Houston, we (might) have a problem…

So that big, beautiful staircase?


Probably one of my favorite features of this home: the staircase.

You know, the one that made us fall in love with the house?

The one that everyone says is “beautiful” even though it’s sitting in the middle of a war zone right now?

Well, last week, Joe and our plumber, Garry, were doing the plumbing walkthrough and noticed a couple of the steps felt “spongy.”


That led to an immediate call to our basement/framing guy, Alan, who came over and took a look. It turns out that the staircase has separated a bit from the north wall, due to the brick wall having pushed out a bit over the years.

This isn’t a super-shocking development. This house has been abandoned for the better part of a decade. And, in talking to family members of the couple who sold it in 2007, it sounds like they spent at least a decade or two without really using the upstairs or going up/down the stairs much at all.

So now we come in, and we jack up the house, and have workers going up/down the stairs (sometimes carrying really heavy equipment)…these stairs have seen more action in the last 6 months than they may have seen in the last 20-30 years combined. All that activity apparently caused the stair treads to slip ever-so-slightly, but quite noticeably, off the supporting structure underneath (my handsome husband tells me the the technical term for this is the “stringer”)  in one spot.

Alan is sure he can repair the stairs. We are also sure that the wall IS bulged out a bit. But what we don’t know is whether the north wall is still moving…which could cause much bigger problems in the future. The exterior brick on that side was tuck-pointed about 6 years ago, and shows no cracking or signs of movement since then. And bracing was  installed in the wall at some point in the house’s past (that’s the subject of a future post), so it’s possible that the bracing stopped the wall movement.

But we’ll be watching this spot VERY CAREFULLY for awhile…