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  1. #1
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    Default Stair stringer support

    New deck stairs today. The top of the stringers are supported by nails only. They do not have hangers or butt against a rim joist or ledger.

    I need help with repair recommendation. My thought is to cut off the stringers at the top to allow inserting a second rim joist beneath the one pictured. This would allow the stringers to butt against the new rim joist. Hangers would be easier, but I don't know of one that would fit the bill?

    Any advise is welcome,

    Thanks

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Stair stringer support

    How about attaching 2' long 2x4s directly to the 4x4 below the stringers? This would provide direct support for the stringers.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Stair stringer support

    Two things could work if done properly:

    - Through bolt blocking to the posts to support the underside of the stringer, then through bolt a cleat over the bocking and the stringer through each to the posts to keep it all together.

    - Through bolt a ledge to the side of the posts facing the stairway which support the stringers from underneath, then strapping the stringers to that new ledger.

    Either will support the stringers from underneath (which is what you want to do) and take that load directly to the posts in a manner which will not allow pull-out (through bolting solves that).

    I think either of the above would provide better support than trying to cut the stringers off and then have then bear on a new rim joist.

    Just my thoughts.

    I was typing my longer post when Gunnar replied with his shorter post - same suggestion as my first one , except that I added another back up retainer with the cleat.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Stair stringer support

    YES!

    I finally beat Jerry to the answer!

    Eat that JP!



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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Stair stringer support

    Thanks to both.

    (high five Gunner!)


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Stair stringer support

    And you even said the same thing in a lot less space.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Stair stringer support

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Carlisle View Post
    And you even said the same thing in a lot less space.

    Hey!

    Gunnar did not say "the same thing", I offered more options and additional work on the same option!



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    Default Re: Stair stringer support

    Useful illustrations:

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    Default Re: Stair stringer support

    Sorry guys (Jerry and Gunnar), I disagree. I don't think the repairs you describe are an acceptable repair.
    The portion of the stringer that is nailed to the post looks to be to narrow to provide the support. Attaching anything to the post to support the stringer will not increase the thickness of the stringer on the post.
    I think Vern had the right idea. An additional rim would give the stringer the greatest area of support. Even then, too much may have been cut off already.
    But Vern, why would you get involved in the design of the repair, leave that to the contractor, you should (IMO) just state that a repair is needed and why.

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  10. #10
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stair stringer support

    The thickness of the stringer is no different than if there was another riser. If there was another riser it would not have been cut straight across. Adding a 2x under the stringer and bolting it in place thru the 4x post would make it sturdier than if there was another riser going straight up.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Stair stringer support

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Sorry guys (Jerry and Gunnar), I disagree. I don't think the repairs you describe are an acceptable repair.
    The portion of the stringer that is nailed to the post looks to be to narrow to provide the support.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    The thickness of the stringer is no different than if there was another riser. If there was another riser it would not have been cut straight across.
    This is what Gunnar, Ted, and I are seeing, and what Ted explained, there is as much, possibly even more, wood at the post than at each tread/riser cut out, and, in fact, the line parallel with those cuts ends right there the rise cut would be - at the back of that rim joist ... leaving the same amount of useful wood as it had been cut up vertically instead of across horizontally.

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Stair stringer support

    Measure from the tip of the nose down.
    Measure from the bottom of the riser cut down.
    There is 1/3rd to 1/2 more wood at the riser that at the tip.
    (I tried to post a pic but do not know how, )

    I should not have said it is not an acceptable repair, because it should work. But IMO the rim joist is a better choice.

    Which is why I also said let someone else design the repair.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Stair stringer support

    Rick,

    You are referring to the cut off wood marked in yellow on the attached.

    Gunnar, Ted, and I are talking about supporting as shown in blue. I would even put a cleat over that and the stringer to make sure it all stays in place.

    You are talking about cutting it off at the pink marking and resting that against the rim joist.

    I don't understand why you think that will provide better support, it is the wood, except instead of being supported vertically as we are suggesting you are supporting it laterally against the rim joist, in which case you would want a hanger.

    My other suggestion was to install a ledger as shown in green from post to post.

    To me, the weakest support would be cutting it off and resting it against a rim joist. Just my opinion.

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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Stair stringer support

    "You are referring to the cut off wood marked in yellow on the attached."
    Yes.
    How much can be cut off before it affects how secure the stairs are.
    How much can be cut off before the wood splits and cracks.
    I don't know.

    "Gunnar, Ted, and I are talking about supporting as shown in blue..."
    I understand that.
    In my first post I misspoke and said that was unaccaptable. In my next post I corrected myself and said IMO I prefer the stringer being attached to the rim joist.

    "You are talking about cutting it off at the pink marking and resting that against the rim joist."
    Yes.

    "I don't understand why you think that will provide better support,..."
    Well because, stairs are normally attached to a (rim) joist.
    If I bought that house and was making the repair, I would most likely do as you describe. But if I were building a new stair I would attach the stringers to the joist.

    "you are supporting it laterally against the rim joist, in which case you would want a hanger."
    Yes


    "To me, the weakest support would be cutting it off and resting it against a rim joist. Just my opinion."
    Lets say, you are building a new house for yourself. In your new house is a set of stairs. How would you prefer it to be done?

    Thanks

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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Stair stringer support

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Lets say, you are building a new house for yourself. In your new house is a set of stairs. How would you prefer it to be done?

    I would "prefer" the stringer to be supported vertically at each end, and if *I* were building a house with a stair I would do so.

    That does not mean a builder or stair builder would do so as it is *much easier* to build a landing, support the landing vertically, support the landing horizontally (usually against a wall), then bear the top of the stair stringers horizontally against the landing framing, then nail on a strap to hold the stair stringers to the landing.

    But, you did ask.

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Stair stringer support

    " But, you did ask"
    Yes I did, and thank you for your response.

    "...as it is *much easier* ..."
    I thought it was primarily done that way because it was better, not because it is easier.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Stair stringer support

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    I thought it was primarily done that way because it was better, not because it is easier.
    It is much easier for the stair builders, either building off-site or on-site, to build the stair that way, then just set the stair in place (or set the stringers in place and build the risers and treads on the stringers).

    I prefer to support loads which are almost entirely vertical gravity loads vertically, then brace them off laterally for stability, rather than (in the case of a stair) support the bottom vertically and the top horizontally, then strap the bottom and top in place to keep it from moving laterally (if the bottom moves away from the landing, there is no longer any support for the top). If you are going to support the stringers against the side of some type of framing, then at least install a ledger strip (2x2 minimum) to the framing to rest the stringers on (simply notch the underside of the top of the stringer) and carry as much vertical load as possible on that ledger strip.

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  18. #18
    Thomas Kirchner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stair stringer support

    Doesn't really matter what you do guys, that knot on the bottom edge of the stringer is going to cause the stringer to fail anyway.
    That carpenter was not trained how to select and use lumber properly.
    Add a 2x4 along the lower edge of the stringer, support both with 2x4 legs along the 4x4.....what a cluster...sheesh!

    I hope you check this place out closely.


  19. #19
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stair stringer support

    I inspected a townhouse today that had stringers made out 1" material and the riser and step tread support routed into the board. This left about a 1/2" to support the weight of the stairs. The only stringer support was where it rested on the floor and attached to the second level floor joist. The stairs have flexed so much over the years the drywall attached to the stair molding has cracked.

    The home was built in 1985 and I can't find any code that says a stair stringer can be constructed out of 1" stock. It looks like the stairs were built off-site and brought in. They are built more like cabinets than stairs.

    They definitely need some attention but I am wondering about the 1" material routed about halfway into at each step tread.

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  20. #20
    Thomas Kirchner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stair stringer support

    I've seen quite a few staircases built with 5/4" (1" actual size) lumber, however there is either a supporting wall below the stringers or the stringers are attached laterally to the wall at each wall stud.

    Is that a heat-generating appliance under the stairs? Yikes!


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