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41

Steps should always have uniform rise. In fact, codes require it (to within 3/8" maximum total variance per IIRC). Our brains expect that the step following the first will be about the same, and it's guaranteed to cause stumbling and worse if you do it lop-sided. Splitting the height puts you square in the range given by accessibility guidelines. Be ...


36

Those wooden circles are plugs that will pry out of the holes in the balusters. Under that would be a pre-drilled hole for a screw (typically). I would have never used nails on this in the first place. The correct fix is going to be to remove the nails and replace them with screws that fit into the existing holes snugly. If there is really just a nail ...


27

Make every single rise absolutely identical, period. Video of people consistently tripping on NYC subway stairs which have a single non-uniform risen step I would test to see if 2 x 5.25 inch rises feel more natural or 3 x 3.5 According to https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards?catid=0&id=314: Stair riser heights shall be 7 inches (178 mm)...


23

Those look like temporary steps to me. For carpeting you usually see 1-1/8" bullnose particle board treads and 1x8 or 3/4" plywood risers. Rarely is two-by lumber left as a final product, as it's heavier-duty than necessary and creates very thick and squarish nosings when carpeted. We'd commonly do something like that, or doubled scrap plywood, until after ...


20

No. It's all or nothing. Imagine a visually-impaired person (or someone in the dark) coming down your stairs and the rail ends. What's the assumption? That they've reached the bottom. That can end badly.


19

Dog-Leg stairs Structurally, the flights of a dog-leg stair are usually supported by the half-landing, which spans the adjoining flank walls. Image: Bill Bradley. CC by SA 3.0 In this arrangement, the stringers are joined to a newel post. The lower landing is also partly supported by the newel post. The upper by only the flanking walls and, I guess, ...


15

If it's structural (the tread/risers are supported by it), it's called a stringer. If it's not structural, it's called skirting (or simply a skirt). Source (PDF)


14

I would also say those look like temporary stairs, but lets ignore that for the moment. You correctly observe that there are gaps on every stair between the tread and riser and the photos show that the gaps are even. Now having well made stairs is very important in that uneven or other badly made stairs are a safety risk. gaps are often a pointer to uneven ...


14

Sand and Paint Veneer or replace treads - that's a lot of work. Carpet - relatively easy - but you said you don't want that. Don't try to sand and stain - the level of sanding will be much more than for painting and I suspect in the end you will find so much old paint that staining won't work well. Which leaves Sand and Paint as the best option. No matter ...


11

A vibrating or oscillating sander isn't going to be aggressive enough for that job. It's really only suitable for light finish sanding. You need something that spins, or at least something with a random orbit (more movement). 80 grit is probably a good choice for working through the varnish on your steps but you need the moves only a different type of sander ...


8

Typically a riser bracket is used, it would help if the stair return was longer but a piece of lattice cut to follow the zig-zag of the stair may work too. EDIT 1-5-2016 Here is another angle....


8

That's not a hole. That's just the bottom. Steps like this are poured on the dirt, and while the dirt level probably should have been flatter and lower (for aesthetic reasons), this isn't a structural flaw. Attempting to patch it will make things worse, visually speaking. Put some mulch over the bottom edge or raise the soil level a bit and be happy.


7

If you had an professional engineer design the whole unit as an assembly it may be possible to have the railings and metal concrete reinforcing members in the steps and risers work as a trussed span structure that was only supported at the bottom step and at the top step. This is definitely not a project for any local neighborhood handyman, general masonry ...


7

With the limited space on the right side. Here's a couple ideas that may help you. Buy or build yourself a pair of stair posts. If you choose to purchase, they come in all sorts of different sizes and designs. Example Build a half wall or full wall on both sides. Lots of ideas bouncing around the Internet. Be creative.


7

The riser is installed first for the reason that you want a nice tight fit along the top of the riser to the tread above it. There is always the possibility that there is a small variation in the width of the riser boards or the height of the notches cut in the stair jacks. The back edge of the tread can then be slid right up to the riser for a nice tight ...


7

If you can no longer see the openings in the drywall your contractor did a good job, molding is there to cover the ends at the floor and edges at openings so there is no need to go back it will not change anything as every house I have remodeled and built has some spaces that are covered by molding.


7

That handrail does not meet code, because it is not continuous from top to bottom of stairway and the ends do not terminate correctly at the bottom. The Code (ICC R311.7.7) requires handrails: 1) Height to be between 30” and 38” above the nosing of the tread, and 2) Be continuous on at least one side of a stairway with 4 or more risers and be from a ...


6

If your house will always be occupied by sedate adults and slow seniors, then you should install newel posts or stub half-walls (per Doc306). But if you have teenagers, or children who will become teenagers, then such half-measures will not survive. Teenage humans move quickly and will use any available handholds to change direction quickly. Posts and half-...


6

I had a similar problem with stringers in direct contact with cement that had water runoff. I sawed off 1/2" from the bottom of each of four stringers,screwed in 4- 2 1/2" stainless steel lag screws into the bottom of each stringer. Once back in place, backed out the lag screws like leveling a washing machine. End result, the stringers were 1/2&...


6

Screwing an eye bolt into the front of the tread then pulling might work, but it leaves you with the extra work of patching up screw holes on every single tread. It might also lead to splitting your treads! If the tread is nailed in place/stuck near the riser and you pull too hard on the nose, you could crack it and that will be an even more difficult repair....


5

Spindles (also called balusters) on a staircase are supposed to be properly spaced, structured and attached to prevent a toddler (or anyone else) from falling under the railing. Typical spacing is 4" on centers, too narrow to fit even a small head between, but check your local code. Obviously children could insert a limb and get hurt, but collapse is ...


5

Use a prybar to lever up the treads about 1/8" and then use a Sawzall type reciprocating saw with a metal blade to cut the shank between the tread and the riser. Check to see if you can rent the reciprocting saw at a tool rental. The blades are readily available at any Hardware and Tool supply. You won't be wanting to drive back into the same hole as the ...


5

Absolutely do not use an expanding gap filler, it will make matters worse. If you have verified that each step is level so that it doesn't need to be re-secured to the tread than the gaps can be filled. Also verify that the steps are not loose or shifting. The easiest and most used product to fill each gap would be a latex caulking. A cartridge (or tube) ...


5

Unfortunately, as with most questions like this, you're going to have to talk to an engineer. A bunch of amateur DIYers on the internet, is not the proper resource for this type of information. You're making a major structural change to a building, and you don't want it to cause property damage or personal injury. The "correct" and responsible thing to do,...


5

Untreated plywood and oak will rot if heavily exposed to water. You need to switch your thinking to how an outdoor staircase is built. They use rot resistant wood, treated wood, or composite materials. Marine plywood is a popular idea for water resistance but, due to its chemical composition, it isn't a healthy wood to use in a house. If children spend a ...


5

No, those gaps are nothing to worry about. As you correctly stated, when the stairs are carpeted, they will be invisible and their location makes them unimportant. If you do, in fact, want exposed wood stairs at some future date, the wood you see there is not the wood you would want to be exposed. You would either replace the treads and apply a "veneer" ...


5

Cutting your stringers that way will absolutely weaken them. Your "After" diagram shows the space under the stairs filled in with something; if that "something" does a good job in supporting the newly-weakened stringers, then you may be OK.


5

The issue you are running into now is that end grains are poor for holding power. I would make 2x4 blocks 4” long and secure it in the corners underneath each side of the steps. The grain should run front to back, screw it into the stringer, then pull the stairs tight together, then screw the treads into the block; this will lock it into place.


5

A cardboard or soft aluminium (from a drink can) shim sounds like an excellent solution to the problem. You want it just thick enough that the screws into the handrail cause the loop to grip tightly when they are done up.


5

Yes, 4 or fewer risers do not require a handrail. (See ICC R311.7.7) and must be 36” wide minimum. Risers cannot exceed 8” and treads cannot be less than 9”. (See ICC R311.7.4) Also, the largest riser cannot be more than 3/8” different than the smallest in the same run. (See ICC R311.7.41) There has been some discussion in the past (between Building ...


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