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Because they get more traffic, steps wear out faster than other portions of your deck. For safety's sake, immediately replace any steps that show signs of deterioration or serious damage.
Remove a damaged step by first cutting it in half. You should then be able to use a pry bar to pull the halves away from the nails. If your steps are fastened with screws, just back out the screws, then remove the step or steps.
For replacement steps, use treated deck lumber, cedar or redwood that closely matches the existing steps. Seal the new steps thoroughly, paying special attention to the cut ends.
You can replace a step in about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the damaged step or steps, measure the width of the stair treads, and mark the tread outline on the stringers.
Position the front 2x6 on the tread cleat or notched stringer so that the front edge is flush with the tread outline on the stringers.
Position the rear 2x6 on the cleat or notched stringer, allowing a small space between the two treads and between the rear tread and the riser. Use a 16d (3.5") nail as a spacing guide. Drill 1/8-inch pilot holes and fasten the 2x6s to the cleats or stringers with nails or screws.
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