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Decks/Building a Simple Step


Hi Tony,

I need to build a single step, approximately 6 ft wide and 2 ft deep, that will butt against our patio step to make the tall patio step easier to manage.  This will only be needed for a few years, then will be removed.  So I am not looking for a permanent fix.

The step will be like a very small floating deck, placed on the existing concrete and not attached to anything.  Merely a rectangular frame with supporting beams running perpendicular to the length of the frame, then boards placed on top.

I have never built anything out of wood, so I have some basic questions:

1.  Should I use treated wood or or wood that hasnít been treated?  The step will be outside but in a covered area.   
2.  If I donít use treated wood, what do I use on it to protect it from the elements?
3.  Should I use 2x4ís or 4x4ís for the frame and supporting beams?  We have some 4x4ís I could use for this, but is there a reason I should use one size over the other?
4.  Should I use a certain type of wood (redwood, douglas fir, etc)?

Thank you for any help you can offer!

step layout
step layout  

image of step
image of step  
Hi Beth,

The project you have described should not be too difficult to build with a few basic tools.  If you don't have access to a saw are unsure of your abilities using one, any of the big box stores should be able to cut the components to length for you for a small fee.

I would recommend using treated wood for the project.  It will be as cheap or cheaper than untreated wood and will not require any type of paint or sealer to protect it from the elements. The 4x4's will be more difficult to cut and are too thick to easily nail through, therefore using 2x4's for the frame is a better choice.  5/4 x 6 treated decking boards should be used for the top.  The actual dimensions are 1Ē thick and 5-1/2Ē wide.  

If you build the frame to the correct size you will not have to rip any of the decking boards to make them fit properly. The frame should be 6 feet long and 22 inches wide.  The following materials list is every thing you will need to complete the step. All dimensions are the exact length that each piece will need to be cut.

Materials List:
2 pcs. 2X4x72 inches
6 pcs. 2X4x19 inches
4 pcs. 5/4x6x72inches (decking boards)
3 inch decking screws  screws or 3-1/4 galvanized nails to secure the frame (two nails or screws at each  connection - 24 total)
2-1/2 inch screws or nails to secure the decking to the frame ( two nails or screws in each board wherever it crosses a framing member Ė 48 total)

Attached are a couple of photos that should help with the assembly process.

I hope I have been of some assistance and good luck with your project.

Best regards,


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Tony Wood


I can answer questions pertaining to deck design and construction and offer insight into the pros and cons of various designs and materials options.


I am a life time resident of North Carolina with over 30 years experience in multiple facets of the industrial, commercial and residential construction industry. For the past 23 years I have owned and operated Wood's Home Maintenance Service, providing services primarily in Johnston, Wake and Sampson Counties of North Carolina.


Several Home improvement articles published on Angie's List and other online forums.

High School graduate ~ proficient in CAD (computer aided design), Open Office program suite.

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