should we just replace, or would supporting them work?

We have a house that was built in the 20s, and the basement stairs are starting to sag. Would using a floor jack to support them be a good solve or would you replace them. My husband has medical problems and might not be able to do the work. What do you think
  4 answers
  • Quite often older steps tend to be under built. Many years ago basements were not used as they are today. So the original steps are simply wearing out from the additional use with today's living style. Depending on where they are sagging will depend upon the type of repair you need to make. If they are in the center of the basement and not against any wall, you can purchase 2x10 boards the length of the stringers, (boards that support the steps on ends) and bolt them to the older steps. this will support the sides of the steps and prevent them from warping or sagging any more. If the steps appear to be dropping were they connect at the top landing, then you need to put in posts on each side and bolt them to the sides of the steps to prevent them from moving. If the steps need to move back up using a small auto jack place a small board on top of jack to the bottom stringer on one side and carefully jack up until the step is were its supposed to be located. Then install one post. Do the same for the other side and the steps are once again secure. You could use the floor jacks that are round poles with screw top that is used to support floor beams. But these are expensive and way overkill for the task at hand. Two treated lumber posts and a few bolts will do the trick nicely. You may want to consider metal four inch bases that are simply tacked onto the bottom of the new posts to prevent moisture from wicking up into the posts as they sit on the cement floor. The last thing that happens to stairs is that when they built the home and poured the cement, it was quite common for the stairs to have been placed directly onto the dirt. Then the cement was poured around them. This method of install secured the steps nicely unit moisture and termites begin to eat away at the bottom of the step. The result is the stairs begin to drop as the wood falls apart. The fix for this is to rebuild the bottom of the stringers and fill the old holes in cement with cement.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jan 16, 2012
    This depends a bit on whether it is sagging treads....or sagging stringers. I have seen plenty of stairs built with only side stingers...this results in saggy treads as there is no center support. In these cases beefing up the treads can sometimes be enough. In the case of sagging stringer a center support column that bridges across the mid span can often get things back up to par.
  • KMS got me thinking on this. If the side stingers are coming loose from the steps. Using a threaded rod and spanning the width of the steps with this from stringer to stringer you can pull the sides of the stringers back into the steps and prevent lots of failing issues. Three or four of these on a set of steps make them quite strong.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jan 16, 2012
    Teamwork Bob...that'll get her done.
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