Warped step

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Forum topic by Paulhunter posted 06-03-2011 07:10 PM 810 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 1973 days

06-03-2011 07:10 PM

Topic tags/keywords: warped 11 foot oak step

I too have a warped step – this one is 11 feet long, 12 inches wide, and inch thick of solid oak. It has been ripped twice and glued back together with the center piece turned the other way. Both sides have been sealed with multiple coats of polyurethane after staining. The stair is a step down from the kitchen to the family room. We are on a slab in the mid-South. The stair is supported by two by fours cut to make a box for it to rest on. The inside of the box has been sealed with what appears to be a type of concrete or mortar – rough and grey. I then covered the top of the box with black plastic and stapled it down. Then I placed a quarter inch plywood on top of the black plastic to completely cover the opening. The step was then liquid nailed to the plywood. Step was purchased and shipped to my home.

The step warped after about 4 months of being installed – this was during the winter. And this is the third one I have installed or had installed – the other two did not have the plastic or plywood covering the box. Clearly trying to learn from my mistakes and prevent moisture from coming up from the slab.

Have removed the step and turned it over to remove the glue, sand, restain and reseal. I would appreciate any comments on putting this step back down again. Oh yes – the warp is always the front of the step curling up slightly.

-- Paulhunter, TN

4 replies so far

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2382 days

#1 posted 06-03-2011 07:58 PM

Man, sounds like you have had your fair share of trouble with this one. While I can’t say for sure exactly how to fix it I would bet that the trouble is all moisture based. Perhaps an alternate design of the supporting box system is in order, one that provides better ventilation to the bottom side of the step? Maybe a slice or two along the length of the bottom side of the step board to alleviate stress before it warps it? Hoping someone else has a better idea, good luck.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View Paulhunter's profile


3 posts in 1973 days

#2 posted 06-03-2011 08:10 PM

Thank you for the advice – two more pieces of info – a 4 foot step diagonal from this one with the same box and plastic and plywood warped even worse – that was not attached – just sitting on the box wedged under the a facing board at the back. The boxes have all had 3 inch holes drilled in the two sides and 1/2 inch holes in the front about every two feet. I think the idea of a slice down the under side is worth a try.

-- Paulhunter, TN

View crank49's profile


3979 posts in 2395 days

#3 posted 06-03-2011 09:44 PM

It’s more resin than wood.
Very stable, used in beach houses for this reason.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View Sarit's profile


514 posts in 2564 days

#4 posted 06-03-2011 09:47 PM

Is it possible you have a bigger underlying moisture problem in that area?
Maybe your gutter downspouts or grade of the land is forcing a lot more water to that concrete than usual.

At this point, you may want to verify if the moisture is really coming from the concrete. Sometimes the source is something crazy like a dryer vent that got disconnected inside a wall or a slow plumbing leak.

If it is the concrete, then I think you would also want to use 6 mil plastic (preferably clear so you could see moisture condense on the other side) and some type of caulk (best to use acoustical sealant) to seal the plastic directly against the concrete. They sell rolls of plastic vapor barrier for floating flooring which are cut at roughly the same width as a stairway.

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