Please help!!! My Stairs are literally falling!!!

Jeanette H
by Jeanette H
My stairs are falling. My husband and I have tried removing the back wall, but we still cant figure out how to fix this. We live in Miami, Florida and would like to find someone to fix it for us. The problem is that we don't even know who repairs stairs? Any advice would be very appreciated. Thanks! :)
  10 answers
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Feb 18, 2012
    Are these "normal" wood stringer type stairs? or something else? would be helpful. most stair runs are are comprised of 3 or 4 stringers that are attached top and bottom. These are normally stiff enough to span the entire run.
  • Yes, as KMS sort of said, knowing what sort of material these stairs are made of will help us to know what type of professional can repair them. Also, can you tell what the reason is for them to be falling? Lastly what exactly do you mean by "falling?" Falling off the house? Sinking into the ground? Etc.
  • Jeanette H Jeanette H on Feb 18, 2012
    Thank you for the suggestions but this doesn't answer my question because as you all can tell I am clueless about any construction/carpentry work. I did take pictures and hope the pictures will make it easier for the experts out there to give me advice. I believe the stairs are basic and made from wood. I am not sure as to why they are falling... maybe termites... maybe just old???? Not sure... Thanks for all the input and advice... :) Attached are the pictures.
  • These stairs are very typical contractor grade products. By the photos it appears that the steps were inserted between the two side boards as seen on the last two photos and that the stringers holding the stairs in the stair shape have slipped down. The old nails or screws most likely failed or rusted out which has allowed the stairs to drop down as they had. From what I can tell from the photo number 1 there appears to be two boards running up on both sides. The outer board is the one you see from the top, and the inner board on both sides is cut out in the shape of the stairs. With the treads and risers being fastened to it. Had the stairs been simply end nailed into the exposed stringers visible from the top, they would have fallen through by now. For what ever reason the nails that they used through the stair stringer that went into the second board that is exposed from the top has failed. In order to fix this you need to jack up the stairs from below. Placing a small screw jack on a board that is fastened to the inner stringer board and runs down to the jack, Carefully lift the stairs back up into position. Then using wood screws refasten them back to where they belong. You do not want to jack the steps, just the board that they rest upon. This should not be to hard to do, just going to tear up a few 2x4 boards in the process as you cut them to fit under the step and on top of your jack.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Feb 19, 2012
    Additionally I would also add some support blocking below the treads to the insides of the stringers, once they are back in position. Having a "bearing surface" will reduce the load the fasteners.
  • Jeanette H Jeanette H on Feb 19, 2012
    Thank you for the suggestions but since I am not an expert your answers really seem very complicated to me. For instance, I don't even know what a stringer is. As you can see I clearly need to hire someone to assist me with this repair. If you guys don't mind, please give me an estimate of what you or your company would charge to repair stairs like this. This way, when I shop for a repairman/company I know that I am paying what I should. Thank you so very much.
  • I think to put it in its simplest terms....get a car jack & a piece of 4"x4" or something like it to place under the stairs & on the jack to gradually jack the stairs back into their original position. They must have been nailed together. Pull the nails and replace with screws. As the others have noted, add in some supports at the sides..and at least one at the middle of the run. The middle support should should be under the stairs, running parallel with the actual steps...and it should be supported by at least one or two 4"x4" posts set into the basement concrete. I'm not in your market but you should be able to get this done for $300 to $600 depending on who is doing the work and what is required. Hope that helps!
  • As we keep telling everyone, a picture is worth a 1000 words. Jeanette, in your case you have a 2nd set of stringers. Your stairs are pre built and set between two walls. The walls had wood fastened to them already. This is the wood that you see on top view of the stairs and mimics the stringers on the stairs. The builder then placed your pre built stairs in the middle of the walls and fastened them to the stringer boards that they installed when they built the wall. Then they simply nailed the new stairs to the pre installed stringers. Those nails failed and the pre built stairs dropped. You need to lift them up with a jack and refasten them to the sides once again. When you look at the photos below you will understand once you know what the parts are called. You have a notched stringer type of stair.
  • Janet B Janet B on Feb 15, 2015
    You need a carpenter. Check at Home Depot for references.
  • Dragonintheattic Dragonintheattic on Jun 19, 2015
    A Picture would help. My husband built a frame under ours and put in a couple of shelves. These were basement stairs so no worries about finish work.