It is all too common for people to ignore stair maintenance, especially when considering timber stairs. You may be surprised to know that timber stairs require more care and maintenance than decks do. Stairs have lots of different check outs (grooves for the step treads) in the stringers (stringers are the timber beams that support the step treads) and posts where water can get into the timber. When water gets into the timber it creates the perfect conditions for dry rot, which is the most common form of timber rot.
In the photo you can see the bottom step tread has been replaced, but the timber stringer has not been replaced. It is clear that because of the dry rot there is no solid timber left around the stringer to support the step tread. To overcome this problem, a piece of timber has been screwed to the stringer to support the new step tread – this is a very dangerous practise. If additional timber needs to be added to the stringers to support the new step treads, the structural integrity of the stairs has been compromised and the stringer/s need to be replaced. This photo is a good illustration of a set of stairs where maintenance is no longer an option.
Do you have any maintenance questions about your own deck? Send us an email and we will answer any questions that you have ([email protected]).