25 Design Ideas for Composite Deck Stairs & Steps

Steps and stairs should not be an afterthought when you design your outdoor living space! The transitions between your home, deck, and yard complement the overall look of your home — and today’s composite decking technology offers abundant options for your stairs. Decking brands like TimberTech offer the natural beauty of wood in a wide range of designer colors to complement your home’s exterior, and it resists moisture, mildew, scratches, stains, and fading. If your outdoor living space includes steps, read on to brainstorm ideas for your deck stairs!

Design Ideas For Composite Deck Stairs

Every deck design combines elements like stairs, post styles, railings, balusters, skirting, outdoor lighting and material colors to create the finished look. The most attractive decks blend perfectly with the home’s style and exterior paint colors. The details of a deck stair design are often used to reinforce a home’s architectural style or create a focal point. 

While composite decking is insect-proof, it’s not completely mold-resistant. However, Timbertech Composite decking has advanced MoldGuard technology to protect the boards from mold and mildew. They offer both three-sided and four-sided capped composite decking boards so there are options for almost any budget. Grooved edges and hidden fasteners are designed to provide a seamless, professional finish. If you want to DIY your stairway project, you can use standard power tools to cut and drill composite deck boards.


Deck Stair Parts

As you design your outdoor living space, it’s helpful to understand the parts of a stair. The treads are the boards you step on; risers cover the front of each step; stringers support the stairs from below, and skirting covers the sides.

Benjamin Moore AURA Exterior Low Lustre Exterior Paint

Consider the Type of Stair in Your Design

Most deck steps fall into one of four categories: closed deck stairs, open riser deck stairs, open stringer deck stairs, and wrap-around stairs. Which deck stair design is right for your home? That depends on your backyard layout and the architectural style of your home.

Closed Deck Stairs

TimberTech Composite by AZEK Decking in Pecan

TimberTech Composite by AZEK Decking in Pecan

A closed deck stair looks like traditional indoor stairs; the stair treads have risers to connect each step and close any gaps. It’s a clean, finished look that many homeowners prefer.

Closed stairs are also safer for small children or pets that might accidentally slip through open risers. Depending on the size of the staircase, local building codes may require closed stairs. Fascia boards along the sides add a neat finishing touch known as a closed stringer design:

TimberTech Composite Deck Stairs & Premier Rail in Black Composite

TimberTech Composite Deck Stairs & Premier Rail in Black Composite

If you live in a cold climate, keep in mind that the closed design accumulates leaves and debris more easily. More frequent sweeping is needed because leaf accumulation can trap water and ice, making the deck stairs slippery. If you have trees nearby, keep maintenance in mind when you consider closed deck stairs.

Open Stringer Deck Stairs

TimberTech Advanced PVC Vintage Collection in Dark Hickory

TimberTech Advanced PVC  Vintage Collection in Dark Hickory

An open stringer stair is a popular design that does not have fascia boards along the sides closing off the ends of the treads. It leaves a gap between the stair treads and bottom edge of the railings to create a traditional look. Open stringer stairs are easy to sweep clean. On this design, the stair treads extend past the railings for an upscale touch:

This contemporary deck stair has open stringers and a railing that sits past the end of the treads:

Composite deck stairs in TimberTech Advanced PVC Vintage Collection in Weathered Teak

TimberTech Advanced PVC Vintage Collection in Weathered Teak

Wrap-Around Stairs

TimberTech Composite Legacy Collection in Tigerwood

TimberTech Composite Legacy Collection in Tigerwood

Wrap-around stairs create an open, expansive look on a deck or porch that is low to the ground. Because they take up the entire length of one or more sides of the deck, they eliminate deck railings that can obstruct the view. Usually, wrap-around stairs have just a few steps as they’re designed as a transition from the deck to an adjoining terrace, yard, patio or fire pit.

Wrap-around stairs add an upscale touch to even the most basic deck design. This simple deck is perfect for outdoor living with a built-in pergola, outdoor kitchen, and wrap-around outdoor stairs leading to a brick patio:

TimberTech Advanced PVC Vintage Collection in Mahogany

TimberTech Advanced PVC Vintage Collection in Mahogany

Open Riser Deck Stairs

Open deck stair risers; image courtesy of Seal A Deck

Open deck stair risers; image courtesy of Seal A Deck

This budget-friendly stair design eliminates the risers, leaving gaps between the treads that you can see through. Open deck stairs are low-maintenance because leaves and dirt blow away and water runs off easily, reducing ice accumulation on the stairs in winter.  

While they are easier to keep clean, open stair designs do not meet building codes in some localities. In recent years this type of stair has declined in popularity because closed risers are safer and offer a more finished look.

Composite decking manufacturers do not recommend installing composite decking planks on steps without a riser board. The riser board provides extra stability and keeps the treads from warping. Because composite deck boards require that joists sit closer together, composite deck stairs should always have a stringer in the center. 

Need more inspiration? You’ll find even more design ideas for outdoor living spaces here:

Complete Your Stair Design with Lighting

Lighting is an important part of any deck stair design, both for safety and for style. There are four basic types of deck lighting to choose from:

  • Riser Lights
  • Post Cap Lights
  • Under-Rail Lighting
  • Accent Lights

While it’s common to choose one form of lighting for deck stairs, combining different types will guarantee plenty of soft illumination.

Design Your New Stairs Using TimberTech Decking

Here at Ring’s End, we offer an unparalleled selection of building materials both in-store and online. We’re proud to offer composite decking products by TimberTech because we know that homeowners have confidence in their 25-50 year product warranty. 

Timbertech’s Advanced PVC decking line is made from recycled polymers that can be heated and bent, allowing for unique outdoor living spaces. Timbertech Composite Decking is available in lengths as long as twenty feet and nearly twenty designer colors, making it an excellent choice for large projects as well. You can learn everything you need to know about engineered decking, stairs, railings, and lighting in our TimberTech Product Guide.

TimberTech Product Guide 
Learn about the entire outdoor living collection

For free expert advice about your project, chat with our team online or text us directly at (203) PRO-HELP. With thoughtful attention to color and some expert help, your new decking will be a stunning addition for all to enjoy!

Composite Deck Stairs FAQs

What type of deck stairs can you build using composite decking?

Should deck stairs be open or closed?

Can you use composite decking for handrails?

What is the difference between rise and run for deck stairs?

Can I replace wood deck stairs with composite decking?