well. That makes perfect sense about pulling off of the same point, don't know why I didn't think of it. The strongback you suggested, are you talking about a 2x4, perpendicular to the stringers, on the underside?
Sorry for all of the questions, I appreciate all your answers.
 

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A strongback sister the stringer flush to the bottom and runs continous the length of the stringer.

Also, you should never go less than 36 inces wide, (fire escape) and always use three stirngers if you want a good strong step.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #6
OK, I get it. But will that make the handrail more stable, as opposed to the stairs themselves? Like if you give the handrail a shake?
On a related note, do people use piers at the bottom of their stairs? I've seen piers, or a concrete slab that the bottom rests on, but I've also seen where people put a little 1 ft section going straight into the ground. Anyone else ever seen this or know why someone would do it, short of just being lazy and not wanting to dig?
 

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There's a bazillion ways to do all this stuff, but it all centers around making it rock solid. The bottom of stairs is always a weak point in a design if the bottom of the stairs don't tie back into the structure of the deck somehow. Unless you do something you basically have a bottom rail post with a horrible weakness built into it.

I wouldn't be as concerned with attaching the bottom of the stringer to piers as much as I would be with putting the bottom rail posts in piers. I have seen a sort of modified slab/pier where you dig out say a 3 foot wide place for a slab for the bottom of the stair stringers to rest/attach to and then dig out 2 piers on each side for the bottom rail post to sit in. You can imagine how rock solid that is. As advised 3 stringers is always going to be sturdier than 2.
 

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If you have post at the center of the stringer, bridge the stringers at the post, but I 'd notch the bridge not the strongback.

That will put any wobble to rest.

And yes, I foot my stringer landing.

It's wise to bolt all your posts also.

One more thing, be sure to use galv. bolts, the new changes in treated lumber will rust a reg bolt right out of your hand.

Bob
 
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