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Old 01-05-2009, 09:54 AM   #1
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Converting an open staircase to a "closed" staircase?


Hi all,

Looking for a little guidance here. Right now, I have an "open" staircase - pls see STAIRS 1, STAIRS 2 and STAIRS 3. I want to close-up the whole thing...so, add risers, and then sheetrock the bottom to close that off. Also, the treads were never meant to be finished...it is crappy wood that is warped, chewed up, has paint splotches, etc...so I want to replace the treads with yellow pine treads and shellac them.

I also want to replace the disgusting handrail on there now with something similar to the SAMPLE photo attached (just the ballusters and handrail!)

Some questions:

1) I want the ballusters to contact the end of the treads, like in the SAMPLE photo...I don't want what I think is called a "shoe rail." How do the ballusters get secured to the treads?

2) How do the ballusters get secured to the bottom of the handrail?

3) Is there a standard angle at which I would cut the tops of the ballusters to join them to the handrail?

4) Note that in the pics of the existing staircaise, the two stringers are not at the ends of the treads, but toward the middle. My plan was to enclose both sides of the staircase by adding stringers to the ends...it is a full staircase - 12 stairs. Do they make PRECUT stringers of that length?

5) to hold the new "end stringers" in place, I was going to secure them to the bottom of the treads, and then attach 2X4 cross-braces between them and the "inner stringers" at regular intervals...sound like a good idea?

Thanks for the help!!!!!!
Attached Thumbnails
Converting an open staircase to a "closed" staircase?-stairs-1.jpg   Converting an open staircase to a "closed" staircase?-stairs-2.jpg   Converting an open staircase to a "closed" staircase?-stairs-3.jpg   Converting an open staircase to a "closed" staircase?-sample.jpg  

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Old 01-05-2009, 11:23 AM   #2
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Converting an open staircase to a "closed" staircase?


Quote:
Originally Posted by tony1853 View Post

Some questions:

1) I want the ballusters to contact the end of the treads, like in the SAMPLE photo...I don't want what I think is called a "shoe rail." How do the ballusters get secured to the treads?

2) How do the ballusters get secured to the bottom of the handrail?

3) Is there a standard angle at which I would cut the tops of the ballusters to join them to the handrail?

4) Note that in the pics of the existing staircaise, the two stringers are not at the ends of the treads, but toward the middle. My plan was to enclose both sides of the staircase by adding stringers to the ends...it is a full staircase - 12 stairs. Do they make PRECUT stringers of that length?

5) to hold the new "end stringers" in place, I was going to secure them to the bottom of the treads, and then attach 2X4 cross-braces between them and the "inner stringers" at regular intervals...sound like a good idea?

Thanks for the help!!!!!!
1) Wooden ballisters use a double ended wood screw.
http://www.ljsmith.com/lj-3076.html
Metal ballisters use epoxy.

2) Most are turned to a 1/2" diameter, glue or epoxy

3) These must be drilled at the pitch of the rail

4) You must cut you own stringers to match

5) Stringers hold the treads and risers and must be supported at the top and bottom.

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What we've got here is... failure to communicate. Some men you just can't reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it... well, he gets it.

Last edited by 47_47; 01-05-2009 at 11:28 AM. Reason: Hit the submit button too quick.
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Old 01-05-2009, 11:50 AM   #3
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Converting an open staircase to a "closed" staircase?


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Originally Posted by 47_47 View Post
1) Wooden ballisters use a double ended wood screw.
http://www.ljsmith.com/lj-3076.html
Metal ballisters use epoxy.

2) Most are turned to a 1/2" diameter, glue or epoxy

3) These must be drilled at the pitch of the rail

4) You must cut you own stringers to match

5) Stringers hold the treads and risers and must be supported at the top and bottom.
Hi, thanks for the info.

One question about #5....since these "end stringers" aren't bearing any weight - the treads are presently on the two stringers in the middle - I thought I could get away with attaching them to the bottom of treads and the existing stringers with 2X4 cross-beams.

no good?
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Old 01-05-2009, 12:09 PM   #4
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Converting an open staircase to a "closed" staircase?


Even though you are using the new outside stringer for a nailer, my concern would be that the weight of the stringer, skirt board and drywall, would lead to cracking of the drywall.

I'd open the underside of the stairwell and secure the top of the new outside stringer to solid blocking in the wall, then repair the drywall. You're only talking one more sheet.

Because you're closing in the underside of the stairs, you should also think about adding a stringer and a skirt board on the right side of the stairs.

Good luck and welcome to the forum.
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Old 01-05-2009, 12:21 PM   #5
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Converting an open staircase to a "closed" staircase?


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Originally Posted by 47_47 View Post
Even though you are using the new outside stringer for a nailer, my concern would be that the weight of the stringer, skirt board and drywall, would lead to cracking of the drywall.

I'd open the underside of the stairwell and secure the top of the new outside stringer to solid blocking in the wall, then repair the drywall. You're only talking one more sheet.

Because you're closing in the underside of the stairs, you should also think about adding a stringer and a skirt board on the right side of the stairs.

Good luck and welcome to the forum.
Hi, and thanks again. Yes, I was going to add the stringer to the right side...the edge of the treads is about 1" away from the wall...I assume that the gap would be closed with a skirt board?

And just to be clear, the skirt board looks like a stringer but is not "notched-out" for the treads, yes?

I assume that the stringers are secured to the 2nd floor with some kind of a hanger, like a joist hanger? so, you are recommended securing these outside stringers in the same way, yes?

And lastly, how do I secure the stringers to the floor? Right now, there is a tile floor there, laid over a concrete slab. I have never looked, so I don't know if the tile are cut our around the existing stringers because the floor-end of stringers is attached to the concrete, or if the stringers are simply laying on top of the tile (if that is even possible)

Thanks again for all of your help!!

Last edited by tony1853; 01-05-2009 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 01-05-2009, 01:19 PM   #6
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Converting an open staircase to a "closed" staircase?


Ideally, you should router shallow grooves into the right side stringer to accept the treads and risers. This way any gaps would'nt be seen. Working from the underside, you could then glue in some wedges or glue blocks.

I use metal 'L' brackets for the top.

The stringers should be resting directly on the sub floor or concrete, not on the tile. The way to secure the bottom is to make a notch for a PT 2x4 and secure the 2x4 to the concrete. The stringers are then attached to this block.

Here's the stair that I just did.
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Converting an open staircase to a "closed" staircase?-000_0331.jpg   Converting an open staircase to a "closed" staircase?-000_0334.jpg  
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Old 01-05-2009, 01:31 PM   #7
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Converting an open staircase to a "closed" staircase?


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Originally Posted by 47_47 View Post
Ideally, you should router shallow grooves into the right side stringer to accept the treads and risers. This way any gaps would'nt be seen. Working from the underside, you could then glue in some wedges or glue blocks.

I use metal 'L' brackets for the top.

The stringers should be resting directly on the sub floor or concrete, not on the tile. The way to secure the bottom is to make a notch for a PT 2x4 and secure the 2x4 to the concrete. The stringers are then attached to this block.

Here's the stair that I just did.
THANKS! Those stairs are fantastic....and the iron ballisters have me rethinking wooden ballisters...much more expensive???
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Old 01-05-2009, 01:55 PM   #8
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Converting an open staircase to a "closed" staircase?


Thank you,

I'd have to look at my cost, but the metal ballisters and caps were actually less than the wooden ones the wife wanted. They alternate between a straight and one with a twist in it.

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