How to Build Steps - A Guide to Create a Strong Path

How to Build Steps - A Guide to Create a Strong Path

Apr 13, 2023

Steps or stairs are integral parts of your home. They set a tone and define the overall look of your space. So, they should be built perfectly. But building beautiful and perfect steps isn’t easy and requires proper planning. So, if you want to learn how to build steps, consider reading this article.

We’ve shared the step-by-step process to build the perfect and beautiful steps. But before moving forward with the process, you should check the list of all the tools and materials required while building the steps. So, let’s first look at the tools and materials list.

Tools and Materials Required

Here is the list of materials and tools that are required while building the steps.

  • Speed Square
  • Tape measure
  • 2 Stair gauges
  • 2-inch screws
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Bubble level
  • 4 Two-by-twelves for stringers and skirts
  • Nails
  • One-by-eights for stair risers
  • 3-inch screws
  • Circular saw
  • Pencil
  • One-by-four
  • Cordless drill
  • Bullnose stair treads
  • Hand saw

How to Build Steps – Complete Process

When you are building steps, there are a lot of things to consider, including the rise, run, design, calculations, and every other thing. So, to ease out your work, we’ve come up with the step-by-step process of building beautiful stairs and steps.

Step 1 – Determining the Slope

Using the one-by-four, measure the slope of your stairs from the topmost point of the steps to the ground at a certain angle. Now using a speed square, make a mark on the ground with an angle of 40-degree from the top landing down to the ground.

Step 2 – Calculation in Important

This is one of the important steps in our how to build steps guide, place the on-by-four board horizontally on the edge at the top landing of the stairs, and on top of the one-by-four, place the bubble level. Extend the board outward till it passes the mark on the ground, and run the tape measure from the top to the mark. This will give you the exact measurements of the stair rise.

Once you calculate the stair rise, divide it by 7 to get the number of stair risers your steps should have. Now again, divide the total rise height by the number of risers. The result will be the actuarial riser height.

Step 3 – Choose the Materials

Once you are done with all the calculations, it’s time to choose the materials you want to make your steps with. You can choose limestone, granite, slate, sandstone, etc., for your project. Apart from the natural stones, you can also choose the best outdoor porcelain tiles. However, choosing materials that are durable and can withstand different conditions is recommended.

Step 4 – Depth and Height is the Most Important Thing

Before you start laying your stone steps, you first need to measure the height and depth of the stairs. It is recommended to have around ½ foot of height and a depth of around 1 foot.

Step 5 – Removing Grass and Debris

Now remove the grass and debris on the soil. You can remove the dirt using a lot of elbow grease and hand-powered gardening tools. Make sure the ground on which your foundation step will be installed is levelled. Once the surface is levelled, start laying gravel. Make sure the gravel is 2 inches thick, and then start laying the foundation step on it. But if you want to avoid water clogging, give a slope that will drain the water outside your home.

Step 6 – Starting Laying Steps

This is the final step of our how to build steps guide. In this step, you should start laying the rest of the steps from the bottom to the top. You should leave a small gap between these stone steps as you will be filling in the sand. Make sure you install these steps with a slight slope to allow water to drain naturally. 

Keep the space between each paver constant. You might wish to use a piece of plywood or spacer blocks to keep the natural stones apart as you arrange them. Slide the plywood up against the edge of the pit and throw your first stone. Then turn the sheet 90 degrees to make a space between the nearby stones. Lay out the pattern or rows one at a time, adjusting the plywood between each paver as you go.

Step 7 – Safety is the Key

Once you have installed all the natural stone steps, you should think about safety. You should secure your stone steps with a mortar mix. You should also consider installing railings or side guards for a safe and comfortable walk on the steps.

Step 8 – Adorn Your Steps

Once you’ve learned how to build steps, it’s time to adorn them with beautiful additions. If you have installed these stones on a larger space, consider installing extra large planters on one side of the steps. You can also add beautiful walling solutions that add a distinctive touch to your area.


So, these are the essential steps you must follow to learn how to build steps. If you are unsure if you can properly lay the steps, consider hiring a professional.

Frequently Asked Questions

These frequently asked questions will help you learn how to build steps and give you a clearer idea of what to do.

Q1. What type of stone is used for steps?

Sandstone and limestone are the ones that are ideal for building stone steps. However, you can also go for granite, slate, marble, and even porcelain tiles. But make sure the material you use must withstand harsh conditions.

Q2. How thick should stone steps be?

The stone steps should be around 6 to 7 inches thick, which is ideal for a comfortable walk. If you have more than 7 inches of step thickness, there will be more chances of accidents.

Q3. What do you put under step stones?

You should lay the stone steps on compacted soil, decomposed granite, and sand for levelling. This will lay a strong foundation for your steps.

Q4. How deep should stone steps be?

As mentioned before, the depth of the stone steps should be between 1 and ½ feet.