Moving load bearing wall beside basement stairs


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Old 01-18-17, 01:52 PM
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Moving load bearing wall beside basement stairs

Hi. I'm working on refinishing my poured concrete basement but have an issue with how the stairs end. The stairs are a straight run from the center of the house and end facing one of the side exterior walls. The stairs terminate at a landing that is one step up from the basement floor. On the landing, you can turn left or right at the bottom (so the house is split longways in half). The problem is that the last step to the landing is ~38" from the wall you are facing at the end of the landing (the landing is ~38 from wall to first step). The problem is that I'm installing a 2" rigid foam insulation and then a framed 2x4 wall in front of it, so I'm losing about 6" of the landing which makes it pretty tight at the bottom of the stairs. I'd like to raise the landing to the next step up and have two steps down on the sides, however, the two walls next to the stairs are load bearing. I'm trying to figure out how I can cut the wall back to increase the side openings at the bottom. I'm wondering if I can leave the top double plate supporting the joists and move the the studs back a few inches to line up under the joist. Then I could have width and just cover other the odd top plate sticking out. Hopefully pictures will help.

I appreciate any guidance I can get. Thanks
 
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Old 01-18-17, 02:12 PM
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None of the pictures really showed the landing, so we can't comment on that. You won't change the distance from the staircase to the wall no matter what you do unless you relocate the staircase, which I doubt you can do. You'll make it worse if you raise the landing. You say it dumps in both directions. Can you use just one exit from the staircase, or would it hinder traffic to other parts of the basement?
 
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Old 01-18-17, 02:24 PM
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If i raise the landing up one step, won't a gain the distance of the depth of the step? Then I just need to open up the opening to the sides by moving the last stud back toward the top of the stairs. Similar to when someone open up the sides of their staircase. It's the spacing between the exterior wall and that first wall stud that is tight.

In the first two photos, its the top left area. In the 3rd photo, its the top right. You can see the double top plate where the floor joists sit just off the end of the top plate. Right at that spot, the floor joist change orientation. I'll see if I can take some better photos later tonight.
 
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Old 01-18-17, 03:13 PM
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What we are seeing are pictures shot from a low perspective up to the ceiling. The landing itself along with the staircase is not shown at all. That's what would help.
 
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Old 01-18-17, 03:41 PM
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I understand what you are doing, I've had a similar set up in a prior house.

By moving the landing up it provides more room to the wall then you have more steps going down on each side.

What I dont see in the pictures are the steel beams, they are the primarily load bearing feature in the basement. Most stair cases built in the basement are primarily there to support the stairs, not the house. But very difficult to tell from the pictures.
 
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Old 01-18-17, 03:56 PM
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Keep in mind that code indicates you must always have 80" of vertical headroom in a stairway as measured vertically (plumb) from the front edge of the stair nosing. (R311.7.2) And that all landings must be a minimum of 36" in the direction of travel. (R311.3) Stairway width must be a minimum of 36" wide. (R311.7.1)

The problem is that I'm installing a 2" rigid foam insulation and then a framed 2x4 wall in front of it, so I'm losing about 6" of the landing which makes it pretty tight at the bottom of the stairs.
IMO, this part of the plan is what's creating the problem. You need to stay within the parameters of the code. 3/4" foam with 3/4" furring on top, with 3/4" foam between the furring (for a total of 1 1/2" of insulation) plus 1/2" drywall. That turns your 38" landing into 36"... the code minimum. Once you get beyond the last step landing area (>36") you can go with your full wall if you like.
 
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Old 01-19-17, 06:29 AM
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Exactly. I don't have any steel beams. I have two 2x6 load bearing walls on either side of the stairs that have a double top plate. There are floor joists going from the front and back of the foundation wall and end on either side of the stairs.



Here's a couple pictures to show the landing area. If you see the two studs where the light switch is, I'm wondering if I can move those to the right to open up the side opening more? If so, how much. You can see what is above those studs in the original photos I posted along with a shot of the whole side wall.

I'll have to ensure the 80" headroom mentioned by Sleeper.
 
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Old 01-19-17, 11:19 AM
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From what I can see you can only gain 1 1/2" if you move that last stud over. You need a stud under that floor joist. I doubt you would have 80" vertical when measured from the 2nd step.
 
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Old 01-19-17, 11:25 AM
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If I replaced that top plate with a steel beam (or some other type of engineer beam), could I move the stud further under the floor joist? I guess that would be considered cantilevered.
 
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Old 01-19-17, 03:28 PM
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You might be able to cut that joist back, put a double LVL on top of the top plates... LVL would run from foundation wall to the next joist to the right of the one you cut back, then the cut end would need to be in a hanger.

But you would need a structural engineer to look at it and sign off on it. This is not something we can tell you with any certainty without being there in person. Are you at about 83" from the 2nd step to the top of the double top plate?
 
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Old 01-19-17, 04:21 PM
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Alright, I got some more measurements and it looks more positive. I measured 41.5" from the concrete wall to the first stud. Subtract 2" XPS, 4" stud and drywall, and 0.5" for drywalling the face of the load bearing wall and I'm only down to 35". So maybe and extra 1.5" is all I need.

For the height, i measure 96" from landing to the bottom of the joist. From the first step to the joist is 88". So I should be able to raise the landing and add a side step and still meet the 80" headroom.

If that's not right, then I'll have to plan on calling a professional.
 
 

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