Sunday, August 1, 2010

How Not To Build Stairs...Stair Building Part 3

Or maybe I should say, 'The stairs that PL Premium built.'

This is the last stringer I was cutting. I was almost done with it. Just finishing the cuts with a jigsaw and this happened... A previously unknown check-split caused this section to just fall out!

Holy Moly was I pissed off....so close...I thought I would have to go buy another 2by12 and start all over again.....But a pro told me no, just glue it back together with PL Premium glue and the repair will be stronger than the original wood..

So I went a little glue crazy as you can see from this picture. I glued the original f-up and wow it does appear to be stronger...but then, but then, I noticed a ton more cracks in the stringer? WTF!?!?!? I swear they where not there before. So I went through the stringer and glued those also...Then I dropped the other stringer and caused a crack in one end so I glued that too.
Lets just say I glued the heck outta that stringer...



I also glued on little triangular tabs so that the joist hangers would bear fully on the wood.



The pros that saw this original set up with just the two Simpson brackets holding up the dropped rim joist where very suspicious that it would be strong enough. So, I took several of the triangular off cuts and used them as braces.
I admit that with just the Simpson brackets that there was some deflection in the joist when I shoved it hard....Now, wow, absolutely no movement. When I shove it hard with my shoulder the entire deck shakes...I think we're good with this set up.



Another major issue the pros' found with my set up was how the left hand side of the stringer was unsupported. That all the force from the stairs are carried in that corner and leaving it unsupported the stringers were guaranteed to crack.

If I was smart I would of jiggered the rise/run so that the heal would of landed on the concrete wall...now I'll have to add additional support here.

Enter the concrete anchors...It was suggested that I use 1/2 lag bolts to support a ledger that would take the stair load. I had an extra piece of PT 4by4 lying around so I decided to use that. To use the lags you need to drill a hole in the concrete 3/4" in this case deep enough to set the lag shields in. Then, when you insert the lag bolts the shield expands and locks everything in place.
WOW, drilling these holes was a huge painful PITA... It took me about a half hour per hole...luckily I have a heavy duty drill but geez, I surely coulda used an impact drill....I kept the bit cool by spraying it with water but there was nobody to keep me cool as I worked in the oven that is our sunken living room.

Turns out, using a 4by4 probably not the smartest way to go... Keeping the holes your drilling on the right path is pretty tough with that much wood to chew thru. As one pro suggested, 'I shoulda used 2 2by6's'...I had to adjust one of the holes in the wood but the other two where spot on. Man, I hope 3 bolts is enough...I tightened it up with my impact driver and WOW does this seem sturdy. Hopefully it will be sturdy enough...

I completely aggravated the two bulged discs in my back doing this...If I have to drill another couple of holes I'm going to cry like a little girl...

Here's a shot looking down the concrete wall. I'll have to shave off a bit of the new ledger probably but I'll do that as I need to when I set the stringers.



Next up is to take it easy for a day at least...it's just ice and Advil for me for a while.

Then I want to cut the treads, coat all the cut ends, I'll set the outside stringer. I'll probably install the posts and the railings-guards on the outside stringer...and install the middle stringer, but I'll have to wait to install the final stringer and to screw the treads down until after I finish residing the back of the house...

Ouch my back hurts...

8 comments:

Shane and Casey said...

Is that Milwaukee a hammer drill? I'm not familiar enough with them to tell the difference. Half an hour per hole seems insanely long. 5 minutes per hole even sounds excessive, even with the large bit. But if you were using a regular drill, then I definitely see how it took so long.

Gene said...

If you ever need to borrow a hammer drill and a variety of concrete bits, let me know (Casa Decrepit has my contact info. And they still have my drywall lift, not that I need it back any time soon or have a good place to store it. :-)

The additional cracks in the stringers aren't too surprising. By cutting the lumber, you've majorly changed the structure -- there's 1/3 or more of it gone. If the lumber wasn't completely dry before, there's a whole bunch more exposed, so some additional drying takes place in short order.

The MadScientist said...

Shane&Casey,
Nope not a hammer drill....just a regular heavy duty Milwaukee VSR drill...the bit wasn't super new either.....

The MadScientist said...

Gene,
Shoot I asked Noel if they had a hammer drill and your name never came up! He wants me to suffer.

I might have a place for that drywall lift if they get tired of storing it for you....

Ya the stringers are super soaked-wet...so maybe drying along the cutlines is causing the additional cracking...

Shane and Casey said...

Drilling into concrete without a hammer drill is asking for trouble. If you ever have to drill into concrete again, I'd at least recommend going to Harbor Freight to pick up a cheap hammer drill. In comparison to what you were using, it'll feel like you are drilling into butter (assuming the concrete bit is in good shape).

The MadScientist said...

S&C,
Ya if the nearest Harbor Fright wasn't 40min away....But a cheap disposable hammer drill to go along with my cheap-disposable sawzall might be nice...

Shane and Casey said...

Any big box stores in your area? My hammer drill was $40 at Menards and I'm sure you could find something similar at HD or Lowes.

Gene said...

@TMS - I've got a fair number of tools (enough to build a house ;-) that I'm happy to lend to friends and friends of friends. At some point I may donate the drywall lift to the Oakland Tool Lending Library, but if you've got an upcoming need for it...