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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 points. When I later became a professional builder, I thought I knew all I needed about exterior stairs. But occasionally a customer would request concrete stairs. 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 slippery stairs." "No