Incorrect stairs per home inspector

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  #1  
Old 05-15-18, 02:02 PM
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Incorrect stairs per home inspector

Hello, our home inspector flagged our deck stairs in the home we purchased last winter. Seems that they are attached wrong. There are seven steps. I know the shear strength of screws and nails should not be relied upon. The stairs seem very solid right now. How big of a risk is this and what would be the best way way to correct? Posts? Other type of fasteners?

Thanks

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Last edited by PJmax; 05-15-18 at 05:06 PM. Reason: reoriented/enlarged/enhanced pictures
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  #2  
Old 05-15-18, 05:07 PM
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I'm no expert but it doesn't look like there is very much holding those stairs up.
 
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Old 05-15-18, 05:40 PM
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I too am not see much attaching the stair stringers to the deck. It appears they nailed a board flat/horizontally to the bottom of the joists which doesn't even go the full width of the stairs or end on a joist. Then they attached another board vertically to which the stair stringers attach. Not a very good arrangement. If you look you can see that the stair stringers end right at the bottom of the deck joist without a direct connection to the joists. It may be solid now but it relies on a load path through numerous fasteners. If you wish there are numerous books and websites that describe many different methods to properly attach stairs to a deck.
 
  #4  
Old 05-15-18, 05:41 PM
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What do you think of using these to resolve? I’m surprised how solid the stairs feel right now.
 
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Old 05-15-18, 08:01 PM
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On the underside of the top stair riser, there is a 2x6 that is set horizontally nailed up into the rim board of the deck. The stairs are attached to that. What you want to do is, remove that horixonal board and turn it vertical and attach to the back of the stair riser. This will make it flush with the rim board. Then take a 2x12 and span both the rim board and the riser board and nail them together so your forces of the stairs are on the horizontal fasteners, not the vertical ones.
 
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Old 05-16-18, 05:04 AM
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Yep, those stairs are only held up by the nails holding the top tread to the stringer and the nails holding that "upside-down-header" to the joists.
One "family reunion picture" of everyone sitting on the stairs would probably bring them down.

Option 1 is to replace the 2x6 rim joist that the top tread is resting against with with 2 x 12 composite rim joist nailed to the other joists, that way the stair stringers are nailed to the rim joist, and the rim joist is nailed to the rest of the joists.

Option 2 is to raise the stringers by 1 step so they're nailed to the existing 2x6 rim joist.
That would make the top step is even with the deck,
What is the bottom of the staircse sitting on? This would mean raising the entire staircase up by 1 step
and placing the bottom of the stiarcase on a pad of pavers or concrete block to create the bottom step.
 

Last edited by Hal_S; 05-16-18 at 05:26 AM.
  #7  
Old 05-16-18, 06:03 AM
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Thanks Hal. What do you think of czizzi’s suggestion? Seems like an easier fix that replacing the entire rim joist or lifting the stairs.

Thanks all.
 

Last edited by Aelk799; 05-16-18 at 06:54 AM.
  #8  
Old 05-16-18, 06:07 AM
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Your stairs have several problems according to current codes.

The stairs themselves probably aren't going anywhere as long as that flat 2x6 doesn't get loose. That is why they currently feel solid. But the jacks are only bearing on 1 1/2" the way they sit... as long as the bottom of the stairs can't slide out, the Jacks can't go anywhere. If the bottom is not secured in any way, the the risk is higher because the weight rating would be lower. One code interpretation requires a single tread to be able to hold 300lbs in a 4 Sq in area. Yours may meet that or it may not. They are certainly substandard.

Short of rebuilding the stairs so the first tread is level with the deck, you could replace the flat 2x6 with a 6x6. Lag it to the bottom of your joists with ledger loks, then you would have more beef behind the steps. Corner anchors (like a Simpson A34) could then be used to attach each stringer to the 6x6.

The bottom of the Jacks should also be restrained somehow, and your pics don't show that. The 4x4 posts that make up your guard rail often serve this purpose, since they are anchored to a post footing... then the Jacks are bolted to the sides of the 4x4s. But you have no guardrail on the sides of the stairs on a staircase... required with 4 or more risers and 30" fall potential.

Open risers are not allowed by current codes that dictate that no 4" sphere may pass.
 
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Old 05-16-18, 06:44 AM
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Few more photos attached to address some of the concerns raised. I noticed that are a few metal ties that don’t seem to be installed properly too.

So any consensus? Not looking to rebuild the stairs. Deck is probably 20 years old. Deck boards in good condition. Just looking for the simplest solution to make the stairs safe.

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Last edited by PJmax; 05-16-18 at 08:23 PM. Reason: enlarged/reoriented pics
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Old 05-16-18, 06:59 AM
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The existing guardrail looks pretty short too. Minimum 36" hight from deck surface.

It doesn't look like the posts at the bottom of the stairs are secured to anything... thus they can slide out if enough downward force causes the stair Jacks to give way.

I would say the simplest thing to do is remove the flat 2x6, replace it with the 6x6, and use Simpson A34s to tie all the Jacks to the 6x6.

You would need the 6x6, #14 x 7 ledger loks, Simpson A34 hangers, and Simpson #9 x 1 1/2" screws.
 
  #11  
Old 05-16-18, 07:21 AM
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Can you clarify “jacks”. Are you referring to the stringers?
 
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Old 05-16-18, 08:06 AM
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Yes, stair jacks are also called stringers.
 
  #13  
Old 05-16-18, 09:15 AM
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Thanks. Not visualizing how an A34 would attach. Wouldn’t a stringer tie like the one I posted below be applicable?

Thanks.. appreciate all the help.
 
  #14  
Old 05-16-18, 09:31 AM
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You get under the stairs and put 1 side on the jack, the other side on the 6x6. The 6x6 takes the place of your flat 2x6 and attaches to the bottom of the floor joists behind the stair Jack's. You would remove the riser that is currently there in order to connect the Jack directly to the 6x6.

Your Simpson 2.5s aren't meant to be used as hangers.
 
  #15  
Old 05-16-18, 09:37 AM
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Ah. Got it. Removing the riser makes sense. Thanks again!
 
  #16  
Old 05-20-18, 01:04 PM
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Hate to be the bearer of more bad news but that handrail isn’t up to code either. It has to extend to a point above the lowest riser, which currently it only extends to the second lowest riser. As far as those hurricane ties you posted earlier, those would not work. They’re very small and would not be able to support that type of loading.
 
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