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-   -   Trimming a staircase (http://www.diychatroom.com/f14/trimming-staircase-78318/)

Richo 08-09-2010 05:09 PM

Trimming a staircase
 
Hello guys!

I am having a new house built and I have decided to take on all of the finish carpentry. I have a vast woodworking background so I am not intimidated by any of this, and most of the finish carpentry I have done before to some extent....except for a staircase. :no:

Here is a picture of the staircase as it stands now:

http://www.bananasentertainment.com/.../staircase.jpg

Here are my assumptions on what I need to do:

A: 7" Box newel posts.

B: Bottom plate that accepts the balusters. Flush with the hardwood flooring, overhanging the opening by about an inch. This could also be 5/4 to stand 1/4" above the flooring.

C: Transition board from hardwood to top tread. Same material as staircase trim. flush with hardwood floor but thickness added to bottom edge where it overhangs the top riser to match tread thickness, bullnose.

D: Knee wall plate. Wide enough to overhang the edges and cover the skirt board on the upper flight of stairs. With the way the knee wall extends about 4 inches before sloping down, I assume I will need to use a short piece and then a miter.

I have the mounting of the newel posts/hand rails figured out but I am unsure about the lower plates, where to align them, how wide, etc.

If I could find a similar staircase somewhere that I could examine I would have all of my answers. I found a house for sale near mine that has an identical stairway (from photos in their online listing) and I offered the owner $20 to allow me to come inside and take detailed photos of it. They were not interested in helping me. :huh:

Any help you can offer would be appreciated.

Millertyme 08-09-2010 08:59 PM

richo you have come to the right place. I build stairs for a living so i think i can help you with what you need. I noticed you have no finish treads yet or skirts. Are you using hardwood or carpet? I would install those 1st. Next I would install the posts.

posts-I usually would notch that starting post going up the stairs into the short kneewall. It makes a stronger fit by half lapping it to that wall. You can floor mount it also. However sometimes you will lose lateral strength. Watch out for space between 1st post and back wall (code in MA is 36"). I always put post on subfloor not finish floor, this way you can shim them plumb. 10" lags from LJ Smith work best. Set balcony rails at 38" from finish floor.

Nosings-

Millertyme 08-09-2010 09:26 PM

Nosing will come in 3/4" or 1" thickness. Choose the same thickness as your treads. You want you nosings to be even with you flooring. The 1" nosings will have a 3/4" rabbet so it will be even with the finish floor. I would overhang these nosings 1-7/8" to 2" from face of drywall to allow for a 1x fascia and a 3/4" cove molding. Make sure you keep the backs ofnosings B and C in line so that your flooring will be in line. Otherwise you may have a jog.

The toughest part will me getting the height of your 1st post so that your rake rail is at the proper height(34" to top of rail measured from leading edge of tread plumb up).

Do you have goosenecks or are you going post to post? what kind of post are they?

Richo 08-09-2010 09:37 PM

Great to hear from someone who does this!

The treads and risers are going to be carpeted fully. Skirt boards will be placed alongside the stringers before laying the treads.

I just finished building the box newels and I would hate to think of cutting into one for any reason. They were one of the most tedious things I have built and I gave an almighty hallelujah when I completed the last one.

http://www.bananasentertainment.com/eformat/newel.jpg


I was just planning to fasten a block of 8/4 hardwood to the subfloor (that fits tightly into the post), slip the post over and then screw the post to that.

I think the landing is 42" wide so a 7" newel is going to cut it close. I will have to check on WI code. I may have to cut into the newel after all.

What is a rake rail? Looking at the knee wall it would appear that the top rail is not going to be parallel to the bottom since I made the lower newel post the same height as the uppers....ruh roh! Am I going to have to make that newel post taller?

Millertyme 08-09-2010 09:51 PM

Nice job on the posts. yes, if you made all the newel same height there will be a major problem. I will explain in a bit. A rake rail is a rail that is set on pitch, in this case going up the stairs. The problem you are going to have is at the top of the stairs. If you set the balcony rail at 38" and rake rail at 34" the rail is not going to land in the square as you want it. Your only option here is a gooseneck. These can be tricky to do, But i could walk you trough if interested. Ill try and post a pic

Millertyme 08-09-2010 10:06 PM

1 Attachment(s)
see what happens here when the rake rail hits the post...it is much lower than the balcony rail

Richo 08-09-2010 10:47 PM

I see what you mean about the gooseneck. So you're talking about one of these on the upper post?

http://www.bananasentertainment.com/...stairrails.jpg

I'm wondering what the code is for maximum space between balusters since the gooseneck is going to leave a space between the post and the first baluster.

This is the look I'm going for:

http://www.bananasentertainment.com/...aircasepic.jpg

Gary in WA 08-10-2010 12:32 AM

http://www.stairways.org/pdf/2006%20...C%20SCREEN.pdf
Nice work, carry on explaining Miller.....
Be safe, Gary

Millertyme 08-10-2010 07:04 AM

yes thats it. you just need to cut that level part that goes into the baluster at 1-1/4". your last baluster will die into the easment. Are you using metal balusters?

oh'mike 08-10-2010 07:30 AM

Miller---It's nice to have a stair guy with the patience to explain the process------Good posts--Mike---

Richo 08-10-2010 09:53 AM

Quote:

you just need to cut that level part that goes into the baluster at 1-1/4"
Sorry, I don't follow what you mean here. Yes I am using metal balusters.

It looks like I will need to install some of this twice since these should go down before the hard wood flooring, and it needs to be removed so the flooring can be sanded and finished.

RTRCon 08-10-2010 11:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Richo (Post 483431)
Sorry, I don't follow what you mean here. Yes I am using metal balusters.

It looks like I will need to install some of this twice since these should go down before the hard wood flooring, and it needs to be removed so the flooring can be sanded and finished.

You should be able to install everything else beside the balusters, install those after sanding and finishing. You can drill your 1st picket into the gooseneck potion of the rail, be careful not to get into the hardware that holds the gooseneck to the rail. If your going to use goosenecks they should be installed raw so you can sand them down flush with the rail. Heres a pic of one I did a few years back that I had to drill into the goosenecks
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...h/100_2690.jpg

Millertyme 08-10-2010 08:12 PM

sorry Richo that was a typo, what i meant was to cut the level portion of the gooseneck(the short section of rail that dies into the post) at 1-1/4", so that the space between the easement and the post is the 1-1/4". It can be smaller or larger but this is just my rule of thumb. if it is too long the last baluster will miss the easement (which you don't want). If it is too short the easement will be too close to the post and may hit your molding. Code in MA, and in most states, is 4" in between any balusters and posts. It is not measured center to center.

Metal balusters can be tricky. Keep this in mind VERY IMPORTANT. these balusters usually come in 2 lengths 36" and 44" are 1/2" square and have a small round dowel at the top that goes into the bottom of the rail about 3/4". They are made to be cut at the bottom only, which is fine if there are not any baskets or scrolls. But if there are, and you have a knee wall like you do, they will need to be much shorter because they will not be sitting on the treads. If you have a 44" baluster with a double basket and you need to cut them to say 27" your baskets my not be centered. So you may want to get 36" for that rake section and 44" for the balcony. Installation is another matter.

Richo 08-10-2010 11:37 PM

I am using the metal balusters alternating single and dual basket like on the picture. Doesn't the rounded section of the baluster go into the top rail and then the bottom goes into a square collar?

I did find out from the builder that 36" is required between the newel post and the wall and there is only 40" from the knee wall so I'm going to have to cut into the post. It gets a little tricky because the lower section (the 7" wide section) is only 8.5" high and I need to cut 9.25" into the newel to slip over the knee wall. I may just cut the post off right where the wide section starts and build a taller bottom made to fit around the knee wall. I can hide the seam with the molding. If I build it to proper height this will also eliminate the need for a gooseneck on the hand rail.

As you can see from the picture of my post, there isn't much room at the top for setting the rake rail and balcony rail to different heights. From the stairway guide that was posted above, it looks like the rake rail can be 34 to 38 inches at the top. I will confirm that with the building codes here.

RTRCon 08-10-2010 11:46 PM

Quote:

Metal balusters can be tricky. Keep this in mind VERY IMPORTANT. these balusters usually come in 2 lengths 36" and 44" are 1/2" square and have a small round dowel at the top that goes into the bottom of the rail about 3/4". They are made to be cut at the bottom only, which is fine if there are not any baskets or scrolls. But if there are, and you have a knee wall like you do, they will need to be much shorter because they will not be sitting on the treads. If you have a 44" baluster with a double basket and you need to cut them to say 27" your baskets my not be centered. So you may want to get 36" for that rake section and 44" for the balcony. Installation is another matter
I agree with Miller.. Sometimes, depending on the stair system, you have to work from the center of the baluster out. You have to keep in mind how much balustar you have left before it starts to twist on either the top or bottom, so the collers aren't into the twist section.
Heres one we did, like yours, where we leveled the top off. Its a back stairway off the kitchen.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...h/100_4051.jpg
This one is in the same house but of the entry stairway. It was framed different so it made an easier transition
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...h/100_4055.jpg


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