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ngerhard 01-02-2009 10:16 PM

Open Stairs in Basement
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The stairs to my basement are open on one side (see pictures below). I need to install a railing and some sort of guard on the open side. After doing some research, I have come up with the following options: 1. Railing on wall side and some sort of guard going from stair to ceiling on the open side; 2. Railing and balusters on the open side. Either choice could be possible, but in Option 1 I am concerned how it will look with bars/balusters going from the steps to ceiling. In Option 2, I think it will look the nicest, but the railing would have to be screwed into the ceiling at high end and would leave approximately 36" open area at the top, that I am unsure how to enclose. Any thoughts, suggestions or comments are more than welcome. Thanks.

Rivethead 01-02-2009 11:22 PM

We had the same setup and ended up building in the wall fully to the bottom and then adding a railing on the newly built in wall. Of course, we were starting with an unfinished area. The rail and balusters may be your best choice now - just continue the balusters back with the same spacing to fill in the remaining open area. I worried about the open setup especially with children.....

Termite 01-03-2009 04:05 PM

Pretty common setup you have there.

You have three options as I see it:

1) Install a ballustrade guardrail that dies into the ceiling. It is pretty common and when done right it looks completely natural.

2) Completely wall off the stairs, but that makes the room look smaller and not nearly as nice looking unless you need the wall space. The handrail could mount on either side.

3) Frame a kneewall 34" high off the noses of the stairs to serve as a guard, and cover it in sheetrock or beadboard or whatever matches look you want. The handrail would mount on either side, but I'd put it on the right side as you're going down the stairs, not on the new kneewall.

Options 1 and 3 would require that you tear into the stairs a little bit so you could anchor a newel post securely to the stair jack with bolts or lags, as well as some blocking to stiffen it so it doesn't wiggle.

joetab24 07-10-2009 06:28 PM

hey...I am about to do the same job as your post references. What did you end up doing? Have a pic of finished product?

Scuba_Dave 07-10-2009 06:30 PM

My basement stairs are open on one side
The other side has a railing - but that's about it
My basement is unfinished

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