External timber steps and handrails are exposed to all weather conditions, including regular wetting and drying and high levels of UV light. Regular wetting and drying causes swelling and shrinkage of the timber, while changes in ambient temperature results in continual thermal expansion and contraction. The constant movement of the timber causes warping and cupping, joints to open up, nails to pop and fixings to become loose. In addition, timber that remains wet for extended periods of time becomes slippery, and rotting may occur.
This Good Repair Guide identifies some of the common problems and repair options for external timber steps and handrails. When damage to external steps is extensive, the best option is often full replacement, so the requirements for New Zealand Building Code-compliant steps and handrails are met.