Dear Barry, I bought a home six months ago. Last week, while running down the stairs to my basement, the bottom step literally gave way under my foot. Thankfully, it wasn't one of the top steps. When I took a closer look, I found that all of the steps were separating from the stringers and were only held up by the nails that were driven into the ends of the treads. Shouldn't this have been reported by my home inspector? --Marc Dear Marc, The physical condition of a staircase is definitely within the scope of a home inspection, largely because of the hazards posed by defective stairs. Stair conditions routinely inspected include the relative dimensions of the treads and risers, the height, stability and design characteristics of handrails, signs of physical damage, and (as with your basement stairs) substandard methods of construction. Inadequate attachment of treads, therefore, should have been disclosed by your inspector. When stairs are substantially constructed, treads a...
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