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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all! New here so hopefully I’m posting this in the right place.

My basement stairs are connected to the cinderblock wall of the basement. The stairs have a noticeable slant to the one side. You can see the stair treads (or stinger?) have started to gap between them and the wall.

The stairs are open on the other side. The previous owners put a 2x4 under the open side of the stairs for ‘support.’ I’ve thought about using a jack post, but I’m not sure that will solve the problem.

I don’t feel like the stairs are moving or pulling away when walking up and down them. I thought perhaps the floor joist was sagging, but it shows level. The under part of the stairs seem to have less of a gap then the top, though I’m just basing this from looking.

I want to eventually close in these stairs, but want to make sure they are sturdy and secure first. Any ideas on what’s going on and how to fix it will be greatly appreciated!
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When I zoomed in, it doesn't look like it's pulling away from concrete to me. To me, it looks like the caulking or whatever they sealed/painted it with to the concrete is dried up and cracking.

Could be the picture, wait for someone else to take a close up look.
 

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retired framer
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They should be strong enough with out being tied to the wall.
Tie a string below the bottom tread and pull it tight over the top tread and that will show you if the stringer has sagged in the middle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
When I zoomed in, it doesn't look like it's pulling away from concrete to me. To me, it looks like the caulking or whatever they sealed/painted it with to the concrete is dried up and cracking.

Could be the picture, wait for someone else to take a close up look.
the stair treads are definitely away from the concrete block/wall. You might be seeing the color of the original concrete. I painted/dry locked the basement when I moved it, and painted the basement stairs. There was no old caulking or anything between the stair treads and wall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
They should be strong enough with out being tied to the wall.
Tie a string below the bottom tread and pull it tight over the top tread and that will show you if the stringer has sagged in the middle.
How do I know it’s not the stringer coming away from the wall? There is no middle stringer.
 

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retired framer
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How do I know it’s not the stringer coming away from the wall? There is no middle stringer.
Stairs have been built for 100s of years with out a middle stringer and they do not have to be nailed to the wall to be strong.
Do you see any nail or screw heads that would indicate it was attached to the wall. Wood changes shape all the time so maybe it will be closer to the wall in a different season.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Stairs have been built for 100s of years with out a middle stringer and they do not have to be nailed to the wall to be strong.
Do you see any nail or screw heads that would indicate it was attached to the wall. Wood changes shape all the time so maybe it will be closer to the wall in a different season.
What would be holding the stairs up? Just where they are attached at the top?

There are some nails going into the stringer on the wall side. I’m not sure if they make it to the wall or not. The nails are not consistent all the way down.
 

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The entire staircase is supported by the two stringers and the top landing where the stringers are attached (and the bottoms ends of the stringers sitting on the basement floor).

You could cure the entire problem as you described it by installing a piece of 2x6 vertically under the stringer down to the floor at the halfway point up the stairs. At the bottom have a piece of pressure treated 2x4 eight inches long lying flat to better distribute weight on the floor. But all this would not do any good unless you did it for both stringers.
 

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Your block foundation will NOT be absolutely flat and plumb. Photo even shows uneven joints. That means any gap between the blocks and the stairs will not be even. Maybe you think the stairs is pulling away but maybe it's the way it looks. Stairs probably was not installed flat against the block wall anyway. Some movement is always possible but as long as your top and bottom are anchored, whole stairs should be fine. I'm seeing stringer cut from wide lumber (2x12) with risers and treads and then 2x4 added to stiffen the stringer. If any nail (masonary nail or maybe tapcon screws or anchors), probably just to hold the stringer during construction and no real load support. The way it is built, plenty strong enough to handle the weights of furniture and such. My front wood steps are falling apart but refrige came up it.:) Best for you would be to call a carpenter for inspection (mostly for fasteners - if still good, if enough) then close up the spaces as you like.
 

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You could build a wall where the hanger rod is, with diagonal bracing to prevent it from racking. Double studs on both ends, double top plate. Anchor securely to the floor, don’t need to anchor to the wall. Bevel the top plate, not the stair stringer, so you have full contact.

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I do see where you cut the black paint of the tread and got a little on the wall, so I believe you saying it was originally against the CMU. I would bet that you inadvertently bumped the stair and shifted it away from the wall. As others said, it doesn't need to be and shouldn't be attached to the CMU, it just rests on the bottom of the two stringers and is attached at the upper floor. You can fasten a block to the floor and then the stringers into that block to prevent it from moving sideways.
 
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