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frozensneaker 11-13-2013 04:12 PM

Converting a staircase from open on 1 side, to open on 2 sides.

New to the forum. Any help on this would be very appreciated.
I have a center hall colonial with a staircase that I may change.

I am hoping to remove the wall, cut the top of the stringer, and replace the bottom 4 treads and risers with wider parts. I would leave all the upper treads in place.

I would like to add a double bull nose starting step, and have a starting newel on both sides, and use turnouts on the railing on both sides as well.

I want to remove a little of the wall (maybe 2' 6") along the staircase all the way to the first floor ceiling to match the opposite, open side.

I would remove the carpet, and re-carpet in a similar manner after everything is complete.

I was thinking to sand the upper treads to remove the polyurethane and attempt to match the new, wider treads with the existing upper ones. Matching closely concerns me.

On the living room side, I will have to frame and drywall the little knee wall under the stringer. (maybe to also help support the cut stringer?)

What potential issues does anyone see?

I am concerned about pulling out the existing nailed and glued treads out of the stringer, and getting the new ones in cleanly.

I am looking into re-tread toppers as well.

I think I would use 1/4" sanded plywood strips painted white as the risers.

Since the bottom 4 steps would be getting ~4" wider, I think I would have to cut another stringer to attach to the outside of the current stringer after its cut. Then frame under it and drywall hopefully flush with the rest of the room.

I have done some work on stairs in the past. Adding a newel and balusters, etc. with success. I should have all the appropriate tools as well. (i.e. 12" double bevel chop saw, table saw, air tools, etc) Although this project will be far more complicated I think.

Thanks in advance for any input.


nealtw 11-13-2013 06:20 PM

Hey, welcome to the site. Before you get into the details about the new stairs, let's just look at the wall. Stand in from of the stairs and look up, now look higher at the ceiling. On the right side there is a double floor joist that runs in beside the stair case. Hanging off of that is a double joist running to your wall to the left. Hanging from that double are the other floor joist that end there where the ceiling stops above the first tread. All that weight is transferred to a double stud in the wall directly under that double joist , quite near the light switch.
I can be proven wrong but that's what you find in most houses. So down stairs from this in the crawlspace or basement you will be looking to see if there is a wall or post below this area or evan a double floor joist below this wall.

frozensneaker 11-13-2013 06:37 PM

Thanks Nealtw,

I was concerned about the weight issue as well.
There is a double 2 x 10 under the wall I want to remove. No post in the basement though. I think that is also because joists are connected perpendicular to support the foyer floor in front of the stairs, and the staircase.
There are double 2 x 10s in the first floor ceiling on both sides of the stairs. (over the newel and wall)
One point, the wall over the newel is open and not supported by any side wall.
I was also considering adding one more 2 x10 to each side in the basement ceiling. The span is long, over 16ft.
If I were to do this, I would add a double jack stud from the floor to the ceiling, nice and tight, to the double 2 x10 in the first floor ceiling. This would cut the span in half.

nealtw 11-13-2013 07:37 PM

It looks like you did good proving me wrong. The double under the wall says to me, they were trying to lighten the load on the ceiling upstairs. So adding another layer in the basement would not hurt. When you cut back the wall you will be moving the point load if there is one. You might consider a 1.75" x 9.25" lvl instead of a 2x10 When we get close to 16 ft span engineers call for floor joist at 12" on center, at 18 ft they call for double 2x10s at 12" on center.

BridgeMan 11-16-2013 08:02 PM

If the wall on the left is modified (opened up) to make it symmetrical with the wall on the right, relocating the light switch could prove to be problematic. Moving it to near the new end of the shortened wall will require walking up and down several steps to turn the light on and off.

nealtw 11-17-2013 01:53 PM

Bridgeman makes a good point and on looking at it again, I question the head room. To get the required 80" above the stair that turns into the living room you may have to remove what looks like a header and the crown molding. The 80 inches may limit where you start the flair.

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