Porch Stair Makeover

The author cut out two cardboard templates, one for each end of the stringer. Adding the distance between the templates to their lengths gave him the exact dimensions for the PVC skirtboards that would cover the stringers.

After ripping the PVC risers to size, the author fastened them to the notched skirtboards with PVC glue and countersunk coated deck screws.

Shims were used to level and square up the PVC skirt-riser assembly before it was screwed to the stringers.

After the new concrete landing pad was poured, the middle stringers were trimmed to fit and attached to the pad with angle brackets.

The author predrilled holes for the broad-headed shim screws that he would use to level the individual boards making up the treads. A simple jig helped ensure that each screw would be in the right location.

Each screw was adjusted until it was flush with the bottom edge of a level laid across the stringers.

Before installing the hardwood treads, the author applied marine adhesive to the head of each shim screw.

The pre-finished Meranti Batu treads were fastened to the stringers with 2-inch stainless steel finish nails, two nails per shim screw location.

The PVC post wraps were fastened together with glue and countersunk screws spaced 6 inches apart.

The author assembled the PVC post bases with glue and nails, then beveled the top edges at a 30° angle.

The post caps were made of a double layer of PVC, and were glued to the tops of the post wraps. The author used masking tape to hold the caps in place while the glue cured.

The railings have painted fir balusters, 1/2-inch by 1 1/2-inch PVC subrails, and top and bottom mahogany rails that measure 1 1/2 inches thick by 2 1/4 inches wide.

The updated stair looks like the original, but meets current codes.

The author removes a tread from the original stair.

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