Back step

Another project 5 years in the making.  We have been sans a step down to the patio ever since we replaced the 60’s solid door with a glass one and removed the subsequently obsolete back step.  The patio door isn’t very high…maybe about 10″ above the patio, but it has started becoming a problem for Zoe, one of our dogs.  She and Porter are both 11, and there just isn’t as much spring in their step as there used to be.

The rest of the family was out of town, so Chloe and I spent some time Saturday making a new step.  We made it a full 6′ wide for aesthetic reasons, although 1/2 of it serves no purpose, as it’s in front of the non-opening portion of the door.  We used some left-over 4×6 pieces that were cut from the playhouse beams, as well as another piece of cedar recycled from our neighbor’s deck.  The construction was deceptively complex, as our patio has a slight slope down to the left, so each 4×6 had to be cut at an angle and to the appropriate height to make the steps level.  Needless to say, I botched a couple and had to do some “fine tuning.”  The top of the step is standard 2×6 cedar decking (new), and the trim piece that wraps around underneath the steps is actually made of cedar fence stock.

That trim piece is something that I am particularly proud of.  When Chloe and I were shopping for the piece, I initially picked out a beautiful piece of 1×6 cedar.  I was a little reluctant about the nearly $11 price tag, since it was yet one more wound in the constant bleeding of our wallets.  In the next aisle, I noticed some 1/2″x6x6 pieces of rough cedar fencing.  While most were the typical broken, knotty pieces, some didn’t look too bad.  After going through about 50 pieces, I managed to find two that were nearly knot-free.  As they were only $1.75/each, I decided to get a couple and take a chance.  Well, to my surprise, they sanded down beautifully, and they look like knot-free, Grade A cedar.  Not bad for $3.50 (and the 15 minutes it took to find the only two pieces that had this potential.)

Step construction, confused Zoe
A wary Porter tests the new step
Completed step.  Someone should really fill in that hole in the concrete.
Rough v. Sanded

2 thoughts on “Back step

  1. What a timely post! I just spent an hour yesterday picking through the remainder of a pallet of cedar fence boards, looking for the nicest knot-free examples to use for my gate.

    I like the way they clean up with a little sanding. Looks like I have an excuse to get a belt sander now!


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