Trouble with pie shaped stairs


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Old 09-24-21, 11:26 AM
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Exclamation Trouble with pie shaped stairs

Hi,

I was told this is not easy to modify and apparently I have to get a Structural Engineer and an Architect to look at it before, to see if it can even be done. Obviously, that costs money, and time, and something that was a surprise to me.

I didn't really like this design since I moved into the house 20 years again, and had always wished to transforms it into a proper 90 degree shape with a proper landing. This pie-shaped staircase, as I just had realized that that is what it's called, for me is a trip hazard. My daughter already fell from it when she was young, luckily, it was at the last three (3) steps so the injury was not bad.

The steps are oak, I was hoping the last three or four pie shaped steps can be modified to make a proper step. The other silly thing is that they (the house builder, I am the second owner) did the same thing to the basement. I realized about this dilemma now that I wanted my basement finished, and the contractor didn't want to do it due to costs and work involved.

What are my options? Help me out here... and TIA.


Pie Shaped stairs - want to convert to proper 90 degree landing - can it be done?
 

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09-24-21, 11:35 AM
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To change the stairs, the entire thing would need to be ripped out and the run of the stairs would need to be made 2 feet longer at either the top or bottom or 1 ft on both. And that involves structural changes. And it will affect the headroom, so there might also be changes needed if the headroom is low. (80" minimum as measured vertically from the nosing) Your 2 stairs that are winders (steps 3 and 4) represent about 15" of rise, so you can't just remove them to make your 2nd step a landing... or you would have a 22+" step from step 2 to step 5. Because step 2 would would be a landing, and step 5 would be the next step after the landing.

If there is a set of stairs underneath this one, and changes in the stairs above will affect the headroom of the stairs below.

If step 4 could be turned into the landing (this could only be done if the entire landing has 80+" of headroom) then you would only have to change the bottom 3 stairs, which would bring the bottom out an additional 2 ft from where it is now.

So the short answer is, no its not easily possible. Can it be done? Sure, if you have a ton of money to throw at it.

Winder stairs are used because of a limited amount of space available, which is likely why there are there in the first place.
 
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Old 09-24-21, 11:35 AM
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To change the stairs, the entire thing would need to be ripped out and the run of the stairs would need to be made 2 feet longer at either the top or bottom or 1 ft on both. And that involves structural changes. And it will affect the headroom, so there might also be changes needed if the headroom is low. (80" minimum as measured vertically from the nosing) Your 2 stairs that are winders (steps 3 and 4) represent about 15" of rise, so you can't just remove them to make your 2nd step a landing... or you would have a 22+" step from step 2 to step 5. Because step 2 would would be a landing, and step 5 would be the next step after the landing.

If there is a set of stairs underneath this one, and changes in the stairs above will affect the headroom of the stairs below.

If step 4 could be turned into the landing (this could only be done if the entire landing has 80+" of headroom) then you would only have to change the bottom 3 stairs, which would bring the bottom out an additional 2 ft from where it is now.

So the short answer is, no its not easily possible. Can it be done? Sure, if you have a ton of money to throw at it.

Winder stairs are used because of a limited amount of space available, which is likely why there are there in the first place.
 
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Old 09-24-21, 12:03 PM
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I suspect you do not have a handrail in that stair.

In my 1912 house I was able to convert a storage attic to a third floor master suite because there was a stair already in place. It is very narrow and did not have a handrail. I added a vertical handrail that has worked very well. My stairs turn 180 degrees where yours only turn 90 but you could still add a vertical handrail or handrails on the wall (or both).



Vertical handrail in 180 degree winder stair.
 
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Old 09-24-21, 02:32 PM
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To XSleeper:

Thanks for the detailed explanation. Yes, there is more than 80" of headroom from step 4, as there's only a window on the south side of it, and the ceiling goes all the way to the ceiling of the second floor.

However, needing 2 feet of room at the bottom is not possible, as the main doorway is about a foot away from the first step (perpendicular to it).

These type of stairs should be avoided, it's really not good for old people, or even kids. The builders way of maximizing their profit should NOT take precedence over safety!

But thanks for your input, wow, I didn't think it was this bad and complicated to modify this structure! Short of finding another house, or spending tons of money, I stuck with this for life?!

To 2john02458:

That's a neat idea that I may consider. There is a handrail, the base of it as seen in the picture, but it stops (or start, depending on which direction you want to look at it) at the 4th step and does not go all the way down. Any suggestion how i can extend that down without obstructing anything?


-Stairtrouble
 
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Old 09-24-21, 04:45 PM
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Why don't you try this - have a couple contractors come out and bid the job so you get a ballpark of what this is going to cost.
 
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Old 09-24-21, 06:25 PM
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If you can only go 1 ft toward the door on bottom, your 3rd step would need to be the new landing, and the stairs would need to be entirely rebuilt and extend 1ft farther on top. This will likely mean tearing into walls to add headers, since it will likely mean that one more floor joist will need to be cut to make room at the top of the stairs.
 
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Old 09-25-21, 07:00 AM
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I was thinking handrail on the wall. You could add that.

If there is a square portion at the top of the newell post you could add a vertical from that to the square portion at the bottom on either the front or the side face. You just need something to grab onto as you step onto the first step going up or at the fifth step coming down. A vertical on the left face (as shown in photo) from top to bottom of newell post would provide that.
 
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