How to Build Free Standing Steps

Written by nicole byerly
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How to Build Free Standing Steps
(Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Free-standing steps are helpful for reaching a height that is not easily accessible from standing on a flat surface. This style of steps is preferred over a stepladder because it provides the user a more secure and balanced stepping surface. Creating a set of free-standing steps requires a few quick measurements and cuts.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Two sections of 3/4-inch plywood, 33 inches deep by 18 inches high
  • Three 2-by-10s, 27 1/2 inches long
  • Three 2-by-10s, 30 inches long
  • Tape measure
  • T-square
  • Pencil
  • Hand saw
  • One box of 3-inch screws
  • Drill
  • Phillips head drill bit

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Lay a 33-by-18 inch section of plywood on a flat surface, horizontally displaying the 33-inch edges on the top and bottom. Measure up six inches along the left side edge and mark this location with a pencil.

  2. 2

    Place T-square at the 6-inch mark and draw a line 10 inches long toward the opposite edge of the plywood.

  3. 3

    Measure and mark six inches up from the end point of the 10-inch line. Draw a line from the end of the 10-inch line up to the 6-inch mark.

  4. 4

    Place T-square at the 6-inch mark, and draw a line 10 inches long toward the opposite edge of the plywood.

  5. 5

    Measure and mark six inches up from the end point of the 10-inch line. Draw a line from the end of the 10-inch line up to the 6-inch mark. This mark will be located along the top edge of the plywood section.

  6. 6

    Cut along the step lines with the hand saw to create an outline for the steps.

  7. 7

    Repeat steps 1 through 6 with the remaining 33-by-18 inch section of plywood. This will complete the process of creating the sides of the free-standing steps.

  8. 8

    Hold the two sections of plywood in standing position next to each other and place one 27½-inch 2-by-10 at the front and back corners of the steps. Press the two step sides onto the ends of the 2-by-10s and drive two 3-inch screws through each end of the plywood to join the 2-by-10s to the plywood.

  9. 9

    Place the remaining 27½-inch 2-by-10 in standing position between the top corners. Line up the top and side edge of the 2-by-10 with the edges of the plywood and drive two screws through each end of the 2-by-10 to join it with the plywood.

  10. 10

    Place one 30-inch 2-by-10 onto each of the three 10-inch tread holders on the plywood stair sides. Drive three evenly spaced screws down through the 2-by-10s at each end to join them permanently with the plywood sides.

Tips and warnings

  • Use steps on a flat surface to avoid tipping.

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