Well if it isn’t clear by now, I seem to love using pre-made brackets to assemble things! First we built our straight deck bench, then the corner bench using the same brackets, and today I’ll be talking about how to build a single step with brackets!
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Now I should warn you, the step brackets (available at most larger hardware stores) don’t really come with instructions, so if you’re like me, you attempt to build them a couple of times before you get it right. Good thing for you, I have the steps on how to build them here, so (hopefully) you won’t have to retrace your steps! (haha what a good pun).
Other Materials Required
- Lumber (we used pressure treated 2x6s)
- Drill (this is the drill we use)
- Measuring Tape
- Level (1′ minimum, or use a 4′ level if doing a large span)
The first thing to do is decide where your step will go. We already knew that we wanted a longer step at the end of the deck, and a smaller step in our little deck nubbin (you can read about our deck project planning here, and check out the diagram too).
Next, you’ll want to purchase enough brackets to cover the area and space them evenly where they should go (as recommended on the bracket sticker). For a 4-5′ long step, I believe you need 4 brackets. The long sticky-outy is the part that goes into the deck, and the diagonal section should be facing the corner (see photo above).
Now, at this point you may be tempted to screw the brackets into the deck right away. DON’T DO IT YET! If you do, you’ll realize that you have to screw from the bottom to put the piece of wood onto the step (which is kind of impossible when the ground is in the way).
Secure the Kick-Step
Line your 2×6 board (cut to length) evenly along the front (straight) edge. Our brackets came with the required hardware, so we simply had to drill some screws and washers into the board. This is the section that goes up vertically when the step is in position (also called the risers).
Once all your brackets are attached to the piece of wood, you can move on to the next step.
No, don’t screw the brackets into the deck yet! You can place the brackets upright at this point, then eyeball where your next two boards will go. Again, we used some 2x6s (cut to length).
Attach the Treads
The tread is the part that your feet walk on (or “tread”) – get it? To secure this section, place your 2×6 boards together on a flat surface (and you should have determined the space in between the boards at the step just before this one).
The photo above shows the angle when you’re looking “inside” the step.
By now, you should have a good looking step, that’s just floating around, waiting to be attached.
Guess what? You can now attach the step to the deck! There are two holes in the brackets to drill into the deck, but we only had a board behind the top hole to secure into. It might matter more when you have a lot of steps to install (and there are brackets that hold more than one step), but I’m not too worried that the step will suddenly fall off of the deck or something.
DIY/PRO Tip: Notice how we installed our step directly on the grass? Well, it wasn’t that good of an idea in retrospect (actually, once the grass and weeds started to grow through the cracks, I realized the mistake). So make, sure to clear out the area BEFORE you install the step. But hey, my Papa and I took it down and put it back up so many times (hence the above warnings NOT to install it prematurely) that it will be a breeze to remove it again. But I think that will be a project for next summer (I’m thinking of incorporating some concrete pavers all around the deck too…).
This was probably the quickest and easiest summer project we did so far, and even though it’s not that “high impact” design-wise, it really does add a bit more safety to our deck experience! Have you ever installed a step using the pre-made brackets before? For those thinking of adding one, I hope my tips help you avoid some mistakes; and for those that have, did I miss anything?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Oh and don’t worry, the step and deck will get sanded and stained soon enough…