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kybasche 08-04-2013 11:46 AM

ANOTHER lally column question
Hi all. Been reading through some posts for a while - just recently bought our first home so now it's time for me to ask some questions of my own!

We have an old house (1904) built in south Minneapolis - like many of the homes here, not necessarily built to accommodate modern appliances. The opening from the side-door landing down to the basement is currently @ 24", which doesn't really allow for a proper washer/dryer to be fit through.

Attached below are some images of the area. From the landing, the narrow area is the one encountered immediately as you enter the stairs. When looking from the basement side, you can see that part of the "narrow" area is comprised of a plaster covered board with a 2x12 behind that (on the left of the second picture). The 4 floor joists it is connected to are the only ones that do not meet up with the basement wall, and have a sort of "lally column" supporting them.

My question is... does it seem that we could remove that 2x12 and associated wood panel/plaster to open up more space for bringing appliances down the stairs? Should additional columns be added on either side to provide additional support?

Thanks much in advance, let me know if any of that was unclear and I'll try to explain further.


TarheelTerp 08-04-2013 01:06 PM


Originally Posted by kybasche (Post 1224980)
We have an old house (1904)
My question is... does it seem that we could...

This is the sort of issue that really requires competent eyes on site to take some careful measurements of what is going on and MOSTLY to assess what has been done by others and often less than competent hands over the last 110 years.

wkearney99 08-04-2013 02:41 PM

What's on the other side of the right-hand stair wall (going down). A room, presumably? Do you want to be moving the wall inward into that room? Is there a second floor above this area? Both would be factors to consider before doing anything with this wall.

You'd probably need to start by opening a hole in that wall down near the top of where it overhangs the top of that handrail. Which, in and of itself is an odd setup. See how the inside of the wall above it is structured.

It would seem odd they plastered out the wall over the handrail that way. But with old houses you never know what decisions where made over time to get to a particular point.

If the interior wall is built right out over that board along the right (at the end of the joists) then you might not have much room to work with. But would removing that board even buy you enough clearance to get things in/out? Because if you need more than just that one board's thickness then it's very likely you'd get into other structural issues.

kybasche 08-04-2013 07:53 PM

yes, a room on the other side. By my tape measure, if we remove the plaster, board behind it, and 2x12 behind that (all shown in the second image) - and additionally remove the board on the left-hand wall (going down) over the concrete, then we create 27.5" of space (which should, in theory, be enough to get a 27" washer/dryer down the stairs).

There is a second floor above also.

But I suppose, what I was hoping (and what seems to be true from visual inspection) was that the things we are trying to remove are purely "aesthetic" in that they have no load-bearing function.

Perhaps I'll annotate some of the images to clear up any confusion.

@Tarheel: Agreed :) I've contacted a few people, but figured some extra insight through the power of the internet couldn't hurt.

gregzoll 08-04-2013 08:30 PM

Anyway to just find room upstairs on the main floor for it, vs. trying to get it downstairs? What does the backyard look like? Can you cut in a doorway in the basement wall for a Cellar door from the outside?

wkearney99 08-08-2013 05:57 PM

Sure, if you're right, the may be just aesthetic. I'd still plan on doing something in-between the old joists, and possibly underneath them, to stitch them together like how that "rim joist" is performing now. Just to make sure those joists don't move because they depend on that end board (for whatever other design issues might cause that).

I didn't want to go off in another direction, but I also have to ask whether a separate basement entrance might be a worthwhile alternative. But I didn't want to open a whole different 'can of worms'.

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