Redoing Our Deck (Part 6)

The stairway has been a challenge for us. It took two days for my wife and I to debate, calculate, and strategize. According to the Virginia Residential Code, a stair with a height of 30 inches or higher required guards and with four or more risers required a handrail. Our stair is 27 inches; therefore, we don’t need guards. If we can make our stair with 3 risers, we don’t need a handrail either. Because the maximum height of a riser is 8.25 inches and we our riser 8 inches, we still have 3 inches extra.

Our choices were between a four-step stringer or two boxes stacked on top of each other. We decided on the boxes. Each box will be 8 inches tall. We just need two boxes plus the riser from the deck. For the remaining 3 inches, we’re going to fill up with dirt and flattening out our yard. We wanted to make the boxes a bit bigger and wider so we can also use them as a bench to chill out or for me to have a drink or two.

With my wife’s engineering mind, she did all the calculations for the stair. I just had to follow her direction. She is a tough boss with uncompromising inspection and attention to details, but I wouldn’t get too far without her. I had started to create the framing for the bottom box she had drawn out. Tomorrow I will finish up the top box. Once that’s done, I’ll place both boxes on concrete deck blocks and attach them to the deck. It is a simple concept, but takes a lot of materials. I hope we can wrap up this project by the end of this week. I really miss reading. I can’t wait to pick up Vietnamese books I have reserved at our public libraries.