No doubt you have seen old houses with wooden exterior stairs that are in disrepair and rotting from years of exposure to the elements and use. While wood is the foundation for most construction projects, it requires special care and treatment when it is exposed to weather. If you have wooden exterior stairs there are certain procedures you can take to prolong their useful life and keep up their appearance.
First, exterior wooden stairs should be sealed to protect the wood from moisture. There are a number of wood sealants on the market and any one of them will do the job just fine. Make sure that before you seal your stairs that they are clean and dry. Sealants usually need to be re-applied every 3-5 years depending on use and harshness of the weather.
Next, you want to make sure that your wooden exterior stairs look their best. Consider using stainless steel finish nails to replace old galvanized nails that are prone to rusting.
Stainless steel nails are rust resistant and will maintain their appearance after years of exposure to the elements. Remember for safety to always counter-sink any nails you use in the stairs and never let a nail remain that is bent or not completely knocked in.
All wood gets splinters, and stairs are no different. As part of your regular maintenance for your wooden exterior stairs you should sand down any areas where splinters are showing and re-seal with a quality sealer or epoxy. Splintered wood is usually a sign that the wood may be starting to rot or break down. As part of this maintenance cycle you should consider replacing the boards of any stairs that have excessive splintering or show signs of severe wear.
Finally, do not forget the termite protection! Exterior wooden stairs are like all other types of woods and termites will attack it if not treated. Your exterminator can make this part of their annual maintenance routine usually for no additional cost.
Exterior wooden stairs are an excellent choice wherever you have an elevated porch, entryway or other elevated entrance to your home. Proper care can make sure that those stairs last for years without the need to replace them as well as provide a safe entry and exit way for your family and visitors.