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Old 05-27-2013, 12:17 PM   #1
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Modifying existing (old) framing to extend stair opening


I have a 100 year old home with a very low clearance (< 6 ft) above the stairs between the first and second floor. Moving furniture (or being tall) is really difficult in our home! Since I'm working on a reno on the second floor and have the floor joists exposed anyway, I thought I might take a stab at fixing the problem.

I've attached a couple of drawings showing the existing structure, and two options I've come up with for extending the stair opening by one joist bay. The second option is a little "cleaner", but it would involve more plaster repair. In both options I'm not sure what to do with the end of the new sistered joist where it meets the double brick wall. I'm hoping I can get away without cutting a new pocket into the brick, but I'll do it if I have to.

You are not my engineer, I know. I still want to hear from anyone who might have done something like this before to see what option looks the most sensible.
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:29 PM   #2
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Modifying existing (old) framing to extend stair opening


Here's a pdf copy of the drawings

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Old 05-27-2013, 05:52 PM   #3
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Modifying existing (old) framing to extend stair opening


The second drawing is the safest--the last one uses scabs to hold the outside joist and ,while workable. is not as good as the one above ----
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Old 05-28-2013, 10:53 AM   #4
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Modifying existing (old) framing to extend stair opening


Thanks Oh'mike. The third drawing actually uses the stud below to support the extended header. The "scab" plates are just to keep the splice in-line. That said, the second drawing is easier to make anyway.

In both cases I'm relying on the stair wall below to take the vertical load from the splice in the header. I'm having a tough time convincing myself though, because the current building code prevents studs "on the flat" from being used as a structural wall (although that clearly wasn't the case in 1920).
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Old 05-28-2013, 01:52 PM   #5
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Modifying existing (old) framing to extend stair opening


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Originally Posted by nuclearnerd View Post
I'm having a tough time convincing myself though, because the current building code prevents studs "on the flat" from being used as a structural wall (although that clearly wasn't the case in 1920).
Yes, that might be an issue for getting it permitted. But since you're going to be tearing up a fair bit of wall around the area that shouldn't be too much trouble to just frame it up to current code requirements.
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Old 06-24-2013, 12:10 AM   #6
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Modifying existing (old) framing to extend stair opening


Just as a follow up: I took wkearney99's advise. I reframed the wall below to extend it one more stud. Now the joist that I'll cut is supported from below, and I don't have to stress too much about sistering joists above. Thanks for all your help.

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