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gta 08-16-2012 01:40 PM

small garage stairs
Okay. A few days ago I installed a prehung metal exterior door in my garage, but there is a slight issue.

The door threshold overhangs the concrete wall (not sure what to call it) that is part of the first floor of the house.

The builder of the house, some 20 + years ago, installed some makeshift stairs that are not very stable and because of the overhanging lip is actually posing a hazard now. The lip extends out about an inch or so

I would like to remove the stairs and rebuild them but I am not sure how to attach the stairs to the concrete wall or the concrete floor of the garage. I read somewhere to attach a piece of wood to the concrete with bolts then attach the stair stringer to it.

I am contemplating a three step design with one of the steps underneath the threshold overhang.

What do you suggest?

joecaption 08-16-2012 01:51 PM

If it was mine I would more those stairs out of the way and Tap, Con a piece of 1 X 6 vinyl lumber up tight againt the threshold that's about 3" longer then where the trim needs to go around the door. That will support the treshold.
I would make the stairs out of concrete block mortered in place, not out of wood.

Your going to have to use low expanding foam around those door jambs, and add jamb extentions by the looks of it, before the casing goes on.

gta 08-16-2012 06:35 PM

Thanks for noticing

The door actually has an attachable outer metal frame with screw/nail holes that I took off so that I can put some foam in between. After I screw in the outer frame then I can put casing on top.

I wanted to avoid the concrete step route because I wanted to build the stairs fast and cheap.

Do you think I could use concrete blocks as a base and then put wood on top of the blocks for treads?

firehawkmph 08-16-2012 09:56 PM

I would build a set of stairs out of treated lumber. I normally use 2 x 12's for the stringers and treads. I also use 2 x 8's for risers. If you put risers in, the top riser can be tapconned right to your block. The riser will also be 1 1/2" thick and eliminate your trip hazard at the threshold. I also take into account most garage floors are sloped. When I measure my height, I measure from where the end of the stringer will hit, (about 24" from the block for two steps) and set a level under the threshold lip and measure to the top of it. Then you can check the same height measurement at the block and see what the difference is. Cut the bottom of your stringer to match the slope and the steps will sit nice and tight on the concrete.
Mike Hawkins:)

gta 08-17-2012 01:42 AM


I think I'll try building steps with PT lumber.

I also had a question about how to level the stringers to the concrete floor, but it looks like you already cleared that up.

I'll take some measurements later today.

By the way, I've seen some online calculators on the web that basically do all the math for stair construction. Have you ever used these before?

hand drive 08-17-2012 07:42 AM

you can buy pre made stringers at lowes and home depot. You can use either a 2x12 for the treads or 2 -2x6 and they even have a treated 5/4"x12" tread with a bull nose on the front edge that is nice. It looks like you will have 2 steps so if you measure out away from the cement blocks about 23 " that will be where you need to check the levelness of the floor where the stringers will sit and cut any floor inaccuracies from the underside of the stringers... in that situation I add/nail 2 -2x6 underneath the stringers that look like upside down treads where the stringers sit on the floor. This allows you to attach the underside of the stringers to something and enables you to also spike the 2x6's to the cement floor as well with tap con screws and construction glue. At the top I would add a 2x to the block wall about 8 1/2" down from the top outside edge of the aluminum threshold that cuts to the size of the inside diameter between the outside stringers and the outside stringers once installed would cap the 2x, as it were. If you pull down 8 1/2" for the stringers your finished tread height would be 7" once the treads went on.

edit.. I did not notice the mention of the threshold overhang before. A 3/4" " stair riser " that sits down onto the 2x block that's used to hold up the stringers can be screwed to the block wall . The stair riser needs to rest against the underside of the threshold where it hangs out over the block wall. If the overhang is more than 3/4" the 1x is not thick enough, consider a 2x stair riser instead.

DexterII 08-17-2012 08:14 AM

First, I would do as Joe suggested, in regard to supporting the threshold. After that, you need to decide if you want one step or two; 8" is at the maximum of what I consider a comfortable rise, particularly in a location where you are most likely carrying groceries, etc. in and out, but reducing the rise obviously increases the run, which cuts into what is probably valuable floor space. Anyway, if you want two steps, I would do as firehawk suggested. If one step, I would forget the stringers, and build a simple four sided box, taper the bottom of it if necessary to follow the floor, tapcon the back of it to the blocks, and screw the tread to the top of it, thereby eliminating stringers from protruding beyond the riser.

gregzoll 08-17-2012 08:15 AM

You can get precut stringers & treads from places like Lowe's, Home Depot, Menard's.

kwikfishron 08-18-2012 06:27 AM

199 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by gregzoll (Post 990883)
You can get precut stringers & treads from places like Lowe's, Home Depot, Menard's.

I don’t know how they even get away with selling those things, those stringers would never pass code.

All the ones I’ve seen are cut out of 2x10 leaving only about 3 ” - 3 ” of meat left from the bottom of the stringer and the inside intersection of the tread and the riser. The minimum allowed is 5”.

Even that aside the odds that the total rise will work out and keep you within the maximum rise difference of 3/8” are slim at best.

So what happens when someone gets hurt on these non-permitted, non-compliant stairs you just installed???

It’s petty doubtful the friendly folks at the box store will be there to help then.

Hammer450R 08-18-2012 06:37 AM

You have about a 20% chance of passing inspection with pre made stringers lol

gregzoll 08-18-2012 09:22 AM

kwikfishron, the ones I have are 2x12's. And as for passing code, they are no different than the ones that a reputable contractor would cut. The ones that I would not trust, are by someone who does not know how to take the time to do it correct, and want to cut corners.

puttster 08-18-2012 09:59 AM

Guess I don't understand the problem. Why don't you stick a 1x8 up underneath the threshold? Fasten it to the stringers and the concrete.Treads, too.

gta 08-19-2012 12:54 AM


I'd never thought my question would bring up such arguments.

My mind tells me to cut the stringers myself, but time tells me to buy pre cut.

So far I'm leaning towards cutting them myself.

kwikfishron 08-19-2012 05:19 AM

199 Attachment(s)
Since you only have a few small steps you could always build box steps. The box steps are actually stronger than stringers and easier to make if you never have cut stringers before, they use a little more material though.

The important thing is that all of the steps are the same height. This can “rarely” be achieved with store bought stringers.

What is the measurement from the concrete to the bottom of the threshold of the door? With that number it would be pretty easy to tell you if pre-cuts would work there or not.

gta 08-19-2012 01:02 PM

It is about 17.25 inches from the concrete to the threshold.

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