stairs

Building stairs the EZ way

Posted by Steve on Sun, 03/15/2009 - 6:36pm


Shortly after I took possession of my house, I was cleaning up the cellar one afternoon when I noticed my cat, Chopper, engrossed with something halfway up the old cellar stairs. I checked to see if he might have a moth and instead saw a pile of paint chips and wood fibers below the stringer he was pawing at. With the paint removed, I saw hundreds of white wormy looking things. Termites!

How did this happen? I'd closed on the house nine months earlier. My inspector found some evidence of an old termite infestation and, to be safe, my lawyer made the closing contingent upon an exterminator's report. The report was so terse that the inspector could have Twittered it: "Found/killed two termite colonies. No evidence of internal infestation."

Evidently this bonehead's inspection was as thorough as his report because the termites had dug a tunnel from the far foundation wall, across the ceiling through a 3" floor joist, and down the stairs. It cost me $1500 to have a licensed, BBB-certified exterminator exterminate the house. There's more to that story, but I'll digress on that some other time. What matters is that I had to replace that staircase. I was very lucky it didn't collapse on me.


The Staircase



When you tackle a home renovation project you'll inevitably question the taste and common sense of the previous owners. This is one example. It’s a hundred year-old, carved red oak staircase obliterated by cheap paint. Something like this would cost at least ten thousand bucks to build from scratch today and it would still lack the same wood quality. Then again, I've never understood why anyone would prefer paint to natural hardwood.
 

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