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Old 05-30-2017, 02:19 PM   #1
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Adding risers to basement stairs


I'm in the process of finishing my basement, and I've ran into a snag regarding what to do with the basement stairs. We have open backs (no risers), and are leaning towards putting carpet on them for the finished product. I've been doing a lot of research on how to tackle this, but most things I've seen reference stringers that are cut in a step pattern. Mine is just a side board with blocks attached under the treads. The stairs are an "L" shape, with steps going to a landing, then switching direction for the other run to the bottom.

Here are the general measurements of what I have, and I'm attaching a few pics for reference also:
The treads are approximately 33 3/4" wide by 9" deep.
The rise between the top of the treads is about 8" but varies slightly between steps, some have a bit less than 8.
The overhang of the tread with the support block underneath varies widely from none at all to about 1/2" on others. Very inconsistent.
There is a plywood backer on them, which currently serves to catch dirt and dust. I could remove the lower one for access but not the upper one.

I'm looking to add risers to the backs so it's fully closed and ready for carpeting sometime down the road. I'm fairly handy with tools and I'm ready to tackle this job. I just need a hand figuring out how to approach it and what works best since I'm not having much luck searching online for the correct path. Any advice you can give me would be much appreciated.

Not sure why the pics attached sideways, sorry! There isn't a rotate option on the site and they appear normally on my pc.
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Last edited by kwikfishron; 05-30-2017 at 06:18 PM. Reason: Rotate pictures
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Old 05-30-2017, 03:15 PM   #2
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Re: Adding risers to basement stairs


Those are cheapest stairs made. Looks like the type you use during construction.
I would consider replacing the whole thing if you want a finished look.
Or cut the stringers and install new treads and risers. Looks like they are already marked out nicely for you to cut them.
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Last edited by joed; 05-30-2017 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 05-30-2017, 03:26 PM   #3
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Re: Adding risers to basement stairs


What Joed said.
What you have there are temporary construction stairs. If you add risers under the treads you're going to have a ton of squeaks since those stair treads are deflecting under each footstep.
If it's an unfinished basement and you don't use the stairs that often, well I suppose you could just leave them as is for now. If you're going to finish the basement or if that's the way you come and go from the house more than once a week, then yeah...you should put in proper stairs.
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Old 05-30-2017, 05:34 PM   #4
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Re: Adding risers to basement stairs


As the others have said, the best thing would be to build a proper code compliant set of steps. As they are right now, they are not building code compliant and will be less compliant if you install risers without extending the tread nosings.
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:45 PM   #5
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Re: Adding risers to basement stairs


Am amazed they let you occupy the house with those stairs.
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Old 05-31-2017, 06:05 AM   #6
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Re: Adding risers to basement stairs


Those will eventually fall apart.

As mentioned, how did the builder get the house approved???
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Old 05-31-2017, 07:23 AM   #7
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Re: Adding risers to basement stairs


Check your stairs rule. What I remember is 9.5" treads and 7.5" risers. Difference can't be more than 1/4". You also need 1" rounded nosing. Some of your cleats WILL split and those treads WILL fall under your step - widow makers waiting to happen. Predrill and use screws for these cleats and use dry lumber to make them.
Rip it all out and start with 2x12 for treads. Must collect flat, straight and dry lumber. Possible to do if you go through the stack at several box stores.
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Old 05-31-2017, 08:28 AM   #8
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Re: Adding risers to basement stairs


Thank you all for your replies on this. I'm pretty annoyed the builder left us with this mess since the house is only 7 years old and somehow it passed inspection.

Either way, I want to make sure it is done right and safely since we are finishing the basement and stair traffic will be increasing. Looks like I'll be redoing the entire staircase

This is going to be a job since the top part of the stairs (not in the picture, that's the bottom half) is already drywalled and not easily removed. Thanks to joed for suggesting to cut my own stringers since they are marked already. Saves me a few bucks in lumber cost.
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Old 05-31-2017, 08:36 AM   #9
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Re: Adding risers to basement stairs


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mstyle View Post
Thank you all for your replies on this. I'm pretty annoyed the builder left us with this mess since the house is only 7 years old and somehow it passed inspection.

Either way, I want to make sure it is done right and safely since we are finishing the basement and stair traffic will be increasing. Looks like I'll be redoing the entire staircase

This is going to be a job since the top part of the stairs (not in the picture, that's the bottom half) is already drywalled and not easily removed. Thanks to joed for suggesting to cut my own stringers since they are marked already. Saves me a few bucks in lumber cost.
I'd also add a third (center) stringer.
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Old 05-31-2017, 09:24 AM   #10
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Re: Adding risers to basement stairs


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mstyle View Post
Thank you all for your replies on this. I'm pretty annoyed the builder left us with this mess since the house is only 7 years old and somehow it passed inspection.

Either way, I want to make sure it is done right and safely since we are finishing the basement and stair traffic will be increasing. Looks like I'll be redoing the entire staircase

This is going to be a job since the top part of the stairs (not in the picture, that's the bottom half) is already drywalled and not easily removed. Thanks to joed for suggesting to cut my own stringers since they are marked already. Saves me a few bucks in lumber cost.
Not to make light of the situation, but if that is the worst problem that the builder left you with then I would consider myself lucky.
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