drywall along stairs


Old 06-18-05, 05:27 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: US
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drywall along stairs

We are currently remodeling our basement and are adding a wall along the existing stairs. The stringer on these stairs only runs beneath the stairs. What is the best way to frame these stairs to support drywall? All the books I've looked at show the walls along the stairs framed in a normal fashion and do mention how the drywall is supported along the edges of the stairs. We will be having to cut the drywall to fit along each step which is a real pain, but I don't see any other way to do it without ripping out the stairs to install a runner which we don't want to do. Assuming the drywall is cut along each step, how is the drywall supported along the edges? How should this be framed?

Also any advice on the best way to cut the drywall to fit the profile of the stairs would be greatly appreciated. I assume the bottom edge will be covered by the carpet being installed afterwards so slight gaps are ok.

Thank you!
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Old 06-18-05, 07:28 PM
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You need to install backing between the studs so that you have something solid to screw the drywall to. Lay a board down the stairs and put a sliding t-bevel on it and on a stud to find the angle of your stairs. Your backing will have this angle cut on each end so that it will fit between the studs at the same angle as your stairs. Cutting a 2x10 in this manner would give you excellent backing.

Since you mentioned you are building a wall along the stairs, you should install a 1x4 along the bottom edge of the stair jack so that when you frame the wall on that side, it will be 3/4" away from the stair treads, and your drywall will just slip down behind the treads and risers- no notching required. If you've already built the wall, I guess it's too late for that.

On the other side, you'll have to do notching:

Once the ceiling is hung, hang the top sheet of drywall horizontally, tight against the ceiling. Then hang the one below it. Once that sheet is up, it will give you a good reference line to measure down from. Use a framing square and your 4' drywall square, measure down from the drywall to get all your measurements. Square off the bottom edge of the drywall and mark each riser location, then measure down and record the distance down to the top of the tread. Make yourself a nice drawing so that it doesn't get screwed up. Like you said, the carpet will cover a small gap. good luck.
Old 06-18-05, 10:24 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: US
Posts: 75
Thanks for the advice. We didn't build the wall. The upper part of the wall was already finished when they built the house around 20 years ago. They notched the drywall. The bottom part was left unfinished like the rest of the basement. So we won't be able to use the trick you mentioned if we want the new lower wall on that side to be flush with the existing finished upper part. We get to have fun notching on both sides of the stairs!

I suspected that I would need to install backing between the studs but wasn't sure if it needed to be angled. The IRC codebook said that drywall needed to be supported on edges and ends perpendicular to framing. But that didn't make sense to me for stairways. I will angle the supports so that the drywall is supported, especially at all those corners.

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