In Bobby Parks’ article (“Designing Porch Roofs,” May/June 2014), there is a set of stairs with a bottom riser that is roughly one-third the height of the other risers on the stairs. Stair stringers are something that anyone of any skill level in the trade should be able to calculate with their eyes closed.
Grover Beach, Calif.
According to the author, the stairs were originally built to code—which requires a difference of no more than 3/8 inch between the tallest and lowest risers in a set of stairs—and attached to a 3-foot by 4-foot concrete landing pad. Later, the homeowners hired a different contractor to build a concrete patio, and apparently this contractor poured the new patio over the existing pad, rather than breaking it out so that the new patio would be at the same elevation as the old pad. This not only buried the bottom step (and the bases of the columns supporting the porch) in new concrete, but resulted in the short riser shown in the photo. —The Editor