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Old 12-22-2012, 12:27 AM   #1
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Basement stairs against concrete wall


Finishing the basement, off to a great start, but I have some questions on how to make the stairs look nice.

So the *skirt* on one side butts up to the cinder block basement walls under the garage. Currently the railing is on the other side attached to drywall above grade and some wood paneling below grade that's going to come down. I'd like to attach the railing to the cinder block side and open the other side to the basement. The *skirt* is 1" wide so that's all I have to work with.

Would 1/2" xps glued to the cinder block then 1/2" drywall glued/screwed into the cinder block work? Could I get away with 1/4" drywall or would that just make a mess when trying to anchor the railing? Any other ideas? I guess I could just fur it out 1" then cut out each stair in the drywall, but that seems like a rather difficult project opposed to just keeping the *skirt* flush or a little exposed. Let me know what you think, thanks!

Pictures a few post below.


Last edited by ChrisWz; 12-22-2012 at 09:45 AM. Reason: bad nomenclature
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Old 12-22-2012, 08:35 AM   #2
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Basement stairs against concrete wall


Got a picture?
1" sounds way under sized for a stringer.
A stringer again a wall needs to have a 2 X 4 behind it at the bottom of it so the skirt board and sheetrock can slip in behind the stringer so there no cutting around the riser and tread area needed.

The bottoms of the stringers need to be cut into the under side so a piece of pressure treated 2X can be used to hold the stringers in line and give you a place to fasten the whole thing to the floor.

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Old 12-22-2012, 08:38 AM   #3
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Basement stairs against concrete wall


most stringers against the wall stick out 1 1/2" to allow for drywall and the stair skirt to slide behind the stringer and finish the wall and the treads are then cut to fit tight to the skirt.The skirt is usually a 1x10 or 1x12
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:25 AM   #4
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Basement stairs against concrete wall


Oops, have my stair anatomy all wrong. Should have posted a picture from the start! The skirt there is 1" wide and is directly against the cinder block.
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Basement stairs against concrete wall-stairs1.jpg  
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:18 PM   #5
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Basement stairs against concrete wall


how about a backer board (1x6 or 1x4) used up on the cinder block wall behind the new place the hand rail will go. you can attach the 1x backer board and then screw the hand rail brackets to the 1x... no need to cover the entire wall??
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Old 12-22-2012, 02:52 PM   #6
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Basement stairs against concrete wall


Can we get a picture of the underside of the stairs?
A "1 X" used as a stringer - may not be adequate.
Is the "stringer on the end, away from the wall a "1 By"?

"RF"
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:43 AM   #7
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Basement stairs against concrete wall


I'd like to cover the entire wall to make it look nicer. The cinder blocks are just not the look I wanted for the basement (or that green linoleum!).

Would a cement backer board glued/screwed to the cinder blocks work out with the hand rail attached to the new backer board and painted? I guess I could either remove the skirt and use a 1" backer board to be flush with the stairs, or use something like 3/4" and put some molding at the skirt/backer board junction. If that would work, any specific type of paint or prep-work to be water-safe? It's a dry wall, but it's below grade.

Here's a picture from the bottom of the stairs in around the same area if that helps. Thanks for the suggestions.
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Basement stairs against concrete wall-stairs2.jpg  
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:57 AM   #8
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Basement stairs against concrete wall


really, the only way to be water safe is to keep the water from entering the cinder block from the outside plane/surface of the wall. once it makes it to the interior it is to late so nothing you can do at that stage is going to help except for sealing the outer wall surface. if you skin that block wall with drywall you will not know if/when the water ever gets in until the drywall deteriorates from water leakage. if you know that history of the house that is best, have they resealed the cement wall from outside recently or is the seal from when the house was originally built, I've heard/found 50 years to be average on houses before a re seal is possibly necessary.
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Old 12-23-2012, 02:21 PM   #9
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Basement stairs against concrete wall


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Originally Posted by hand drive View Post
really, the only way to be water safe is to keep the water from entering the cinder block from the outside plane/surface of the wall. once it makes it to the interior it is to late so nothing you can do at that stage is going to help except for sealing the outer wall surface. if you skin that block wall with drywall you will not know if/when the water ever gets in until the drywall deteriorates from water leakage. if you know that history of the house that is best, have they resealed the cement wall from outside recently or is the seal from when the house was originally built, I've heard/found 50 years to be average on houses before a re seal is possibly necessary.
It's original, never has been damp or wet though since we've moved in. The cinder blocks are painted, not sure with what, but there's absolutely no chipping/peeling throughout the entire basement.

Cement backer board is water safe though, correct? So if I glued it up there and screwed it in place it'd be okay for a long time considering the wall is pretty much dry. I was not sure about drywall or even the green board stuff directly against the cinder block, but I never thought of cement board until you mentioned backer board. I've never used it, but would it handle/finish okay? Otherwise my thought was just using xps as a vapor barrier and drywall on top glued/screwed down into the cinder block. I know (or think) furring it out with PT furring strips would be ideal, I just don't want to lose that much stair or have to trim drywall around each and every stair... That would take me forever.
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Old 12-23-2012, 09:36 PM   #10
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Basement stairs against concrete wall


How wide are the stairs?
If over 36" wide you could scribe a 'false stringer to fit around the steps, Insulate the wall with the foam and on the stringer, spray can foam any gaps/seems. then drywall glued to the foam and a few concrete screws. Then put the false stringer on top of the drywall. (or use some trim)

If 36" wide or narrower, your idea of the foam and drywall is the best in this situation..

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