I have a deck design where I want stairs coming down perpendicular to the joist starting at the end of the joist. You can see the picture as a generic not to scale drawing of what I mean.

Generic diagram

I had an idea to have the end joist extend past the rim joist. I then want to attach the stair stringer to the very end of the joist. I am going to use USP's concealed stringer hanger.

Stringer Hanger

Am I able to put a stair stringer like this, or is there a different/better way to get the stairs flush with the rim joist?

  • I might be worried about pulling force the stairs will put on the joist but then I am not entirely sure. How far do the joists overhang from the beam? Commented Sep 14, 2013 at 1:54
  • the joist cantilever about 6 to 9 inches from the beam.
    – Michael
    Commented Sep 18, 2013 at 15:06
  • Just a follow up. I ended up putting the stringer at the end, and made it flush with the top of the deck. I made it so the top stringer only held one deck board (instead of two) so it was narower. I put the railing on the outside of the joist (next to the stair stringer). This allowed me to have the post flush with the stairs and not get messed up there like the answer below. This way I was also able to create a nosing for the top stair (which is often over looked but probably required by code, even if it isn't enforced).
    – Michael
    Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 19:42
  • @Michael, please either add your followup as an answer and accept it or delete your question. SE isn't a discussion forum and questions should arrive at a resolution.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 3, 2017 at 19:32

5 Answers 5


Double beam the ledger, Notch out a rail seat .65 inches, Set stringers in place, Pre drill 3/4" pocket hole horizontally from stringer into ledger (will need 12" to 14" auger bit), Use 1/2" structural screws to secure stringer to ledger, Plug hole with hole plugs or mix sawdust with sandable titebond glue and patch hole.

Additionally, stringer 14ga prebent metal underneath each stringer, stubby nailed to ledger will help support weight if it's high off the ground.


Creating an extra step flush with the top of the deck will make adding stair railing very difficult if not impossible plus it doesnt look professional. Hopefully you have 2x10 floor joists and that will give you 2 inches to work with. In that case I create a ledger for the stringers and attach the 2 end strings to the outside of the stringer I created. If you have smaller than 2x10 you have to make the stringers so it attaches to the back of the floor joist. Double up on the end stringer so the inside stringer can be attached to the face of ledger board/rim board of the deck.outside stringer is just a spacer.

Its kinds of hard to explain without writing a book.

  • I think I get what you are saying. I thought about doubling up the last stringer but my railing are inside the deck (doing composite railing posts) so it would make the 4x4s for the railings on the landing part a little offset since I had an extra 2x in there.
    – Michael
    Commented Sep 18, 2013 at 15:09

Going up the stairs is from the far right, to the left, correct? I think many of us see this as the stairs, not as the stringers.

I'd plunk retaining bolts into the first stringer, the same way the rim joist is being mounted, and cap that edge for water protection too. (Think of it as an extension of the rim joist itself.)

I'd consider dropping a post to help your end joist carry the weight, furthest from your red circled stringer, perhaps between 3rd and 4th one, counting from top to bottom - should you want it hidden from view.

You can always drop another post right inside near your red circle, opposite of the staircase for strength, in case the local wildebeests are planning to join your party on the deck.


I know it's just a rough sketch but I don't see any lamination of your end joists for support. Add another joist at each endpoint and overlap them (all three sides). Stringers can be attached with as little as a 1x3 piece of strapping or stringer straps. All the weight is focused on the bottom of the stringer. So your design is ok but add the extra joists.

Depending on what you are using for decking keep in mind your joist spacing. The more people you anticipate having on the deck the closer the joists should be, just in case.

  • 1
    I don't understand where you would add an extra joist. Are you saying double up the joist that the stringers attach to?
    – Michael
    Commented Sep 18, 2013 at 15:03

What you are thinking of will be highly dangerous, as there is no way to have a railing along the side next to the stairs. A better way to so this would be to have a small landing at the top of the stairs say four foot square. Then you can have railings and be safe and legal. Otherwise as your thinking of doing people could back up and fall right off the deck. You could get sued or if someone dies face charges, maybe even jail time.

  • Decks all over the world have this framing design and continuous railings. I think you're confused.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 3, 2017 at 19:28

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