There are a variety of materials you can use when building outdoor steps, not to mention a variety of ways in which you might choose to construct them. In this article we’ll take you through the basics of building outdoor steps suitable for an area of decking, brick outdoor steps adjoining a brick wall and simple log steps for the garden.
Building steps for decking, you are recommended to buy pre-formed components from either your local DIY store or an online DIY merchant. You can order custom made stringers, the timber forming the sides of the steps, suitable for any number of treads, the board you actually step on. However, steps for a decking area usually only require two to five steps and so the strings are ready produced and inexpensive.
As well as the stringers you need tread boards cut to the lengths you require. You can also fit risers, the boards that block the gaps between the treads; will also need to be custom cut to your measurements. Keeping everything level, to fit the steps to the decking screw two pieces of joist cut-off to the strings at the width required.
Then screw the top of the strings to the decking and fix the bottom to a solid foundation. Thereafter, all you need to do is screw the treads and risers into position and the outdoor steps are ready to use. Finally add posts and handrails, and then weatherproof the steps with a suitable preparation.
This design of steps is suitable for using against a brick wall, but should you choose to use it on a building be very careful not to damage or interfere with the buildings damp proof course. On a good foundation, lay bricks to outline the width of the first step and the length of the steps, then add a layer of bricks where the step risers will be.
Build up the layers of bricks so as to create risers at the correct height for each step. To anchor the steps to the wall, for every third brick in the risers insert it into the wall where it adjoins it. To do this, drill and then chop out the required portion of the wall brick with a cold chisel. Fill in the space between the risers with hardcore and then you can either create treads with concrete, bricks or by using a suitable tile.
Garden Log Steps
The easiest of all outdoor steps to build is a simple log one in the garden, this design is based on using a log about three inches in diameter and requiring two lengths of log, one on top of the other. Dig out the earth either side of where the step will be and level it approximately, compacting the earth down if necessary.
Cut the logs to the required length and treat the cut ends with a suitable preservative. Using another piece of log cut two lengths about 18 inches long, sharpen one end of each piece and again treat newly exposed surfaces with a preservative.
These two sharpened pieces need fixing in the earth as posts, to then fix the logs that will be the step riser to. You might be able to drive them in with a sledge hammer, or you can dig a hole and fix them in place with a concrete mix. With the posts firmly in place and level fix the riser logs to them with galvanized nails or coach screws. Finally add and compact down hardcore behind the riser to form the outdoor step tread.