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kameroti 11-04-2007 12:26 AM

Needing help with basement stairs (unsturdy)
I just got into a new house and its an old house but me and wife are geared to fixing her up! Our main problem is the basement steps are S C A R Y! ahahha im 310 lbs and im scared to "take the ride" so to say. Im sure yall have seen these steps before 100 years old the tops of each step just sitting in the side of the wall no support underneeth!

my question is what is the best way to reinforce the steps so my 310 lb's can go up and down them daily (working, laundry and whatnot) and not die in the process!

Any help would be glady appreciated!

send_it_all 11-04-2007 01:55 AM

Probably a combination of:

Maybe using some 5/16" lag screws to strengthen all the existing connections where the stringers tie into the framing of the side wall(s) (if I'm picturing it correctly...some photos would help a lot)

Some 3" deck screws anywhere I could fit one

And framing up a support wall under the stairs at mid-span.

If you post pics and they are different than I think, I'll get back to you.

kameroti 11-04-2007 12:24 PM

i have uploaded some pics (HI RES) not sure if they are the pics you wanted to see not a picture person lol

anyway here they are i took pics of the front, side, side where steps are supposed to sit in the wall and underneath

send_it_all 11-04-2007 09:47 PM

Aside from the fact that they look to have too much rise and not enough run, meaning the steps look too tall and not deep enough, to meet code...

I would rent or borrow a concrete drill, and go buy some 1/2" x 4" concrete anchors. The type that you you thread the nut on a few threads to protect threads, and tap into the hole drill a hole through the stringer next to the concrete wall (it is concrete, right?) and into the concrete a few inches. Then tap the anchors through the wood and into the concrete as far as they will go, then tighten the nuts with a wrench. That will greatly help to stabilize that stringer.
For the other stringer, I would add a 2x6 board to the inside of it, doubling it up. Attach it with a bunch of 16 penny nails. They will be stronger than screws in this application, due to their shear strength.
I would also replace the treads with 2x lumber. This would probably be the 1st thing I would do. They look like approximately 2x8s would fit the best. 2x10s would be better due to their width, but I can't tell from the pics if they would fit right.
Finally, I might frame up a small wall under the stairs at about the half way point. This would perform the same function as the 2x4s that are nailed to the sides now, but much more effectively. This part is a bit tough for me to explain the process. If you know how a standard interior wall is framed, imagine one the same width as the stairs wedged up under them to prevent flexing when you walk down the stairs.

One last thing I would do is check the point where the top of the stairs attach to the house and add lag screws or at least a bunch of nails and deck screws to that junction to make sure it doesn't come apart. If you do all these things, those stairs will be very stable. Good luck.

Ron6519 11-04-2007 10:31 PM

From the outlines on the wall this is not the original staircase. I would remove the treads and replace them with 2x10's or 2x12's. You could add a middle stringer if the stair still has bounce to it. You could also add risers to the staircase to further solidify the feel. Have someone look at the stringers from the underside as you walk up and down. If the stringers show excessive movement, sister on 2x6's on both sides.

Spyko 11-05-2007 09:50 PM

Dude, safety first. Change the staircase for a new one...and add a handrail. If you can't change the whole staircase go with new treads. I wouldn't go with two-by material though, it'll change the rise too much. If there's a home depot near you they ALL carry yellow pine stair treads.

send_it_all 11-05-2007 10:25 PM

Changing the treads to 2x material will only increase the rise on the bottom step. It will decrease the rise on the top step. All the ones in between will stay the same.

perpetual98 11-06-2007 08:17 AM

I got a little queasy just looking at those pictures. lol

If the stringers look good, I'd obviously replace the treads, and possibly add risers too.

Here's a link that I had bookmarked with some terminology stuff.

Regarding the pictures you posted, you have enough know-how to post them to the web. In the future, I would resize them to something like 800x600 pixels in size. They'll upload a lot faster and load a lot faster for someone to check out, especially if they are on *shudder* dial-up.

If you have any questions, send me a PM


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