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Old 09-20-2009, 11:41 AM   #1
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Basement stair wall load bearing? (pictures)


Hi,
I'm starting to consider finishing my basement. I'm toying with the idea of opening up the stairwell leading into the basement on one or both sides by adding in railings. I'm not sure if the framed walls on either side of the basement stairs are load bearing. Can anyone tell based on these photos? Thanks for looking!!







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Old 09-20-2009, 11:48 AM   #2
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Basement stair wall load bearing? (pictures)


What is above?

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Old 09-20-2009, 12:20 PM   #3
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Basement stair wall load bearing? (pictures)


I'll wait for the next picture of above load, as mentioned. But, because they doubled the stairwell side joists to carry the doubled header joist with double hangers, and there are no posts or doubled studs in the walls below for an upper bearing point, it looks good to remove. I would suggest fixing the floor nails above that missed the joists from the deck sheathing. Bend them away from the joist (air nails) so they don't rub against the wood and squeak. Very hard to fix after drywall on ceiling.
Be safe, Gary
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Old 09-20-2009, 12:48 PM   #4
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Basement stair wall load bearing? (pictures)


Hi, thank you for the replies. Above this stairwell is the stairwell going from the first floor to the second floor of the house. Is that what you mean by "what is above?"
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Old 09-20-2009, 01:19 PM   #5
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Basement stair wall load bearing? (pictures)


So...you have two stories and this basement. While it doesnt "look" like a load bearing wall...you should be prepared for some movement that results in cracking drywall and noticable changes in the rigidity of the stair. Your photos dont show much about the stairway and you didn't ask about that but those walls probably help support them.
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Old 09-20-2009, 01:29 PM   #6
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Basement stair wall load bearing? (pictures)


I was thinking the same thing mics. I'd like to see those walls go under the stringers providing support for them.
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Old 09-20-2009, 01:37 PM   #7
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Basement stair wall load bearing? (pictures)


Thanks, it's not a big deal if I end up keeping it closed up. I am going to have it looked at by someone and go from there.
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Old 09-20-2009, 01:41 PM   #8
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Basement stair wall load bearing? (pictures)


Leaving the stud wall below (on the side) the stairs would still support the stairs

A local set of eyes for review is a good choice
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Old 09-20-2009, 02:38 PM   #9
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Basement stair wall load bearing? (pictures)


The main reason the wall is down there is to meet fire code in order to sell the house, after built. (Hence the single top plate) All the supporting joists are doubled, which is beyond code if the stair opening is under 4' wide. With only another set built directly above, and no other point loads, the wall is not required IF: the joists are 2x10's; they span 16' or less; they are hem/fir or another species with a fiber bending rating of 1150; and the side joists are one piece- full span. A single 2x10 df has a load rating of 1250# for a 13' span, and a doubled 2x10 has a rating of 2100#, if properly nailed together. Your upper stairs and the tail joists do not weigh that much. A tile floor or a point load would change this, so it is good to get a local (on site) opinion.
If the billowing white plastic is covering fiberglass insulation on a concrete wall below grade, you will want to change that. Here are the why's and how's: http://www.buildingscienceseminars.c...w&Retrofit.pdf
This on the white plastic vapor barrier or retarder: http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...gs?full_view=1
Be safe, Gary
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Old 09-20-2009, 03:34 PM   #10
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Basement stair wall load bearing? (pictures)


thanks, yeah the billowing white plastic is insulation that the builder added when the house was built. It's nailed right into the concrete. Is the lack of inward drying the reason to change it?
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Old 09-20-2009, 06:08 PM   #11
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Basement stair wall load bearing? (pictures)


Exactly! Here is more information in addition to the others: http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...hterm=basement The first site I gave you, on pages 8-11, shows your basement.

2" extruded foam board glued to concrete (canned foam), 1" air space to wood framed wall on pressure treated plate on sill sealer (thermal break), with unfaced batt insulation and drywall or better yet, Denshield, and latex paint, no vapor barrier. Use the scrap pieces at the rim joists: http://www.rd.com/57548/article57548.html
Be safe, Gary

Last edited by Gary in WA; 09-20-2009 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:10 AM   #12
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Basement stair wall load bearing? (pictures)


thanks for that great info!
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Old 09-21-2009, 06:46 PM   #13
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You're welcome. Now you have to picture document the work for us!
Be safe, Gary
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Old 09-23-2009, 05:01 AM   #14
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will do!

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