Interresting Stairs

I did an inspection yesterday on a 1920 farm style home. I was surprised the condition was so decent. Anyway I never saw a set of stairs like these :shock: They are solid, but no handrails, ballusters etc… what would you say ? if anything.


I would say the lack of a graspable handrail and the open stairs are a safety hazard.

I’d say good luck in stocking feet. :wink:

Yes, lack of guard, lack of railing and open risers are potential safety hazards.

Very unsafe and how are those treads attached to the stringers?

They are in grooves in the stringers.

I had one yesterday like that in a barn.

Don’t you just hate when flippers move staircases just to be able to utilize the attic as bedrooms! That style was popular in the '70’s, so may have been one of the “original” flippers! Was the basement staircase in a weird configuation also?

Very common in farm homes and barns as Mike has pointed out. This type of stairs is made by cutting slots and wedging the treads into the stringer along with face nailing them. They are very strong if done right. Look for rusting on the nails if exposed outside.

Suggest installing hand /guard rails for safety


The stairs were very solid so I did recommend installing hand /guard rails for safety.:wink:


No stringers risers, railings.
I would be more in-depth than that but you can start with the obvious.
IRC, CSC, and all the other code providers will help fill your narrative.
Good luck.

The thing your calling slots are called dadoes. They’re very strong when done properly.

Yes. dadoes are a common carpentry element to bond sections of wood together for cabinetry and other finishing carpentry.
I do not think biscuit jointing or mortise and tenon work would be a piratical solution ether.

Stairs need stringers.

The first photo of attached thumbnail is having dangerous stairs. These are not safe.

They also have little wedges to keep each tread secured. This limits movement and provides less nailing required. I do not like the varnish smooth finish and recommend something to prevent slippage. IE sand in the varnish ect.

mortise (stringers) & tenon (treads) stairs

from an age where folks knew how to use hand tools, hammer & chisel

this is how they’re done since the advent of power tools

I’d like to see a pic of one of these little wedges.

let’s see it.

I don’t take pictures of wedges in stairs of farm homes. I have never found any loose or in need of repair.
Thanks for the info Barry.

Show me a diagram then.

You are the one who told me they were there.

You didn’t make that up did you?

A little bit of an adaptation to that is the one where the end slides in nice and tight while the other end of the tread is wedged and nailed into place.
Maybe Marcel can dig up pictures of this.