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Old 02-20-2008, 07:15 PM   #1
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Stair Stringers

I have stairs that lead down to my basement that are 48" wide. The risers are 2x12's but there are only two of them. So the treads (2x10's on wood blocks) span 48". They actually hold up pretty well, but is there a way I can reinforce these steps. I considered using some angle brackets and was thinking of something stiffer than a 2x10 for the tread. I just don't really want to construct a new staircase, just something a little better than what I have.


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Old 02-20-2008, 07:24 PM   #2
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I would try to make another stringer to place in the center. 2 stringers do not even meet code on a 48 wide stair. maybe 36 inch. Best thing is to do another 2x12 stringer.


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Old 02-20-2008, 08:46 PM   #3
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While adding a center stringer would be the best solution, it obviously is not very easy to cut a new stringer that will fit well. I would not trust just laying it out, but rather would make a pattern of the exposed outside stringer. This should pick up any variations in treads and risers better than a pure layout.
You could also just install a 2 x 4 or 6 on the vertical under each tread, running from stringer to stringer, and hung with metal joist hangers. A bead of adhesive on the top side of it, and two screws down through the tread into it will give plenty stiffness to the span of the tread. Hang it at least half way back on the width of the tread so it cannot pose any danger by catching a shoe tip.
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Old 02-20-2008, 09:02 PM   #4
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I am well aware it doesn't meet code. The main issue with adding a center stringer is that the stringers are not notched. The treads are sitting on wood blocks attached to the stringers.
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Old 02-21-2008, 12:11 AM   #5
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Does this staircase have risers? If not, full height risers sitting on top of the lower tread will support the front of the upper tread. Glue and screw your connections. It will help stiffen up the existing staircase but as you admit, it will not bring it up to code.

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Old 02-21-2008, 11:38 PM   #6
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I'd go with Mac's idea, but if the overall flight or span of the steps is bouncy then add a knee wall mid span.
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Old 02-23-2008, 03:49 PM   #7
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If that set of stairs are only supported by wooden blocks nailed to the stringers then I would only suggest you buy three 2X12s and cut three proper stringers. One for the middle and one to nail to each existing stringer after removing those blocks. Do it right.

How old is that stairway?
I know there are thousands of old houses around with stair steps supported by wooden blocks like that. Most are not that wide though.
If you do choose this option I would be happy to "talk" you through it.


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