What Causes A Wood Stairway To Deteriorate And Fall Apart?

There are three things that can cause a wood stairway to fall apart.

Poor design, moisture and neglect.

Let's start with poor design, if the stairway wasn't built correctly, you could end up with a variety of different problems that realistically would be too numerous, to even think about contemplating.

I've seen stairways located next to area drain runoff, gutter downspouts and of course sprinklers. What about stairways that didn't quite make it underneath a roof overhang, where moisture from the roof soaked the entire wood stairway regularly with water.

Stairways that weren't built with the right materials or were repaired with the wrong ones.

Poor maintenance will also cause wood stairways to deteriorate and fall apart. The wood needs to be protected somehow and for the most part, it's usually protected by paint and if it isn't painted regularly, guess what, you can plan on replacing it sooner than later.

In the picture above, I'm pressing my fingers into the end of a 4 x 12 wood beam that was painted and somewhat maintained, it just wasn't painted on the very top. Where moisture accumulated regularly, soaking into this board until it was damaged and rotted.

The worst culprit for a wood stairway is moisture and if your stairway is located in an area where it's getting a regular dose of water and you don't do anything about it, it's days will be numbered.

I honestly think the biggest problem a wood stairway will ever face, will be sprinklers and irrigation systems that continue to soak the stairway, day after day. Most of the wood stairs I've replaced in the past, were damaged by sprinklers.

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