Thursday, October 20, 2011

Stairs with No Screws?

Here's a new twist on stairs...  No fasteners. Well, not very many anyways.

When I was looking at this deck in Muskoka, I nearly missed this. Normally I am pretty quick on the critiques, but it was one of the last things I noticed. The deck did look fairly good, and it was a new build. Ford had it's better idea... (the Pinto).
Chev had it's better idea... (the Vega)

And this carpenter's better idea, gluing stairs together with flooring adhesive... YIKES!

 There are a few finishing nails to hold the outer stringers on until the glue sets... but the only screws, (which shouldn't be used for stairs anyhow), were toenailed into the stringers 1 per plank.

Please don't try this at home people... VERY DANGEROUS to mess with stairs when you don't have a clue what you are doing. I know, not a fair statement. This guy knew enough to build a beautiful deck, and the only flaw other than the stairs that I could find were a few odd spaced joists and some joist hangers that are too small. He won't know that the glued stringers idea didn't work...because he ran off with the client's money. That's why I was there--they had me price finishing the rails. I designed a nice system for the rails that matched the log home rather nicely if I don't say so myself!

So, to sum up, as wood expands and contracts glue will separate on exterior work. Wood shrinks in all directions. Unless the grains are aligned and you use marine epoxy... glue will release. These stairs will come tumbling down, maybe not this year... but likely within 3. 

When stairs collapse it nearly always ends in injury...and they nearly always collapse when someone of size is using them, which makes the injury worse.


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