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Old 03-01-2008, 04:44 PM   #1
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Holes in stair stringers


I need to cut a 2"x3" hole in a stair stringer to put in a light switch. Well, maybe need is too strong a word, but anyway... will such a hole compromise the structural integrity of the stringer? It's 2x12, and wooden.

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Old 03-01-2008, 05:23 PM   #2
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Holes in stair stringers


i'm no structural engineer, but this sounds like a no-no

the "rule of thumb" I seem to remember for putting a hole in a beam or joist is the hole can't be bigger than 1/3 of the depth.

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Old 03-01-2008, 07:01 PM   #3
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Holes in stair stringers


Do not do it period. Yes, you will weaken the stairs doing this.
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Old 03-01-2008, 09:05 PM   #4
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Holes in stair stringers


NFW NO,NOT, wHY CANT YOU SURFACE MOUNT?
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Old 03-01-2008, 09:47 PM   #5
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Holes in stair stringers


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NFW NO,NOT, wHY CANT YOU SURFACE MOUNT?
Heh, I guess I'll have to. I figured it would look prettier if I could mount it in a hole cut into the stringer. Oh well, back to the drawing board.
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Old 03-01-2008, 10:08 PM   #6
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Holes in stair stringers


sorry bout caps :} can you fill in between the stringers in one place and bury the box there? A "ceiling" box? :}:}
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Old 03-01-2008, 10:25 PM   #7
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Holes in stair stringers


I think the best way to explain this would be with a photo.

I want to put in a switch, like what you'd find in a refrigerator, that will turn a light inside this cupboard on or off when the door is opened or closed, respectively. My first thought was to cut a hole in the stringer, put in an electrical box, and put the push button switch there. Since cutting into the stringer is a bad idea, I'll probably just mount the box along the top edge, in the corner behind the left door.
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Old 03-02-2008, 04:30 PM   #8
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Holes in stair stringers


There is a setup that mounts in the door jamb, it is used in closets, basically like an alarm switch :} open door ON close OFF just like a refer
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Old 03-02-2008, 05:58 PM   #9
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Holes in stair stringers


another thought is to put a surface mount box inside with a motion sensor switch. the nice thing about that is even if the door is accidently left open the light will turn off if no one is poking around in side
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Old 03-02-2008, 07:10 PM   #10
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Holes in stair stringers


Quote:
Originally Posted by skymaster View Post
There is a setup that mounts in the door jamb, it is used in closets, basically like an alarm switch :} open door ON close OFF just like a refer

I'm guessing that's the one I saw at HD for about $15. I'm trying to go as cheap as possible, so I've been looking at lots of options.
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Old 03-02-2008, 09:18 PM   #11
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Holes in stair stringers


It appears that the bottom of the stringers is open between them, so why not mount a switch box on the inside of the near stringer (the one closest to the door), and just install a regular switch, facing down. I don't think a jamb mounted switch , as suggested by someone, will work in this instance because the doors are too thin, and will not hide the recessed box and plate, which is sized to be covered by a 1 3/8" or thicker door, and they are a PITA to cut in.

I would suggest you use a small flourescent in here for safety issues. If concerned about the light being left on, you could even use an inexpensive five minute rotary timer for the switch.

Last edited by troubleseeker; 03-02-2008 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 03-02-2008, 10:26 PM   #12
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Holes in stair stringers


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and just install a regular switch, facing down.
Regular wall switch = minus cool points.

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I don't think a jamb mounted switch , as suggested by someone, will work in this instance because the doors are too thin, and will not hide the recessed box and plate, which is sized to be covered by a 1 3/8" or thicker door, and they are a PITA to cut in.
I'd have to agree, in this instance, jamb mounting wouldn't work. The plan (at this point, anyway) is to flush-mount a box in the upper left corner of the opening.

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I would suggest you use a small flourescent in here for safety issues.

I already have the fixture, and it isn't fluorescent. What safety issues are you referring to?
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Old 03-02-2008, 11:49 PM   #13
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Holes in stair stringers


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I already have the fixture, and it isn't fluorescent. What safety issues are you referring to?
probably heat. fluorescents "burn" cool. incadescents get hot, in small spaces heat builds up fast and you run the risk of fire. There is a problem with flurescents that i think he isn't taking into account, they don't work in the cold. Your picture looks like this space might be in an unheated area, and i think your posting mentioned that that you are in Alaska.

just use a low watt bulb, like a 25 watt or less and you should be fine. this is another reason to think about a switch with a montion sensor, it will make sure the light is off if no one is around and the door is accidently left open, reducing the hazards of heat build up in this small space
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Old 03-03-2008, 09:58 AM   #14
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Holes in stair stringers


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Your picture looks like this space might be in an unheated area, and i think your posting mentioned that that you are in Alaska.
I am indeed in Alaska, and that space is not only unheated, it stays freakishly cold all on its own. I've been using it to store dry groceries.

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just use a low watt bulb, like a 25 watt or less and you should be fine.
The fixture I have uses 3 S-type bulbs, which I believe are a max of 40 watts. They're small, though, so I can't see 40 watts putting out that much heat.
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Old 03-08-2008, 11:20 PM   #15
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Holes in stair stringers


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Regular wall switch = minus cool points.

Not trying to hurt your feelings, but this looks like a pretty "uncool" storage area anyway from the pics.





I already have the fixture, and it isn't fluorescent. What safety issues are you referring to?
You are not allowed to have any storage shelving within 12" of an incadescent fixture, because of the fire danger caused by stored items on the shelf.

Just saw that you are in Alaska. Have been up there twice and can't wait to get back. What some awesome country. Not to the Juneau area either time though.

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Last edited by troubleseeker; 03-08-2008 at 11:25 PM.
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