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Old 09-05-2011, 08:57 PM   #1
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stairwell with I-Joist and unsupported wall


Hi, I am building a new home, I have laid joists and floored the first level, and am ready to begin the second story. I am needing advice on how to frame the stairwell. The stairwell will be located perpendicular to the joists, and one side of the opening (running parallel to the stringers) will be against a wall that happens to be supported by the block foundation, since a block stem-wall runs the length underneath the floor. The regular joists on this floor will span 16'. What I am trying to figure out is whether or not I need to support the other side of the staircase. I found a file on google that shows how to build a box around the opening by using doubled up header and trimmer joists. This file was for APA PRI I-joists which I would figure are pretty standard throughout the industry. It specs what strength are needed for spans etc. (IE. Pri-40, 60 etc.) I am hoping that as long as I follow these specs, I should be fine.

Is this pretty standard as in, I won't need to pour a footing in the crawlspace to build a support, assuming that I have the proper doubled I-joists and hangers in place on the second floor? The building is fairly standard with no complicated load paths or groundbreaking designs here.

There is no need to provide extra support on the first floor where the beginning of the steps are either right? I have searched these pages for similar questions and there is always recommendation of an engineer etc, but due to the simplicity of the design and basic staircase design, I would assume the requirements are similar throughout the industry.

My inspector is pretty hit or miss and rarely answers emails either so hoping to get some general advice. I am going to send over a drawing to the joist mfr and I am sure they can help with more location specific requirements.

When we submitted the drawing for our permit, he basically said ok, there were no blueprints etc, since it was under a certain square footage, so no real guidance or anything to go back and look at as far as his requirements.

I appreciate any advice here!


Last edited by mjjstang; 09-05-2011 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:10 PM   #2
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Was this not in the floor plans? Did the Floor plan that you purchased, had drawn up by an architect, not originally designed for a basement? At this point, because you are making changes in the design of the structure, you will have to most likely have your building department look over approved plans with the changes, or did you not go through the permitting process before shovel hit dirt?

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Old 09-05-2011, 10:15 PM   #3
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What country are you building this house in? In this country, we usually have a set of plans that cover the whole structure with all it's components.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:01 PM   #4
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clearly something did not get through. I tore down a house on existing foundation. I started from existing block. I drew up a floor plan on cad program. Submitted this drawing to the building department. Got well and septic approved, got zoning approved, got building approved. The plan shows just lines distinguishing different rooms etc. This was approved by the AHJ. I am not modifying anything. And this was approved in America. USA to be exact.

Ok, so anyhow, again, I am just asking generally how the floors are framed in for a stairway and if it is necessary to have both sides of the opening supported by foundation IE footers and stem wall. I get the feeling that this forum is populated by a bunch of out of job civil engineers and architects. There are standard building practices that are used in many areas and this particular stairway is about the most basic type imaginable. A simple straight staircase going from one floor to the next. Built with wood stringers.

Again, I am building the type that is perpendicular to joists. As far as having engineers and architects etc look at this, in our area we go by tables that outline size and spec of the product IE. Species in dimensional lumber or APA PRI ratings for I-joist for our spans and design. Then we can use our noggins to figure out what size we need for what span. The lumber companies pretty much do all this "engineering specification" that all these posters keep referring to. I tell them I need to span so an so, and they send the joist rated for that span. This is not a Manhattan sky-scraper I am building. It is a single family residence on block with 2x6 wall and truss roof. I could have designed this house with Lincoln logs when I was 7 years old.

I am not trying to be a jerk, but looking for somebody who has done this before and possibly able to confirm whether or not I am on the right track. If I wanted, I could jump on half the new posts on this forum and tell the guy to ask an engineer because they would know. On the other hand, this is a DIY forum and I am looking for advice on how to do things. If I was posting this in contractor talk, I would be sending out DIY flags and would expect the nonsense "get your plans changed" "step away from your project" kind of responses.

Here is the link for what I did find. It pretty much confirms that I should be able to just build this so called "box" with double joists. but again any insight by somebody who has done this kind of work would be helpful.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sourc...fdyCOw&cad=rja

After reading this again, I do sound like a jerk, but both of you have to admit there is a tone of sarcasm in your responses.

Last edited by mjjstang; 09-05-2011 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:25 PM   #5
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stairwell with I-Joist and unsupported wall


[quote+mjjstang;722006]I am just asking generally how the floors are framed in for a stairway and if it is necessary to have both sides of the opening supported by foundation IE footers and stem wall.[/quote]



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Originally Posted by mjjstang View Post
This is not a Manhattan sky-scraper I am building. It is a single family residence on block with 2x6 wall and truss roof. I could have designed this house with Lincoln logs when I was 7 years old.
And you can't figure out how the stairwell is framed.....
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:46 PM   #6
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No, I am pretty sure I have it figured out exactly, as the file has outlined. I just wanted some chatter and input from people who know more than I on the topic. I think I have quite a bit of the fundamentals down, more-so than the average DIY'er. Apparently this forum too is like the majority out there, low post count and question that nobody can seem to answer so they just sh*t on me until I leave.

I am not asking "how should I do this. I am going to do this the way you tell me and then blame you to the inspector when he doesn't pass it because you told me to do it this way". I am asking that if somebody out there has worked with I-joists in the situation that I am presented without a foundation below to transfer the load, then please if you don't mind, share some knowledge that I don't posses.

At this point I don't really care if it is answered. I have come to realize that this forum is filled with the same people that are over at contractor talk, but when things are slow over there (IE not many DIY'ers over there accidentally posting and getting Sh*T on, they come over here to do the Sh*tting.)

Then again, I can understand your sarcastic comments, you're from Jersey; It's not your fault necessarily.

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Old 09-06-2011, 12:19 AM   #7
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stairwell with I-Joist and unsupported wall


If you just drew it up on a CAD program, did not have an architect draw up floor plans, in reality, you are now modifying the plans from the original drawings that were submitted. Even though I am a consumer. having/allowing CAD type programs such as Punch, which were originally intended to be for "educational" purposes only, are just bad things. It falls in the same lines as having software that allows anyone to be an accountant, tax preparer, or even worst yet, a lawyer.

Bad thing about software programs, is they have a lot of shortcomings, and one is that they can not calculate loads, soil problems, etc. And I am sorry to throw this in, building on top of a old foundation, without knowing load calculations, footing design, if it will even handle the new structure, that is another to throw a monkey wrench into the works.

It is just that we are removing any liability from the fact that we, the forum, the mod's are not responsible for what a person may do, since things can happen, and you are talking about structures, lives, etc. Yes I could say how to build a stairwell, but I would pull out one of the construction books that I have downstairs, that my dad gave me, that my grandfather gave to him, and then I would pull out some paper, pencil and calculator to figure it. After that, I would toss it, and just call a contractor buddy to build the stairs for me, because he has done it hundreds of thousands of times.

As for your original question, doing it with standard timber framing is easy, because you do it as you are framing, not afterwards. Doing it with engineered beam & trussing systems is a whole another ball game, and only a few on here could tell you, but they are not going to be held legally responsible for it.

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Old 09-06-2011, 12:33 AM   #8
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Thank you for the reply, it is funny I actually did use punch. I have to say I was surprised when the inspector told me he only needed a drawing, he mentioned if I was making changes, "just let me know when you have time to". As far as foundation, we have the footing below frost line and twice block width. etc etc, These things have been verified with the IRC to assure that we are good there. In fact we already know that one addition area needs to be modified with exterior insulation because whoever laid the block decided to go down half the depth of the frost line. This has already been approved by the inspector. In all honesty, if the inspector would answer his phone or email, I wouldn't be posting here. He is not an easy guy to get a hold of.

The stairway is not any different than what the drawings show, so I am not modifying anything but he didn't even have us fill out the general spec sheet they include with the permit papers, just said ok have a nice day.
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:40 AM   #9
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Post the drawing of the floor plan. As for where the stairs are going, you could take out a closet, or do a bump out on the side, and build a block foundation, with footing, and run the stairs down the side. Just means that like some places out there, you will have a rectangle sticking out that to some, will look like a closet, but your stairs are there. That means, you are not robbing living space, or a closet from the house. How far are you into the framing process as of now?

Figure four feet by six foot space, with a 30 inch doorway. My stairway going into my basement is aprox. 42 inches wide, and about ten foot long, and in front of it on our main floor, is our pantry, which is aprox four feet by five feet. From there, you have the rough calc, and should be able to figure in the I joists. Here is another apa document for the stairwell construction. http://www.apa-europe.org/Languages/English/PDF/20.pdf And a more up to date i-joist guide from 2004 http://buildwise.org/library/constru...oist-guide.pdf

Do a search at apawood.org for stair http://apawood.org/level_c.cfm?conte...s&pubGroup=res It will give you the tech stuff on stairwell opening, but you will have to register. It looks like the document may be the same that you found in the google search.

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Old 09-06-2011, 01:13 AM   #10
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Here is a crude drawing I made up just now to show what I plan on doing. The layout is obviously the plan for the 2nd story joists. The dashes show the footprint of the building, essentially this area will just be a roof over the first floor. The red area as labeled is where the foundation exists. Other than this area there is no support it is just dirt, the first floor has 16' 11 7/8" clear span I joists going same direction as planned for 2nd floor.



The second picture shows the more detailed drawing of what we submitted to the inspector. Nothing changing, just at the point of ordering the lumber so I want to make sure I am doing this correctly. I am not asking what rating do I need and what size, but more so, is this how normally staircases are framed when you don't have a load bearing wall all around the opening. I plan on framing walls around the stair way and this will become a utility closet or pantry etc. Aside from the load bearing wall outlined in the crude drawing in red, the others will of course be non-load bearing.



Right now I have the first floor joists installed and 3/4 T+G laid. The layout is a 24x24 with a 16x34 to the right as looking from the front (shown in the cad drawing) As I mentioned this 16x34 rectangular section uses joists 16' with clear span.

Another note, I realize someone here is going to nitpick and tell me I don't have closets in the bedroom etc etc, This was an earlier version I did not submit, but for our purposes this drawing will work, I am sure there are some other errors too that have been fixed up.

Gregzoll, I thank you for taking the time to entertain my thoughts!

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Old 09-06-2011, 02:47 AM   #11
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The sad thing is, you lost kitchen space due to the stairs. Now of course, you could make it so that you have it open where you can not have the walls go all the way up to enclose the stairwell, so that the kitchen seems more open to the dining and living room. If it was me, and I am just saying, I would have put the utility where the dining I am guessing at the top right, and moved the kitchen to the bottom right, where I am guessing is the living room. And actually turned the bath sideways between the back bed & the stairwell, and that way, the plumbing would have come down along the wall where the stairwell is.

It would have opened the entry, and gave you a little more room for the bath, so that it would have been as wide as it is, but long across the width between the bedroom and stairwell. Now as it, you could always put a small office area, or day room, in that area across from the bath, next to the bedroom up front.
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Old 09-06-2011, 05:32 AM   #12
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24x24 is just 1 story.2nd is only above the one area 16x24. Also kitchen is front center din is front right and liv is back right. Knowing this how would you go. I value your advice but keep in mind this is a country area where we are going economical for cost to build as well as heat/maintain, hoping to sell down the road. Not planning to cut corners, rather build for function. Thanks.

A side question, ready to truss the bed/bath/kit area, r49 req ceiling. Standard 4/12 truss. Is 12" energy heel ok?
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Old 09-06-2011, 07:34 AM   #13
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sounds like you have an inspector like I would like to have.
To answer your question, if I understand correctly; your joist at the GREEN markings should be doubled, header at Yellow doubled, hanger their connection and hanger everything coming into that header. No posts are needed under doubled joists (to foundation) and no special framing or footing are needed to carry foot or base of stair. This is a basic standard, which from your drawings I'm sure you have.
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:16 PM   #14
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Just call or go to the I-joist manufacture web site. There should be a field-guide similar to this with the joists, folded-up and stapled on a web; http://cmfac.groups.et.byu.net/tharm...ng%20guide.pdf

That tub full of water and a person inside may require something stronger....... remember to move a joist off layout if necessary for the toilet, tub drains. Remember the sinks drain connects to the toilet vent--- plan ahead for less problems working with doublers.

Remember egress (escape) size in bedroom windows; http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=...33otStRi7Aff7g

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Old 09-06-2011, 09:31 PM   #15
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Assuming you are using I Joists, you don't need to double anything. You will need to cut plywood spacer materials to fill in the web of the I Joist where the I Joists intersect with the yellow marked member and use hangers that wrap over the I Joists. I'd suggest using a construction adhesive in the hanger as well as nailing it. It eliminates a lot of floor squeaks in that area. Remember, while the room is 16' wide with the run of the joists, the area where the stairs are going will be shorter- probably less than 13 feet. The yellow I Joist should be sitting on top of the stud wall beneath it.

Just in case I'm not reading the "plans" right. If there is no wall under the stairwell and you're going to have an open stairwell, assuming you are going to use TJI 360 load I Joists of 11 7/8", you would glue and nail every 16" a 2x 10 between 2 I Joists running the full length of the span to make it a double I Joist. At the yellow beam, you also use a 2x 10 glued and nailed to make a double I Joist. On the yellow beam, you would mount that using a double joist hanger at each end. Again, I would suggest gluing the hanger and I Joist in place along with the appropriate nails. The 2x 10 will fit in the web member (the OSB/ply) and secure the rails of the I Joists. Use a good construction adhesive, not Elmers glue. You'll still use the plywood spacers and hangers for the shorter I Joist hanging from the yellow beam. Your inspector may also want to see squash blocking there to prevent any racking of the I Joists- expect it or do it.


Last edited by TrapperL; 09-06-2011 at 10:04 PM.
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