Stairs on deck are beginning to warp


  #1  
Old 08-22-02, 11:49 AM
mjmungin
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Unhappy Stairs on deck are beginning to warp

I just moved into a new house that I had built. The house came with a (pressure treated wood) deck that was completed about 4 months ago.
Upon moving in, we noticed that a number of the deck stairs are beginning to warp. (If standing on the ground and looking at the stairs head on, the front and back of the step is curling up.)
I spoke to the builder about this and he stated that it was probably due to the intense heat this summer and that over time it would correct itself. Others I've spoken with have told me that the cause is more likely bad wood, but whatever the cause, it won't correct itself and I should get new steps. Will such warping correct itself or should I get the builder to replace them now?

Secondly, the builder stated not to stain the deck for at least a year to let the wood "settle" (something like that). I've seen info saying to wait before staining the deck, but I also see info saying that I should waterproof/seal it right away. What is the proper timing for staining/painting and sealing?

thanks
 
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Old 08-22-02, 07:07 PM
josh1
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im going to make a guesstimate. You have 2x10 or larger treads?

The problem of "warping" or cupping as its called happens to virtually all wood larger than 2x6... ( this is why you dont see decks with 2x8 decking even though it would be faster to lay down) Depending on the mode of construction there are several options. If the tread cut is deep enough you can use 2 -2x6s for the new treads. Much less prone to cupping. This is my preference.

Hope this helps-Josh
 
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Old 08-22-02, 07:10 PM
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Stairs on deck are beginning to warp

mjmungin,

Well, I haven't seen warped wood straighten itself out yet and I don't think any will. It sounds as if this was only nailed down, not screwed. Possible the other issue is that the boards were not laid correctly. The builder should replace the wood immediately - his cost M & L period!

The issue of stain/sealing wood - do it now. There have been so many myths out there that everyone will believe anything! If you wait a year, you may not acquire the look that you wanted and the deck may soak up alot of stain. You probably will even have to powerwash it before you even do anything. With most products today, oil base stains are designed to be applied as soon as your project is done. Your deck has been sitting now but wait 2-3 weeks after the new stair tread are in before initiating the stain/seal process.

Hope this helps!
 
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Old 08-23-02, 03:41 AM
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mjmungin,

Doug and Josh are both correct. Your treads were probably intalled upside down. Look at the rings - the bark side sh be up.

fred
 
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Old 08-23-02, 09:15 AM
rc101
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You can stain new wood one month after the deck is built. The key word is stain. Most stains offer a latex or acrylic surface coating.

But there are other wood care products available like Flood's CWF-UV. These are clear wood oil finishes that penetrate deep into the wood fibers to protect. They are not film forming products. Their effectiveness depends on their ability to sink deep into wood.

For that reason, Flood recommends that new wood weather for one full year if you intend to use a clear wood finish. To protect weathering wood you should use Seasonite; a wood conditioner.

For more info and products from Flood check out :[http://www.floodco.com]

rc
 
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Old 08-23-02, 01:45 PM
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mjmungin and rc101,

Oil based stains are not acrylic or latex. And most new oil base stains are formulated to be applied shortly after a deck is built. Any acrylic or latex sealer/coating will be peeling in two years on horizontal surfaces.

Clear wood finishes offer very little UV resistance. Most all UV protection is found in the colored oxide particles found in toned stains.
I recommend staining in the very near future - if you wait too long the sun will start turning the deck grey and it will accumulate dirt and need a pressure washing.

The top three stains as rated by Consumer Reports are Sikkens, Cabots, and Wolman F&P. If you would like a copy of the report, PM me and I will furnish you a copy.

fred
Deck-Kleen Powerwashing.
 
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Old 08-27-02, 10:34 AM
Davef15
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"the bark side sh be up"

With all due respect - and this is what virtually all primers on deck building say, the quality of PT lumber is such that a lot of the times you will have bark - or at minimum, rounded edges where the bark was, on the top side if you follow this practice. The fact is PT lumber is made from SYP - the cheapest, hardest wood available - good for nothing else except packing crates and railroad cars - except it takes the Pressure treating chemicals well. They cut the trees too soon (small diameter) and try and use every cu in of lumber in the tree. The only way aropund this is to hand select your lumber - if the yard will let you. I've checked every yard in the area - Even the ones that advertise #1 grade have this problem.

With regard to the use of screws to prevent curling, they help but don't eliminate it. The reason is the lumber shrinks substantially and while, when it was installed, it was screwed tight, as the lumber shrinks, the screws "loosen" because the lumber is not as thick as it was and the curling still occurs.

2x6's do cup - I got a lot of them. They are just not as noticable as what one would notice on a 2x8 or 2x10.

Best method I have seen (and used ) to keep stair treads flat is to let them into the side of the stringer rather than notching and nailing them from the top down.
 
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Old 08-27-02, 07:17 PM
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Davef15,

"Bark side up" is only a figure of speech. Of course you wouldn't install a deck board with bark on it. You need to look at the end grain and and the rings.
fred
 
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Old 08-27-02, 11:02 PM
josh1
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growth rings up... growth rings down. you can argue this forever. Go with 2 2x6s and put the pretty side up or the non grade stamp side. call it a day -Josh
 
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Old 09-09-02, 12:04 AM
s2sl
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Seen this happen time and again over the years.

Whatever the cause you have to look at how do I fix it.

1. You can have the builder come back his cost P & L. Not likely going to happen from what I gather though, as he is feeding you a line of BS to keep your mouth shut.

2. If he used screws, try tightening them, as as the wood shrinks, the screws will become looser, not much, but it will probably help a bit.

3. If he didn't use screws, sue him, it's industry standard everywhere you go, and he did a shotty job.

If none of that works build it again and build it right this time. these other guys have given you a lot of good advice here.

Good luck,

Andrew Macintosh
Sea to Sky Landscaping
 
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Old 09-09-02, 07:22 PM
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I don't know how many times I been in this discussion of growth rings. Guys were talking about this Saturday morning at the lumber yard while munching the donuts. When you worked for my daddy you put bark side up... that's just the way you did it, end of discussion kinda thing unless you wanted a knot on ya head I think this may be more important if you're nailing but I think if you screw 'em down right you just go with the best looking side which ever way it goes. I

'm a believer in predrilling. Something I've seen is screws sucked right thru the 2x6's without predrilling lot of times doesn't allow the plank to be pulled down completely to the joist.

I don't have as serious problem as mentioned above with poor quality wood but still have to hand pick it. And all the yards I buy from here don't have a problem with that. Even when buying bundles if it's a bad piece I send it back especially if it's the best grade. Southern Yellow Pine is grown so fast nowdays that it just not the quality of the old growth pine but them days are gone I reckon. I know if you show my dad a #1 piece of todays lumber you'll get the "harrumph" sound and he'll shake his head in disbelief.
Dennis
 
 

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