Perfect Rise/Tread

jenniferuseyJanuary 16, 2011

I know there is residential and commercial code for rise and run.. But, in your deck building experience what is the BEST Rise and Run for a residential deck???

I'm interested to hear what customers have requested or if a deeper tread was appreciated or awkward....

My carpenter knows and follows the code but says he can alter the steps a little ifffff I have an opinion...

i aint got one... Do you???

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Usually limited to the material and the look you are after more than anything. 2 (5 1/2") boards yield a 10-10 1/4" run with a 3/4"-1" bullnose any other configuration requires non unifomity of the step tread. You could use 2 (5 1/2") deck board and wrap the ends and front to achieve the bullnose there by giving 12 1/4-12 1/2" tread depending on the thickness of the wrap.
4 (2x4) tread w/ a 1" bullnose will give a 13" tread

Rise is pretty much determined by the height off the ground and usually determined by a # between 6"-8 1/4"
steve scholl
You can achieve all the above tread configurations by using 2x12 stringers. Composite manufacturers usually reccommend 10 1/2" between the stringers, meaning you will need 5 stringers for a 4' wide set of steps.
Steve Scholl

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 8:12PM
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Ideally, 7" rise and 11" tread.

All the steps must come out equal, so the actual rise and tread are based on the elevation drop and distance between landings. With decks, the tread is almost always 2 deck boards wide.

A step can have a rise as little as 4 1/4" This happens when you have 8 1/2" step up, and the inspector says it doesn't meet code.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 10:44PM
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The previous poster's guide for rise/run is accurate as this will be comfortable for most adults and consistent with other steps so as to prevent an unexpected trip hazard.

However for outdoors there may be other considerations. When we designed and built an egress onto our patio we wanted to be certain that when transporting food and containers, footing was sure. Additionally we had an elderly relative whose ability to walk steps was tenuous at best. So, we designed landing-style steps but with the normal 7" rise. If you can afford the additional space these provide significant safety.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 12:08PM
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You don't mention how many steps you might have or if you had steps previously.

We usually try to adhere to the 7" +/- rise, 11" tread.

However, we had a client that required their existing run of about 40 steps replaced. This was from the street level, down to the entrance to their house. The layout was poor and landed on the deck, right at the doorway, at a odd angle. The existing rise was about 5", with a 11" run. Well we changed the layout a little and built the new steps with a 7" rise and a 11" tread. They looked and felt great, to me. The wife had a fit, said that she was going to kill herself on these steps. She was used to that other pattern for 15 years. Now I'm not that stupid that I did not tell them there would be a change. I did. The new steps also matched what they had inside the house. Longer story short, we had to replace the steps to the original 5" rise. We split the labor and they paid for the excess materials. It was a unpleasant ending to a otherwise great business experience with this customer. We had done a lot of work for them, and there was more to do, but that kind of soured me on our relationship.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 12:44AM
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I've found that if you want a deeper tread then you also need to reduce the rise. I've done this on several occasions, mostly for older folks that don't like steep steps.

As a general rule tho, I stick close to a 7" rise with 2 - 5 1/2" boards for treads or 11".

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 7:26AM
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"The wife had a fit, said that she was going to kill herself on these steps... Longer story short, we had to replace the steps to the original 5" rise. We split the labor and they paid for the excess materials"

Sorry to hear times are so tough you have to actually take that sort of B.S.

I keep the most professional demeanor you will find in a construction guy, so I would have politely told her to call the inspector, and if anything is out of code, we will fix it. Aside from that we will build everything to the spec in the contract.

If I was billing the labor at $80 or $100 per hour, OK maybe we'll split the cost. But you won't see my butt over there to make sure every detail is done perfectly!

A sweet deal can make up for some of that sour taste she left you :)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 10:26PM
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Aidan, this was actually back during the good times(12yrs?). I probably make less per hour now, then I did back then.

This doesn't pertain to the steps, but to that client.

I knew the husband from coaching baseball with him. He asked me if I could build a deck like his father had. He described the deck and I realized that I had built that deck. His dad was a GM for Louisianna Pacific Corp and I bought wholesale from them, at the time. He supplied the material and we built him about a 2000 sq. ft. deck up in the hills above Saratoga. His son was a HS kid, at the time.

For the son, we built about 2000 sq.ft. of deck, a new carport, resided the house, with new french doors, and the stairs. I guess that I got my money's worth out of that family, despite the stairs.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 2:03AM
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