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Billbo128 04-30-2013 08:29 AM

How do you enclose open plan stairs?
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I was just wondering if anyone could give me some ideas. I have an open plan stair case that I want to enclose. Is it an easy job? what sort of wood should i use? what should I cover the back of the stairs up with? Has anyone done this to their own stairs? just looking for some ideas as i'm not the best at DIY lol


BigJim 04-30-2013 09:01 AM

Just a thought, unless you install risers also you will have a dirt catcher with the back enclosed. There are so many different materials you can use to enclose the back with, it would be a matter of your preference. Most use sheet rock to enclose the back as it is also a fire stop.

SquishyBall 04-30-2013 09:06 AM

What kind of plan do you have in mind for the space under the stairs? Are you going to have it be a diagonal ceiling? How far down will the diagonal go before you cut to vertical? Or will it be all enclosed and turned into a closet? I always like the pic on the minwax home page ( when it comes to enclosed undersides of stairs. That looks really nice. Also go to and search for stairs -- you'll find tons of inspiration.

rossfingal 04-30-2013 09:13 AM

Probably, should use 5/8" Type-X, drywall on the underside of the stairs.
Some type of risers, for sure.
The railings would not pass code around here.
(Neither would the stairs!)
If you're going to add risers; and, you're going to paint them -
you could use decent 1 X pine - think about some type of glue -
as well as nails/screws.
We would use Oak.


Willie T 04-30-2013 09:00 PM

What a rare opportunity you're sitting on! Strip those treads, and maybe the stringers too, and refinish them to be the centerpiece of the house. Open stairs cost a fortune to have built.

They could even be fully wrapped with carpet for the lazy way out.

Of course to become code compliant, you're going to have to consider some sort of risers. Maybe two or three horizontal chrome bars, to help keep the "open" effect? 1/2"? Or plexiglas or Lexan? Maybe "tinted"? And change out the railing for one with attractive baulsters and a code compliant handrail... 2x's like that are not only tacky, but dangerous because they afford very poor gripping shapes.

But PLEASE consider alternatives before boxing-in what could become a stunning focal point of your home.

Msradell 04-30-2013 09:15 PM

A little clarification is needed. Do you want to make them look like a conventional stairway by installing risers or do you just want to put a flat sheet of material on the back to prevent items from falling through? These 2 jobs are very different in approach, cost and code compliance. If you want to install risers to make it look like a conventional stairway, the 1st question would be what is the relationship of the front of one step to the back of the one below it? We would also need to know the dimensions of each tread to give you a good answer.

PoleCat 05-01-2013 07:03 AM

Our basement stairs look exactly like yours. I was going to put risers on but noticed that my toe would encroach this area during normal use and would really go deep when hauling a load. I did not like the idea of a dirt trap just tacked to the bottom so they remain open there. The cat digs it that way too. I did remove the old 2X4 railing and put up sides though. I had plenty of 2X2 on hand so I framed from the stairs to joists so the underneath storage would not be interrupted.

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