Building a deck takes time, and there are specific steps you need to follow to get the job done right. When building on a sloped site, take extra care to ensure each step is complete after moving on to the next. In this case, once you’ve determined to rise and run and install a landing pad, you’re ready to start building the stairs.
Stairs have to withstand plenty of use, so choose lumber that is straight and free of knots and other defects. Pay extra for Select or No. 1 lumber. Some lumber dealers sell 2x12s specifically approved for use as treads or stringers.
If you accidentally break a step off a stringer, drill pilot holes, apply exterior grade polyurethane glue, and drive screws or nails to reattach it.
The full width of the stringers must be firmly attached to the deck framing. Usually, the outside of the header joist is not deep enough, so you need to install a 2×6 or 2×8 brace directly below. This may require some improvising. Build out from the beam or from the posts so that the brace is as strong as the joist above it.
Once the landing is finished and the layout calculated, expect to spend four to five hours to cut and install stringers, a toe-kick, treads, risers, and rail posts for an eight-step stairway. Make sure you’re comfortable cutting lumber at angles and fastening pieces with nails or screws.