I'm building box steps to go between the upper and lower portion of my deck. The total height difference from surface to surface is 24 inches. I'm planning to build the box out of 2x8s and use decking that is one inch thick.

To be even I need three steps of 8 inches per rise. Since the nominal height of the 2x8 is 7 and 1/4 inches, I would need to rip 1/4 inch off of the 2x8s. That is a lot of annoying finicky cutting that would be easy to get wrong or inconsistent.

Would I be okay not ripping the 2x8s and producing 2 steps that are 8 and 1/4 inches high, then one that is 7 and 1/2 inches high? Code says the max difference in steps should be no greater than 3/8ths, so I would be close...

Is there an alternative solution to ripping 2x8s that would serve me better?

  • 3/4 is 6/8 so how is that close to 3/8?
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Aug 16, 2020 at 19:35
  • I mean, it's all relative, which is why I'm asking. I take it that what you mean by your comment is that this difference is not acceptable? Commented Aug 16, 2020 at 20:49
  • Why not build steps with traditional stringers, do the math and have all steps equal? When walking up steps muscle memory is in play, One step that is different may trip you up, literally.
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Aug 16, 2020 at 21:01

1 Answer 1


You don’t set the fence at 7” and try to control wobbling. You set the fence at 1/8 inch plus a 1/8” kerf.

Easy cut that way.

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