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1victorianfarmhouse 12-12-2013 11:50 PM

Folding or sliding section of barn stairs?
A friend recently purchased a spot of property far out in the sticks. The house and barn look to have been well built in the late 1940s.

The barn had a stairway along the wall on one side that led to the upper storage section in the rafters. Some time afterwards, a regular sized people door was added to that side to make an entrance besides the large barn door. In order to make room for the door, the first 5 steps of the stairway were removed and a rickety ladder used to access the stairway....

My friend is trying to figure out how to make a section of regular stairs that match up with the existing stairs, but that can be made to fold up or slide under to still allow usage of the door, and not get in the way of vehicle storage room. Folding attic-style stairs won't work.

Any of the many experts on here ever come across a situation like this? How would you handle it?



nealtw 12-13-2013 12:14 AM

Interesting, should be able to support the existing stairs and make a box stair case that slides under them. Can you post a photo.

JoeD 12-13-2013 06:47 AM

What about a hinge at the top and a cable and pulley to hoist them up out of the way?

bud16415 12-13-2013 09:20 AM

What do they use the stairs for? Everyday usage or a few times a year? Can the door be relocated to a better location or could the stairs be moved? Hinging, sliding, rolling etc. they could all work knowing the specifics of the floor plan and elevation. Heavy things that move many times need assistance with springs and or counterbalances. It can be done but maybe there is a simpler fix not being seen. If the area is to be used for storage you need wide access across the stairs for larger items.

Anything is possible I saw a guy once that made an elevator in his garage out of a used fork truck mast assembly. He would drive lawn tractors, snowmobiles, motorcycles and such on it and store them up stairs. He had bin storage on two sides of the elevator and would ride it up and down to get things out.

1victorianfarmhouse 12-13-2013 11:39 PM

Thanks for all the great replies!

I don't have any photos, we were walking around and I wasn't in my take pictures of everything mode. Basically, the stringers were cut after 5 stairs and are now supported by 4x4s.

The door was placed there because it's the only decently accessible area on the side for a door. Relocating it would be tough due to the way the trees are and the ground slopes away from the barn slab on the other side.

They would be using the stairs a few times a month. Right now it's awkward trying to bring anything fairly heavy up the ladder then transfer to the stairs. The sliding/rolling lockable staircase sounds like the easiest and most workable idea.



nealtw 12-14-2013 12:24 AM

On the stairs that are there, cut a birdsmouth cut in the bottom of the stringers so a double 2x8 can be placed to support the stairs and post each side wider than the stairs. Do this just high enough so it won't interfer with stairs roll under. Build the new stairs as a solid plywood box for strength. Adjust height so that wheels can be placed under the back end to bring them to the right height. Adjustable legs in the front so it can be leveled in the usable position and place the wheels in the back to compansate for unlevel floor. After everthing fits nice in the useable position, cut the stringer of the origanal stairs level about an inch above the height of the new stairs to allow easy movement. A stopper could be designed to stop the lower stairs from pulling out to far.
I am thinking lawn mower wheels.

1victorianfarmhouse 12-15-2013 07:48 PM

Wow, thanks Neal, for the great and very detailed textbook how-to on making a rolling stair section!

nealtw 12-16-2013 10:02 PM

Don't forget the handrailing, the one side could be bolted in place,shouldn't be a problem with the door.

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