I'm building stairs from a deck down to an aggregate concrete slab
below. Is there anything I should do to my stringers (2x pressure
treated pine) to protect the wood to slab connection? So far I havent
read anything that suggests they should be wrapped or coated in
anything...but I'm concerned that they'll collect water there and rot
a lot faster. Should I be worried about this? Any suggestions to make
the stringer ends last longer? Thanks!
I fasten a crosspiece to the bottom. The crosspiece sits on the ground,
and the ends of the stringers are fastened to it. The crosspiece will
(hypothetically) rot first, and I can replace it. It's the same idea as
putting a rot board at the bottom of a fence.
You can also play around with sloping things so they drain better, if
you like. I don't know of anything that will preserve your wood better
than what's already there from the pressure treatment. Waterproofers
like caulk or tar will just keep the ends from drying out, promoting
Ah, that might not be a bad idea. Just to clarify, do you normally use
one 2x piece as the crosspiece? (deep enough to completely support the
stringers...in this case would probably need to be a length of 2x12).
I'm assuming you lag bolt the crosspiece to the slab then bracket the
stringers onto the crosspiece? This could be a great solution, just
getting used to the concept. Also, in your experience is replacing
that crosspiece fairly easy? (obviously, easier than replacing 2
stringers so maybe that doesnt really matter). Thanks for your help!
I haven't had to actually replace one yet, but I suppose I would:
* Remove the last couple of treads.
* Unfasten the stringers from any support posts.
* Jack up the bottom of the stairs enough to get tools under the end.
* Whale away at the fasteners until I accomplish the deed.
Deck stairs are usually pretty short, so complete disassembly wouldn't
be too horrible.
* Use stainless steel fasteners, especially near the ground. They're
recommended for pressure treated wood anyhow. Whatever kind of
fasteners you use, make sure they're rated for use with your PT wood.
* If you're putting in a new concrete pad, slope it so it drains away
from your stairs. 1/4" per foot is pretty good for concrete.
* Put a third stringer down the middle of the steps. They'll feel much
sturdier, and they won't break when the husky guys come to install the
hot tub. :)
On Wed, 20 Aug 2008 22:01:05 -0700 (PDT), stratfordone
Pt wood will eventually rot and the strategy is to extend this time as
long as possible. Any part touching a concrete slab or ground that is
end-grain is especially vulnerable. In that case, you can cut "pads"
of wood and fasten these onto the end grain. Use a penetrating oil
stain. You may also consider metal brackets that keep the wood up off
the slab so the end grain can dry out.
I prefer to cut "pads" similar to what is described above, but not out of
wood, but using plastic. Most any thick plastic will do, the thicker the
better as it lifts the end grain away from the concrete and water. My
preference is to use 1/2" thick polyethylene. Attach it to the bottom of the
stringer with stainless steel screws.
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