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1910/1920's interior stairwell between first and second floor


Old 01-26-14, 01:59 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2014
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1910/1920's interior stairwell between first and second floor

My aunt wants me to repair her interior stairwell in her home. However, her home was built in 1910 (first floor) and the second floor was added in 1920. Between these floors there is obviously a stairwell.

Her primary problem (I haven't actually inspected it yet), is that the vertical supports are diverging at the base, so some of the bottom risers have actually fallen on the diverging side.

One side of the stairwell is part of the wall, and the other side is exposed with a railing.

Now, since her house is from 1910-1920, it's a sure bet that the flooring on both levels is hardwood, and not plywood. There is no lead paint thank god.

So my questions:

1: How many surprises will there be in such an old house (for instance, hardwood subflooring, etc), regardless of the specific work that I am doing.

2: Should I repair broken treads with tapered dowels (that are over 100 years old), or replace them entirely.

3: In fact, is it advisable to reuse/repair any wood that old, or just replace all of it on the entire stairwell (basically rebuild her stairs).

4: Will I encounter any significant structural deviations from modern stairwells?
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Old 01-26-14, 03:38 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2014
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Help a girl! Be a man!
Old 01-26-14, 07:25 PM
BridgeMan45's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 3,196
Unfortunately, your questions (for the most part) can't be answered without seeing what the stairway and house framing are composed of, and the condition of the members. When you get things opened up, take a few pix, and post them here.

Generally speaking, most skilled craftspeople (who care, and aren't watching the clock) are inclined to retain and improve older wood structures instead of replacing everything, simply because of the high quality lumber that was often used in those days.

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