When planning the look of your concrete stairway, don't sacrifice functionality for flair. The most important dimensions are the riser height and tread depth. They should be in proportions that will comfortably accommodate the average person's stride. Although the ratio can vary depending on the application, local building codes often dictate the minimum and maximum riser heights and minimum tread depth. The 7-11 rule is one that's frequently used (maximum riser height of 7 inches and minimum tread depth of 11 inches). Risers should also be at least 4 inches in height.

J&H Concrete in Uniontown, OH For safer stepping, design stairways with deep treads and short risers and locate landings no more than 7 1/2 inches below door thresholds.Photo courtesy of Elite Crete.

Quikrete recommends using the following riser/tread proportions when building concrete steps:

When riser height is: Tread depth should be:
4" to 4-1/2" 18" to 19"
5" to 5-1/2" 16" to 17"
6" to 6-1/2" 14" to 15"
7" to 7-1/2" 10" to 11"