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Old 01-29-2012, 01:18 PM   #1
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Basement framing around stairs


Hi all,

I am casing in my stairs, and I ran into a framing issue that I don't know how to solve. Behind the stairs, I want to put a door for a kind of "under-the-stairs closet". But, I don't know how to frame it properly to put the door in.

I attached pictures of the before and my idea for what to do back there. I highlighted my current solution in blue, but I am not really sure if this is acceptable. (The shelf and cutout on the one wall is for an in-wall fish tank.)

If I do it the way I have shown, the rough opening for the door would be 35-5/16". I think I would have to put up another vertical 2x4 to make the rough opening acceptable for a 32" door. It seems like a lot of lumber hanging off my walls with no bottom plate.

Any ideas / suggestions on how to do this better?

edit: The blue highlights didn't show up, but hopefully it's obvious what I'm talking about. It's the two 2x4s nailed to the side of the double studs with a little header in the back.
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Last edited by teddosan; 01-29-2012 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 01-29-2012, 01:52 PM   #2
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Basement framing around stairs


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Originally Posted by teddosan View Post
Hi all,

I am casing in my stairs, and I ran into a framing issue that I don't know how to solve. Behind the stairs, I want to put a door for a kind of "under-the-stairs closet". But, I don't know how to frame it properly to put the door in.t

I attached pictures of the before and my idea for what to do back there. I highlighted my current solution in blue, but I am not really sure if this is acceptable. (The shelf and cutout on the one wall is for an in-wall fish tank.)

If I do it the way I have shown, the rough opening for the door would be 35-5/16". I think I would have to put up another vertical 2x4 to make the rough opening acceptable for a 32" door. It seems like a lot of lumber hanging off my walls with no bottom plate.

Any ideas / suggestions on how to do this better?
edit: The blue highlights didn't show up, but hopefully it's obvious what I'm talking about. It's the two 2x4s nailed to the side of the double studs with a little header in the back.
1-1/2" of lumber without a bottom plate isn't bad. You do need 34" for a rough opening for a 32" door.

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Old 01-29-2012, 01:58 PM   #3
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Basement framing around stairs


I don't see a problem with what you have in your drawing, it looks good to me. You lost me with this statement. "It seems like a lot of lumber hanging off my walls with no bottom plate."
I see a bottom plate everywhere except for the door liners.
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:00 PM   #4
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Basement framing around stairs


To gain the needed space your going to have to attach a 2 X 4 to the side of the outside stringers to space it out to have room for the stair skirt and drywall.
That way there will be room under the door framing for a pressure treated 2 X 4.
The area under the stairs is going to have to be covered with 5/8 fire code sheetrock.
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:11 PM   #5
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Basement framing around stairs


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
To gain the needed space your going to have to attach a 2 X 4 to the side of the outside stringers to space it out to have room for the stair skirt and drywall.
That way there will be room under the door framing for a pressure treated 2 X 4.
The area under the stairs is going to have to be covered with 5/8 fire code sheetrock.
And this is really a better way to secure stringers anyway.
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:39 PM   #6
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Basement framing around stairs


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
To gain the needed space your going to have to attach a 2 X 4 to the side of the outside stringers to space it out to have room for the stair skirt and drywall.
That way there will be room under the door framing for a pressure treated 2 X 4.
The area under the stairs is going to have to be covered with 5/8 fire code sheetrock.
I am not sure I understand what you are saying in the bold part.

I do not plan to finish the inside of the "closet". It is just access to the aquarium for cleaning and such.

Are you saying I need a bottom plate under the door framing? I was hoping to avoid that as it would cause two problems: 1) It will take the rough opening height from 82" to 80-1/2" which means I need to order a custom door. 2) It is a trip hazard for anyone entering or exiting the "closet".

Last edited by teddosan; 01-29-2012 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:46 PM   #7
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Basement framing around stairs


It's code that your going to have to add the sheetrock under the stairs. It's to prevent the stairs from catching fire and burning out.
Your going to need to have a king stud and a jack stud on the sides of the door opening to hold up the header, just make them 1-1/2" shorter and install a 3 X 3-1/2" piece of pressure treated wood to prevent the bottoms from rotting from direct contact with the concrete.
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:50 PM   #8
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Basement framing around stairs


To finish the walls coming down the stairs your going to have to install sheetrock and add a stair skirt. If you do not add the 2 X 4 to space it out away from the stringers you would have to cut out around every riser and tread.
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:51 PM   #9
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Basement framing around stairs


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
It's code that your going to have to add the sheetrock under the stairs. It's to prevent the stairs from catching fire and burning out.
Your going to need to have a king stud and a jack stud on the sides of the door opening to hold up the header, just make them 1-1/2" shorter and install a 3 X 3-1/2" piece of pressure treated wood to prevent the bottoms from rotting from direct contact with the concrete.

I concur!
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:52 PM   #10
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I don't see a problem with what you have in your drawing, it looks good to me. You lost me with this statement. "It seems like a lot of lumber hanging off my walls with no bottom plate."
I see a bottom plate everywhere except for the door liners.
Thanks for the response. You are right, I have a bottom plate everywhere except under the door casing. I will have to add at least one more 2x4 to narrow the rough opening to 33-13/16" for the 32" door. I was just worried about not having any bottom plate under that...
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:59 PM   #11
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Basement framing around stairs


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
It's code that your going to have to add the sheetrock under the stairs. It's to prevent the stairs from catching fire and burning out.
Your going to need to have a king stud and a jack stud on the sides of the door opening to hold up the header, just make them 1-1/2" shorter and install a 3 X 3-1/2" piece of pressure treated wood to prevent the bottoms from rotting from direct contact with the concrete.
Okay, gotcha. Thanks! If I make the king and jack studs from pressure treated lumber, can I sit them directly on the concrete instead of using the bottom plate. The problem is that the bottom plate would only be 3" on each side, so securing it down to the floor seems like it could be a problem.
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:19 PM   #12
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Basement framing around stairs


A couple of big wads of Construction Adhesive.

And, believe it or not, just a piece of tarpaper (roofing felt) will keep moisture from the ends of your door studes (put the adhesive top and bottom of the paper) Although the adhesive, itself, will protect the ends of your studs from moisture, the felt paper satisfies codes.
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:27 PM   #13
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Basement framing around stairs


Its not structural so you are fine the way you are as long as your door is not larger than 32". Just hang the door. There is no possible weight from above that would require a header therefore you do not need a jack stud.

Any wood that touches the concrete needs to be ACQ.


Are you doing a salt water tank?
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:29 PM   #14
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Basement framing around stairs


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
To gain the needed space your going to have to attach a 2 X 4 to the side of the outside stringers to space it out to have room for the stair skirt and drywall.
That way there will be room under the door framing for a pressure treated 2 X 4.
The area under the stairs is going to have to be covered with 5/8 fire code sheetrock.
I was so concerned about the bottom plate that I miss that one, Joe is right about this.
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:43 PM   #15
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Okay, gotcha. Thanks! If I make the king and jack studs from pressure treated lumber, can I sit them directly on the concrete instead of using the bottom plate. The problem is that the bottom plate would only be 3" on each side, so securing it down to the floor seems like it could be a problem.
Use construction adhesive and two drywall screws and attach it to the bottom of the stud, then nail the stud in.

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