Can pre-fabricated staircase be modified?


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Old 10-19-21, 06:59 PM
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Can pre-fabricated staircase be modified?

My girlfriend just bought a house and doesn't like how close the bottom of the staircase is to the front door. We had the idea of widening the bottom two stairs and turning both banisters outward. The staircase is a typical pre-fabricated staircase. Can this type of staircase be modified and if so what's the best way to go about this? If I installed stringers along the outside of the staircase for the full length, could I then remove the bottom two treads, install wider treads supported by plywood boxes on either side?
 
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Old 10-20-21, 04:41 AM
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Short answer is maybe. Based on your description, it sounds possible but some pictures would help a lot.
 
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Old 10-20-21, 04:50 AM
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"Yes", almost anything can be modified with enough money.

"NO", you can not modify only the bottom two steps. All steps must be the same run and run to within 3/8". So, if you modify the stairs the entire stair run must be modified so every step has the same rise and run. Basically it's a no go because you'd be completely rebuilding the entire staircase.
 
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Old 10-20-21, 04:46 PM
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I wouldn't be changing the rise and run, only the width of the bottom two stairs.
 
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Old 10-21-21, 06:32 AM
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How wide will the narrowed steps be? 36" is the minimum allowable width.

Read up on the codes regarding handrails. The outside (non-wall) side of stairs need to be protected by a railing. I don't know how you can do the handrail so it doesn't look like a cluster of a mess. I don't recall for sure but I do not think you can have a couple steps at the bottom not protected by a handrail. The handrail must extend the full length of the stairs.

Also, I don't know how code deals with stairs that narrow abruptly. A gradually tapering staircase is one thing but I don't think an abrupt change in width is permitted. Even if it is not specifically prohibited it's such an odd thing many inspectors will probably question it.
 
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Old 10-21-21, 05:50 PM
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The railings will go all the way to the bottom. This is kind of what I had in mind, only with the second step wider as well. If just the bottom step is more feasible, then that would probably be fine.



 
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Old 10-21-21, 05:57 PM
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So you are not increasing the distance between the steps and the door? Just changing the appearance?
 
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Old 10-21-21, 08:27 PM
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Correct. Just want to widen the steps towards the bottom with a wider bottom step and turn the railings outward (existing railings will be replaced). This is what it currently looks like.




 
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Old 10-22-21, 02:54 AM
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Can this be done? Yes.

Will it be worth the hassle and expense? Hard to say yes on that one.
 
 

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