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Old 02-22-2011, 11:57 AM   #1
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Build stairs to basement (none exist)


We purchased a new home a little over a year ago in in Northern California. The builder added a 'basement' to the home, but its unfinished and only accessible from outside the home (i.e. you have to walk into the backyard in order to get to it). Well I really want to add stairs from inside the home down to the basement and am wondering if this is something I can do myself from a cost stand point.

The biggest obstacle I see is the support beams we'd be cutting into run perpendicular to the "hole" we'd be cutting and I'm not sure how to reinforce them.

Any help and suggestions would be appreciated as to how I should go about this.






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Old 02-22-2011, 01:42 PM   #2
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Build stairs to basement (none exist)


you'll need to put in a double header to cap the end of the cut joists. Use joist hangers to support them. You will also need a 4x4 post below the point where the last uncut joist meets the doubled header. That hole may also need to be turned into an L shape if you don't have room to put the stairs in in one run and have to turn them

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Old 02-22-2011, 01:43 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply mrgins. Do you think this idea is feasible and the layout works?
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Old 02-22-2011, 02:19 PM   #4
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Build stairs to basement (none exist)


can you turn the opening 90 degrees so that you have less floor structure to modify?? you are going to need at least the the same distance as the width of your stairs at the bottom and top as an ending point to turn and exit/enter the stairs.

i recommend you research stair building so they come out to your expectations... you will have to do some basic math and take into account anticipated flooring changes upstairs or downstairs that may affect final step heights.

it is definitely a diy project.

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Old 02-22-2011, 04:02 PM   #5
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By rotating 90 degrees, do you mean something like this?

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Old 02-22-2011, 06:19 PM   #6
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Thanks for the reply mrgins. Do you think this idea is feasible and the layout works?
It's very feasible, but the main thing to watch is the headroom. Google "stairs" to see what the requirements are for basement stairs. I believe it's 6'-8" from the top of the tread to the bottom of the ceiling directly above it. Use scrap wood to lay it out before you cut thru the floor. Good luck
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Old 02-22-2011, 06:37 PM   #7
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Build stairs to basement (none exist)


definitely doable.

double header across the cut joists, and also double the joist that the header connects to.

you'll need to construct a temporary support in the basement before cutting the joists.

lay this out carefully though. as others have said, make sure you can fit stairs in the opening that leave enough headroom at the bottom.

easy layout from underneath with a laser level and some careful measurements.
building the stairs will be the easy part, believe it or not.
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Old 02-22-2011, 06:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jaketoolson View Post
By rotating 90 degrees, do you mean something like this?

that's 180 (a.k.a. "u-shaped"). you could potentially shorten the hole in the floor if you needed to by turning 90 (aka "L-shaped").


I don't know your code, but here is that if the header joist span is over 3.2m (10'-6") the header joists need to be engineer spec. And if the header joist is over 2m (6'-8"), the trimmer joists need to be engineer spec.

Last edited by fungku; 02-22-2011 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:07 PM   #9
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Build stairs to basement (none exist)


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can you turn the opening 90 degrees so that you have less floor structure to modify??
You have more work that way because you have to make the opening L-shaped and have to support the inside corner of the opening where it turns 90.

The way the OP has it is the easiest way to do it.
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:32 PM   #10
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this is a neat project-i want to see how it turns out!
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:59 PM   #11
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You have more work that way because you have to make the opening L-shaped and have to support the inside corner of the opening where it turns 90.

The way the OP has it is the easiest way to do it.
he might have meant running the stairs so the long side would be the trimmer joists.
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Old 02-23-2011, 08:26 AM   #12
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Build stairs to basement (none exist)


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By rotating 90 degrees, do you mean something like this?

no, I meant in reference to your first sketch, turning the stairs 90 degrees so they were under the window..

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Old 02-23-2011, 08:32 AM   #13
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he might have meant running the stairs so the long side would be the trimmer joists.
yes that is what I meant.

that is how the stairs in my house were run and it meant that only 1 floor joist was cut out and the header was only supporting that one joist.. no temp wall was needed while rebuilding stairs.

I guess that because there is access from outside, these stairs will not have to accommodate carrying things like appliances, etc.

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Old 02-23-2011, 09:23 AM   #14
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Build stairs to basement (none exist)


you need a minimum of 3' finished clear landing top and bottom of stairs. is there enough space on your first drawing
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:26 AM   #15
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Build stairs to basement (none exist)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Carola View Post
You have more work that way because you have to make the opening L-shaped and have to support the inside corner of the opening where it turns 90.

The way the OP has it is the easiest way to do it.
Joe is right. Making a square opening will be a lot easier for a first time DIYer.

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