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agreif 08-07-2012 03:37 PM

Trimming Out Stairway with Wall Stringers
Guys, trimming out basement stairway that will have the step carpeted. I was initially thinking of doing some 3" base molding going from the top of the stairs, riding on the top of the stringers and going all the way down on the wall sides. I'm wondering if that will look a little awkward though and if I should trim out with cove molding on the stringers and just use the base molding where the middle steps are.

My other issue is that the gap between the stringer and the drywall varies slightly along the stringer. How to I approach that? I could put whichever molding I chose and mount it to the wall, but then you will see a varying distance between the inner edge of the stringer and the inner edge of the trim. If I make that gap consistent, how do I deal with the gaps at the wall?

When I put the cap on the kneewall for the handrail, the cove molding would work all the way down that left stringer, otherwise I would take the base molding to the end of the wall and then go in with the cove molding, right?

Here are some pictures of what I have. Any suggestions are welcome here. Thanks in advance,


Millertyme 08-07-2012 06:54 PM

I would start by trimming off those winders. Those stringers look pretty thick, how thick are they? anyways, What I would do is run 1" material along the wall to go around the Right side of the stair. The height of the baseboard will be determined by the plumb cut on the upper stringer (right side). If you stringer is thicker than 1" then just pad your baseboard to flush up with the stringers. I would then use a painted basecap on top of the baseboard and stringers.

As for the knee wall, you could add a few 2x4s to the top of the knee wall to to give you room to run the baseboard continuously down the stringer

agreif 08-07-2012 08:12 PM

OK, help the greenhorn out. I thought the winders were the sections of the stairs that turned, but I don't understand what I can trim?

Stringers are 1.5", measured.

So what I think i hear ya saying is adding, literally, a base, 1.5" board that will match the stringer thickness and height and then but a base cap on top and don't worry about putting on the floor style base molding on the stair portion. So kinda like this?

I tried to mock up the base board I think you are trying to tell me about.

Millertyme 08-07-2012 08:55 PM

Yes, that's exactly what I was talking about. Keep in mind that you might want run your flooring under the baseboard, unless you are carpeting.

Millertyme 08-07-2012 09:01 PM

And yes, your "floor style" baseboard is for the floor and is usually not used on the stairs. What you want to do is match your stringers the best you can. Seeing you have such a large stringer you might want to use a larger molding than normal like maybe an 1-3/4 bed molding.

agreif 08-07-2012 09:13 PM

OK, cool, thanks!! I like that idea. Yeah, I will be carpeting the stairs, so I would just put that trim directly on the floor, so it matched the carpet/stringer interface. Even with bed molding, what's the best way to deal with the variation in distance from the inside of the stringer to the drywall. Make it true to the stringer edge and shim and then caulk where there is a gap between the base cap/bed molding and sheet rock?

Thanks for all the help, I really appreciate it!

Millertyme 08-08-2012 05:15 AM

How big is the variation. From the pictures it doesn't look like much. I would just keep it tight to the drywall. Once painted, it would be difficult to pic up on.

agreif 08-10-2012 07:09 AM

From my top picture with my blue simulated baseboard you can kind of see it on the right side. It's probably 1/8 to 1/4", guestimating without having measured it. My pickel now is getting whatever board I buy to be flush with the stringer since the very top of the stringer is spaced off the wall at that point. My thought is to make sure the boards are flush and then to use the largest bed or cove molding I can. I'll install that so the bottom of the molding is a set distance from the edge of the stringer and then try to sinch it in to the drywall any are where there are gaps.

agreif 08-13-2012 11:17 AM

ok, last question (probably not, but I'll lead you to believe thta). With the cap that i'm puting on, you can see from the picture below the bed molding will be on that short section of wall on the left, and then it hits the area where the cap will sit. My question is what do you think I should do with the cap? I'm already going to have a slight overhang on the drywall side to trim that out, but on the stair side, should I make it flush with the inside of the stringer, forgoing putting trim there, or should I set it back a little bit from the stringer to get a 3/4" quarter round in there. I guess I could overhang the inside too, but to me that seems like a trip hazard

My thought with putting it flush with the stringer is that at least that way I will have a way to tie into the stairs well. If I set it back to allow for trim I would have to worry about transitioning from the bed molding to the quarter round and I really wouldn't be able to tie that edge in well, but maybe I am over thinking this.

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