Basement Staircase

saxmaan1July 19, 2008

I am redoing my basement, and also considering redoing the handrail into the basement. The original handrail was just a round piece of wood held to the wall with brackets. But some of the staircase does not have a wall so 2 2X4's were installed vertical to the ceiling to allow anchoring the bracket. I wanted to install balusters, but am not sure how this is done being there is not vertical wall to anchor the handrail too, and then you lose the handrail to anchor the baluster into too. See the picture below. If the handrail hits the ceiling area, I will have several feet of space I am not sure how to fill. Does anyone have a similiar basement they can show a picture?

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I prefer exposed stringers. But the solution is the same: run the railing and balusters on the staircase itself. Get rid of that 2x4.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 9:45AM
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I considered that, but it would make the staircase more narrow, especially at the top where the wall jogs in a bit. And the tread wood is not too good either, not oak.

Can the railing go from a post at the bottom and then cut it at an angle and screw it into the ceiling...I know there are double 2X10's spaning that area. Not sure how the balusters would get installed after the railing.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 6:01PM
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If the top end of the handrail is attached to the basement ceiling, what do you do for a handrail past that point?

Here's one safe approach:

You could also enclose the open side with verticals to the ceiling, then place a handrail on the solid wall.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 6:41PM
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Yes, I would attach it to the wall. I think my big decision is if I attach the handrail to the ceiling, I will need to continue balusters in the area continuing up the stairs to close the opening. I guess I will have several feet of balusters of varying heights. Will this look strange?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 7:11PM
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I had a similar situation, I choose to put the handrail on the full wall side. I then built a wall on the open side, leaving the bottom 3 steps with a wall only as high as the top of the stringer. I did this to get around needing a railing on anything higher than 24" off the floor.

If I remember correctly the newer staircase codes require the handrail to be continous, so you couldn't have it terminate into the cieling.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 12:46PM
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"several feet of balusters of varying heights. Will this look strange?"

Not at all. Look at the first pic I posted of my own basement stairs.

In the second pic, the handrail appears continuous.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 12:40AM
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Any tips on how to rip the oak column (3x3) in order to fit it over the stringer area. Can a hand saw accomplish this accurately enough...or do I need a band saw? I need to knotch out about 1 foot along the length to fit over the stringer.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 2:30PM
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I'm not sure where you're using the column. Cutting it into a half column for the top of the stairs?

If the idea is to lay it on top of the stringer for the whole run why not use a bottom plate attached to the stringer or some other suitable trim?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 3:20PM
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I know this topic was posted awhile ago, but did you happen to ever finish the project. If so, can you include pictures of it. My stairs look exactly the same, minus the 2x4.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 11:33PM
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