Guard posts at the bottom of deck stairs are notoriously wobbly. Often, the posts are just screwed or nailed to the outside stringers, with the bottom stair tread providing the only reinforcement to the assembly. The posts may feel stiffly supported right after installation, but a few seasons of wet-to-dry and hot-to-cold conditions—as well as everyday use and abuse—will take their toll, and eventually, these connections loosen up. That’s why I pay particular attention to how I reinforce the bottom of the stairway and secure the guard posts—I want them to remain solid and stiff for many years. Rather than risk buried posts that can decay unnoticed, I use an above-the-ground post-reinforcing system, where the condition of the posts can be monitored and parts replaced if necessary.

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