How to Build a Small Porch & Stairs

A porch, no matter how big or small, can provide outdoor comfort for any home. Whether it is a freestanding structure or attached to the household, a backyard porch isn't as difficult to build as you might think. Before you begin, decide where you would like to put the porch. Take necessary measurements, making sure to keep the project small enough to handle. Also take a look at your tool shed. Having all of the necessary tools before you begin will make the porch and stair assembly move faster and easier.

Plan and Build the Porch

Create a porch for the back or front yard.
  1. Draw a design for the porch, using the measurements you took as the length, width and height of the deck. If you are attaching the porch to a house, allow a 3- or 4-inch step below the door. Determine how many posts you will need to keep the deck off the ground. The number of posts you will need will vary depending on the size of the porch. As you draw out the design, place stakes into the ground where you will be putting the posts, for later reference. Use this plan to purchase the appropriate amount of wood and cement from a hardware store.

  2. Prepare the posts for instillation. Dig a hole for each post that is 1 foot wide and 3 inches deep. Place a foundation tube into each hole. Measure and cut wood posts to the desired height, keeping in mind that they will be attached to the metal footings that you will cement into the ground.

  3. Mix approximately three parts cement to one part sand, adding water so the batter is firm.

  4. Install the footings. Shovel cement into the foundation tube. Place a metal footing into the center of the cement-filled tube and check to make sure it is straight, using a bubble level. Repeat for each footing. Allow the cement to completely dry before continuing to the next step.

  5. Attach the foundation posts to the metal fittings using wood screws. Constantly check to make sure the posts are straight, using your bubble level.

  6. Assemble the structure of the deck, using metal brackets to attach the support beams to the wood foundations.

  7. Cut decking to the desired length, using the miter saw. Lay the decking perpendicular across the support beams, placing wood shims between the boards to create an even spacing. Fasten the decking to the support beams using wood screws.

Build Wood Steps

  1. Purchase two stair stringers that already have steps cut into them. Cut the stair stringers to an appropriate length so that the stairs are level and line up to the front of the porch. Determine how wide you want the stairs to be, and mark the area where the bases of the two stair stringers meet the ground, creating a layout for a rectangle foundation.

  2. Remove 2 inches of ground from the rectangle you've measured out. Pour concrete into the rectangle and allow it to set.

  3. Place the stringers between the porch side and the landing pad. Secure them to the deck and concrete foundations using metal brackets and wood screws.

  4. Measure and cut decking to lay across the stringers. Use wood shims to space the decking on the stair stringers, securing them to the stringers with wood screws.

About the Author

Missy Farage began her writing career in 2008 when her freelance articles were published in the Washington life-and-style journals "425 Magazine" and "South Sound Magazine." She has won awards for her poetry and writing. Farage holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the University of Puget Sound.