Install Garage Steps Towards House to Prevent Flooding

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    It is not uncommon to see entire main floor of the house with garage to be on the same level. However for safety and extra precautions, more new build homes have steps up from garage slab towards the house.

    Unfortunately once the house is built with garage being on the same level with house first level, it is impractical to change it and add steps to the house. That would involve either raising entire house or lowering garage floor, which would only attract rainwater.

    Some houses don’t even have an entrance from garage towards the house. You would literally have to exit thought garage door and walk around to get inside.

    These homes are easier to adjust and with readjustment of structural wall with addition of exterior door, the steps to garage can be installed.

    Types of Garage Steps to Install

    If your house has great height and position of garage and entrance to the house, but steps were not installed yet by original builder there are few options we can suggest.

    There are four types of stair materials that work perfectly for easy installation and literally any weather conditions. Some can be purchased in store and some are super easy to make on your own.

    4 Types of Materials for Garage Steps

    • Concrete
    • Metal
    • Wood
    • Blocks/Bricks

    Main difference of materials used for steps is how long they will survive and costs associated with buying or making them. Honestly variations are not significant and any step works just fine.

    ConcreteMetalWoodBlock/Brick
    Buy Prebuild$60$80$50$70
    Cost of Materials (DIY)$150$50$30$50
    Cost of garage steps made from different materials

    Concrete – by far the most popular material for home garage steps is concrete. Typically it would be already made with garage slab by home builder.

    Otherwise there are two options for making new steps. Buy precast steps for $40 – $80 and simply put them in place or form and pour concrete mix.

    Metal – not seen in many homes because of cost or unavailability to purchase. Metal steps are definitely great looking and compliment any garage.

    If you have a place nearby that sells premade metal steps that is awesome, because it’s a rare find. Building custom metal garage steps is not recommended unless you have extra hundreds of dollars laying around.

    Wood – the easiest material to work with. Steps with wood can be made within minutes and cost of materials is the cheapest from all options.

    Some hardware stores sell premade stringers that can be cut and installed in place with steps fastened to them.

    Blocks/Brick – for handy people that want to build something with their own hands and create steps that last longer than wooden we suggest using blocks or bricks.

    Raw material and cement mix should not cost more than $30 together. Without professional help it could be done within an hour by going through guide on google or youtube.

    Installing Regular Risers and Stringers in Garage

    It is surprising to see regular interior style stairs in the garage. We are talking about fully finished riser and stringer with coat of paint or stain on solid finished.

    One thing is to make stairs with rough wood materials or even pressure treated, but matching interior house stairs is not right thing to do.

    Garage is considered as outside space and should be treated as such. All stored materials, kept tools, and installed fixtures will react to heat, cold and humidity.

    Garage is typically not heated, insulated or vented to interior home standards. Therefore installing regular oak or maple stairs is going to be a big mistake.

    Wood will bend and crack within few months. It is a normal reaction to temperature change and moisture in the air.

    Reasons for Garage Steps in House

    Existence of garage steps towards the house automatically means there is height difference between garage slab and landing. It could be main floor, mid stairs or separated mud room.

    This height separation is created for specific reasons and we want to go over each one. Here are 3 main reasons for installing garage steps in a house:

    • Raised House with Basement
    • Flooding Through Garage
    • Specific Design

    Sure enough there could be other ideas why stairs are implemented in construction process. Let us know your thoughts and ideas of other reasons.

    Raised House with Basement – If house has a basement level, the main floor is positioned above ground. This gives the ability to have windows in basement and natural light is always in priority.

    Main level is raised, but garage slab is continued from drive way with natural slope of soil next to the house. This difference in height is compensated with two or more steps.

    Flooding Through Garage – Next reasons is specific for safety measures. It is controlling potential floods and any water that can come from outside.

    Full foundation is raised above slab for at least a foot. Therefore if water comes into garage it would need to be filled all the way up before water goes inside of the house and damages finfish materials.

    Specific Design – Not ever building is positioned on ideal flat ground. Often we see backyard ground level is much lower than entrance of the house. There are back splits and tons of other unique designs for homes.

    To accommodate all structural need and combine construction with complicated slope of land levels of house can be different. Therefore garage may need few steps up towards the house.

    Size of Garage Steps Towards House

    To install or buy steps for garage we need to know preferred sizes and specifications. Although it may seem not logical, but exterior steps differ from interior.

    • Minimum Width 36 inches
    • Two steps – Ideal Design
    • Height and Depth of Steps

    Why would they be more complicated than any other steps or stairs? Let’s look at each reason separately and come to overall conclusion.

    Minimum Width – all exterior entrances have to have potential to bring in appliances, furniture and other large objects. If the door with frame is large enough to fit stove and fridge, the steps need to be at least 36 inches wide.

    Preferable with of garage steps is 42-44 inches. It should overlap door frame on each side for at least 6 inches.

    Two Steps are Ideal – one or no steps at all increase the risk of flood in case of heavy rain or overflowing water sustaining system.

    Many states have regulations that mandate installation of railing if stairs have exactly three or more steps. Therefore ideal amount is to have  two steps in garage.

    Height and Depth – all exterior steps are built with maximum height of 7 inches and depth that feels comfortable stepping with outdoor shoes. Average depth for garage steps is 12 inches.

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    Steven H.
    General Contractor and Home Builder with over 20 years of experience. Write and Edit educational posts for several Remodeling Blogs. Specialize in trade management and technical construction details.

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