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  • Writer's pictureJoe Hanselman

Stairway to disaster

During a recent inspection, one of the discovered items was a set of attic stairs improperly installed with drywall screws. Drywall screws have become a commonly used screw for many different projects. These are being used by homeowners, handymen, DIYers, and construction professionals. While easy to use and the grip with course threads will drive into just about any material; these screws are brittle, wear out fast, have lower shear strength, and don't hold up to loads. These screws are meant for what is labeled on the box, DRYWALL. Labeling is for a reason. If they were meant to be used for another purpose it would say it on the box and be rated so. Fasteners are made and rated for specific jobs and purposes. The manufacturer's instructions are written as to specify what to use for mounting the stairs. This is based on industry standards, testing, and engineering specs. An installation expert or professional should always follow industry standards, residential codes, and manufacturers instructions. By not doing so this presents a safety hazard and can become dangerous.

Excerpt from Installation Instructions

Set of attic stairs at an Oklahoma City home inspection
Stairway at a home inspection

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