Basement Staircase


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Old 10-08-11, 06:11 PM
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Basement Staircase

I'm still working on my basement...

Nearly in the middle of the basement is the staircase leading to the rest of the house. When I moved in, the bottom of the staircase had two 2x4s, one on the bottom of either side of the staircase. The bottom was nailed to the staircase while the top was nailed to the overhead beam. Here is a photo:



As you can see, one 2x4 has been removed; you can see the bare wood in the bottom right corner of the photo. I removed that 2x4 when I was finishing that side of the floor. The other 2x4 is still in place.

Now I'm ready to finish the other side of the floor. To do that requires me to remove the other 2x4. I am concerned that if I remove that 2x4 I may cause the staircase to collapse, or specifically, to slide forward (away from the upstairs doorway). The only other attachment point is at the top of the staircase.

I am considering cutting a piece of wood to fit the gap between the bottom of the staircase and the concrete wall. It's about a 3 1/2' gap. If I wedge the wood between the wall and the staircase it would prevent the staircase from moving forward. I can then remove the support 2x4 and finish the floor.

Ultimately I plan on painting the staircase, carpeting the steps, and hanging new banisters and balusters installed to better finish the space. At that time new columns can be installed at the bottom of the staircase to support the bottom end.

Is this rational thought or overkill? Anything I'm overlooking?
 
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Old 10-09-11, 12:09 PM
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You picture is not appearing. Make sure you have it uploaded to an online photo hosting website like; webshots or photobucket. Then past the link in your post. Linking to a photo on a website does not work. You will be posting a link that begins like [IMG]http://
 
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Old 10-09-11, 02:51 PM
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I suppose it depends on how well the stair is attached at the top. My basement staircase doesn't have anything at the bottom. However, if you remained concerned about it, notch the front of the stringer to accept a pressure treated 2x4 that lays flat on the floor. Secure that 2x4 to the concrete. That'll prevent it from sliding.
 
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Old 10-10-11, 04:57 AM
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Since you have already painted one side why can't you re-install the 2x4 on this side before removing the one on the unpainted side? You should be able to remove both vertical 2x4's and lift that end of the steps and put a block under that end to hold it slightly off the floor to allow you to paint underneath. You can not use the stairs while the verticals are removed and the low end is blocked but it will allow you to paint everything.

When putting things back together see if you can install joist hangers or some other blocking to reinforce the connection the stairs have at the top if it does not already have them.
 
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Old 10-10-11, 04:23 PM
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Just a hunch, but I suspect the previous owner installed both vertical floor-to-ceiling 2 x 4s primarily to provide sturdy handrail attachment points. Saved him/her the headache of trying to securely mount free-standing handrail posts at the bottom of the stairs. Can't imagine the stringers' top attachment being so flimsy as to require the full-height 2 x 4s to stiffen things up.
 
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Old 10-11-11, 04:15 AM
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The 2x4's are only levers when it comes to the staircase sliding away from the header, so they have no effect at all. They are there primarily as a resting place for the code compliant (somewhat) handrail. Once the dust settles, you need to address proper balustrades for both sides of the staircase. A newel post is all that is needed at the bottom, but installing a 4x4 from floor to joist as the 2x4's are now will give a rock solid place to end the handrail.
 
 

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