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2031pratt 08-05-2009 02:35 PM

Outdoor stairs need to be fixed...
I have some stairs that lead to a 2nd floor coach house above the garage. A problem has cropped up where the part of the stairs that attache to the outer wall of the the coach house is starting to rot. Not the stairs themselves as much as what the stairs rest on, on the side that is the coach house wall (there is a name for this component I am sure, I just don't know it).

From the underside I can see that untreated wood was used, and it was installed first before it was painted, so the side that is against the coach house wall doesn't even have paint on it. There are parts that I can push on and it is even soft.

Besides the wood not being protected or treated, the problem is magnified by the problem that the stairs slant to the coach house, meaning that when it rains, water just collects against the stair and the coach house. The rest of the stair components are in reasonable condition.

How difficult would it be to pop off the stairs, and then replace that piece of wood that attaches to the coachhouse? I think you can buy these zig zagged pieces of wood for stairs, can't you? I am slowly getting more and more handy with carpentry (out of financial necessity), but wondering if this is something difficult, and I should just get a carpenter, or take a shot myself. If people think it would help, I can upload some pictures...

ropers 08-05-2009 03:01 PM

the "zig zag" part is called the stringer and you can buy one or cut your own...just trace the old one......i don't know how many stepsthere are....but usually reaplacing rotten wood is pretty simple yet sometimes time consuming......when you replace rotten wood remember if there is anything left of the wood at all you have a template to work from.,... i am just thinking out loud here by sure that the rotten wood is not part of the structure of the "coach house" if so you may need some professional advise or just some pictures posted on here,..

hammertime09 08-05-2009 11:06 PM

its not that difficult of a job but you need to have basic carpentry skills. just take off the old treads, carefully remove the stringer you want to replace (the zig zag thing), and as stated above trace it. while the stringer is off, look at the side of the house, where the stinger was attached, and if theres any rot, remove it, and replace it. the key here is to make sure what you are nailing the new stringer to is a solid piece of wood, not soft and rotted out wood. otherwise it will sag down again and you'll have the same problem in a few years. hope this helps, and good luck.

titanoman 12-01-2011 02:16 PM

When you replace that stringer against the wall, space it with some 1x 3 or better yet some treated 5/4 blocks and hold the treads 1/2" or so away from the wall so water won't get trapped in there anymore.

Big Stud 12-01-2011 05:55 PM

Also check the treads for rot as you have said that water collects on them.

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