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Want to build staircase wall - but stairs not straight

Want to build staircase wall - but stairs not straight


Old 07-12-14, 03:00 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2014
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Want to build staircase wall - but staircase not aligned

(pictures at end of post)

I'm going to build a floor to ceiling wall on one side of the stairs leading to my unfinished basement. Near the bottom of the stairs, there is a landing that has an existing (un-drywalled) wall on two sides of the landing. As I've started planning this out, I've found that the bottom of the stairs are 1/2" out of line with the top of the stairs as compared to the floor joist that runs parallel to them. This is an issue because there is drywall from the first floor at the top of the stairs based on those joists and an existing wall at the bottom of the stairs based on that joist.

For now, I mainly care about hanging drywall on the side facing (and above) the stairs. The other side of this wall will eventually be a storage room.

The top of the stair stringers are set inside the floor joists that run in the same direction as the stairs with the treads cut about 1" outside the strings they are fixed to. There is also a 2x4 that runs the full length of the stringers attached to the bottom of the outside of the stringers. I believe this was done to strengthen the stringers, but also provide a guide for wall studs. Wall studs against this 2x4 should leave 1/2" gap between the studs and the tread - enough for 1/2" sheetrock.

Unfortunately, it looks like this 2x4 attached to the stringer was placed inside the block the wall around the landing is built on top of (this wall is for a garage that goes into the basement). This cement block apparantly stick out aboutu 1/2" past the bottom plate of the wall. Otherwise, the 2x4 on the string should butt up directly against the stud for this unfinished wall. It looks like the builder didn't take time to account for the mis-alignment this would cause and also just built the landing at the bottom of the stairs also using this 2x4 to align the outside of that side of the support pieces for the landing.

I really don't want to tear the staircase or the landing apart and rebuild them. But I also don't want to build a wall with a noticable issue either. After considering rebuilding the landing, I thought I'd just build the wall and 1/2" over the length of the wall might not be that noticable. Then I'd just replace some of the treads towards the bottom of the stairs to be ~1/2" longer so there wouldn't be a gap between them and the sheetrock. Some thick trim around the bottom of the wall on the landing could cover the issue there perhaps.

I plan to carpet the stairs once I get both sides finished (plan to finish other side with open railing).

Does that seems reasonable? If not, anyother ideas what I can do here?

Thanks in advance.

Here are some pictures to hopefully help illustrate things because I'm sure my explanation above left a lot of questions.

(and, yes, the dog kennel is coming out )

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Old 07-12-14, 09:04 PM
BridgeMan45's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: USA
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I would build the wall plumb, even if it requires modifying the existing stairway. Having any wall 1/2" out of plumb will be noticeable.
Old 07-15-14, 05:00 PM
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Thanks for the response! Unfortunately, my thread subscription didn't seem to work and it didn't email me (so I just now saw it).

Yeah, I realized my plan of "just build the wall" and replace treads would have the wall plumb so nothing should be noticeable as out of line in the wall itself (I think).

So I guess my question boils down to: does anyone think I should invest the time it would take to rebuild the stairs and/or landing to try to align the stairs with the floor joists that they should be aligned with already?

The more I think about it, the more I think replacing treads to make up for lack of alignment and figuring out some way to disguise the extra space around the landing, if necessary, seems like the way to go. No one is likely to notice treads getting slightly larger up to 1/2" more at the bottom than the top. And I'm planning to finish the other side with an open railing, so it shouldn't be as big of an issue on that side (which is great because it would have been an even bigger deal since it would have been 1/2" into that wall). Any thoughts on why this might be a bad idea?

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