I learned how to build stairs the hard
way—by trial and error. Through
building many camps for friends and
additions for relatives, I learned the
advantages of making the first and last
riser the same as the rest, the benefits
of treated lumber, and other fine
When I later became a professional
builder, I thought I knew all I needed
about exterior stairs. But occasionally
a customer would request concrete
There's no need for that," I'd tell
them. "I can do it with treated wood."
"What about weeds growing up
through?" they'd ask.
"No problem. We'll put black plastic
under them, and maybe wood kickers
too. That'll keep the weeds out."
"What about water? I don't want