The Fault In Our Stairs

Quite often when we do a house we make our own stairs. This includes using a 2 x 12 to make stringers, plywood to sturdy them and then nice cap pieces that can be stained or painted depending on the look we’re going for.

Recently we made a temporary set, using the method above, while we waited for a custom ordered set made by a local company. These steps were to be deeper than a standard step (12.5 inches instead of a standard 11) and this was to accommodate the design of the draftsman. When we picked up the new stairs and attempted to install them, we got a not so pleasant surprise. The steps were 11 inches instead of the 12.5 they were supposed to be. Huge problem since they now sat barely reaching the landing and were unsafe. It was a 6 week wait for the stairs and we had a decision to make. We could adapt our landing (a lot of work but doable), we could ask for new stairs (reasonable but a 6 week delay on the project) or complain and hope that someone else would find us a solution.

We decided after a little bit of moaning that the extra work to make the stairs fit was less inconvenient than waiting the 6 weeks for new stairs to be made. We called the stair company and preframed what it was that we were looking for. We let them know the dollar amount that it was going to cost for our time and product to change the landing and they were happy to accommodate us and apologized profusely (there was a miscommunication between two of their employees).

These kind of moments happen all the time when you’re working with contractors and specialty shops. There was nothing we could do to stop the misstep that happened but there were some great ways we could keep the project moving and the home owners happy.

Once we removed the temporary stairs we were left with some 2 x 12s that offered no further use at that job. The great thing about them is that they’ll be perfectly helpful on our next site as temp stairs again and in future we can build a set of stairs to match them and save ourselves some time and money both.