Question: I need to build some steps from my deck to the back yard. What is the rule of thumb for the rise and run of the treads?
Answer: Usually the average stair rise is 7” to 7 ½” and you shouldn’t go much higher than 7 ¾”. Usually the stair run is 9 1/2” to 11½” and you shouldn’t go under 9 ¼”. This creates a comfortable combination for most people to navigate the stairs. Usually if there are more than two treads a hand rail is required. Most steps are made at least 36” wide but if you have room it is always better to have wider steps. One of the most important rules is to keep all the treads the same size and all the risers the same size. If you find yourself tripping on a set of steps it is usually because the rise is not the same on all the steps. Many of the lumber yards have precut stringers that you can buy. If you use these make sure that where you attach them to your deck make the rise the same as the rise on the ones you are buying. Also make sure the rise for the first step matches the rise of the ones you buy. You can make this match by adjusting the ground for the landing area.