Tear Down Old Wood Deck Stairs and Landing

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The rickety old deck stairs and landing is torn down before building the new stairs. The demolition steps are:

  • Remove the upper flight stairs guard rail, treads and stringers.
  • Do the same for the lower stairs.
  • Take apart the stair landing.
  • Remove the landing 6×6 deck posts and concrete footers.

Table of Contents

  1. Planning and Building Wood Deck Stairs with Landing
  2. Tear Down Old Wood Deck Stairs and Landing (you are here)
  3. Remove Wood Deck Stair Landing Support Posts and Concrete Footers
  4. Build Deck Stair Landing: Pour Concrete Footers and Install 6×6 Posts
  5. Deck Stair Landing: Saw Post-to-Beam Support Notches
  6. Deck Stair Landing Beam and Joist Framing
  7. Deck Stair Stringer Hanger Board and Simpson Strong-Tie LSCZ Stringer Connector
  8. Install Wood Deck Stair Stringers and 4×4 Newel Posts
  9. How to Frame a Wood Deck Stair Landing
  10. Build Wood Deck Stairs – Layout Solid and Sawn Stringers
  11. How to Install Deck Stair Stringers and Treads
  12. Build Wood Deck Stairs and Landing – Completed Job Photos

Tear Down Old Wood Deck Stairs and Landing

Deck Stairs Demolition

The old stairs were nailed together except for the stair treads which were screwed on because I replaced the treads years ago. Lot’s of hammer and blue pry bar work pulling nails. As I took apart the stairs the poor construction quality was evident. The center stringer is supported by a 2×4 that is pulling away from the bottom of the deck joists. The left stringer is nailed to the 6×6 deck post with eight (8) closely spaced nails:

Wood Deck Stairs Tear Down - Poorly Installed Stair Stringers

Wood Deck Stairs Tear Down – Poorly Installed Stair Stringers

The sawn stringers after removing the guard rail and treads are in the following photo. I worked my way down the stairs from top to bottom. Recall there wasn’t a guard rail on the right side of the stairs, rather the builder nailed very long 2×2 spindles down the right side to prevent falling. The new stairs will be a bit more narrow to make room for proper guard rail. I mounted one of the old 2×2 spindles along the stairs to have something to hold onto:

Old Wood Deck Stairs Tear Down - Stringers after Removing Rails and Stair Treads

Old Wood Deck Stairs Tear Down – Stringers after Removing Rails and Stair Treads

The following photo shows how badly the stairs were sagging towards the yard. The problems here are:

  1. The stringers are barely long enough to reach the landing.
  2. I jacked up the stairs and added to the double 2×4 ledger as a temporary fix, otherwise the stringers had minimal load bearing surface.
  3. Note the large gap between the stringer nose and landing joist in the red circle. This how much I needed to raise the stairs to level it.
Old Wood Deck Stairs - Insufficient Stair Stringer Support

Old Wood Deck Stairs – Insufficient Stair Stringer Support

The construction quality was alarming; only 3 toenails fastened the outer stringer to the 6×6 deck post:

Wood Deck Stair Stringer Fastened with Three Nails

Wood Deck Stair Stringer Fastened with Three Nails

The main deck is over 15 feet high and I’m working on a 24 foot extension ladder. Taking down the long stringers was a two-man job with my son helping:

Wood Deck Stairs Replacement - Remove Stair Stringers

Wood Deck Stairs Replacement – Remove Stair Stringers

The upper flight of stairs after tearing down. I’ll block the stair entrance with three 2×4’s to prevent accidental falls:

Wood Deck Stairs Replacement - Main Deck after Tearing Down Upper Flight

Wood Deck Stairs Replacement – Main Deck after Tearing Down Upper Flight

Deck Stair Landing Demolition

The guard rails are torn off the landing and stairs, then the stair stringers are pulled off. The construction deficiencies here are:

  • The left 6×6 post is notched for two 2×4 nailers to attach the stringers.
  • The former homeowner’s had the concrete basement patio installed without a Building Permit. The concrete step was poured around the base of the stringers. The Building Code no longer allows this.
Old Wood Deck Stair Landing Tear Down

Old Wood Deck Stair Landing Tear Down

I stacked the old lumber in a neat pile after pulling the nails. I’ll hire a dumpster service after the new stairs are built to haul away the debris:

Old Wood Deck Stairs Lumber after Tear Down

Old Wood Deck Stairs Lumber after Tear Down

This series is continued in¬†Remove Wood Deck Stair Landing Support Posts and Concrete Footers where the old 6×6 posts and concrete footers are taken out.

Best,

Bob Jackson

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