Floor Opening for Basement Stairs Done Wrong

syd81February 22, 2013

The opening for my basement stairs was framed incorrectly. For one, there is a cut in the double joist. Even worse, the 2nd floor stairs, which are right above, are not supported by the header. Long story short, I need to fix it.

I cannot sister new joists to the outside that span from the beam to the sill as there are utilities on one side and only about 4 inches to the next joist on the other.

I would appreciate any suggestions on how best to fix this mess.


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Here is a diagram of what I am dealing with...

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 1:17PM
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I think your concern is justified. When was this house built? Any recourse on the builder?
If it was mine, I probably could design and build the required strength into the situation. But it would would be wise to have a structural (Registered) engineer take look at it.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 1:32PM
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Thanks for the reply bus_driver, but the house was built in the early 60's by a builder long gone. It's all on me.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 1:44PM
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Please don't say it was framed "wrong".

It was framed 50 years ago and has held up for that long.

It looks like the load is carried by double joists on both sides.

Do they need to be stronger for some reason?

They've lasted 50 years so what's the problem?

Add a joist or LVL to the outside of the ones that have been crippled but unless you're going to add more load to them. What's the point?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 11:00AM
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Thanks for the reply Zagut!

You are right... I was wrong to say it was framed wrong and I am curious to know if this is how it used to be done too.

The stairs above used to lead to an attic, but I've dormered the roof and added a 2nd floor. So the stairs have been getting a lot more use, and I suspect the problem has been getting worse. So for 50 years it was fine, until I messed with it. :)

Also sounds like the pic might be confusing too.. hope this clears it up. There is no load path on the inside joist because of the cut in it.

I don't know that I need a double joist, all I know is that it is code.

Ignore the speaker wires. This is what I was working on when I realized I needed to address the framing problem asap.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 12:48PM
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The load is carried by widely spaced single joists. Look again. I'll bet there is some sagging that should be corrected.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 4:20PM
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The joists in the basement are 2x12's - 12" on center, so there is little sagging. The tail joists in the pic are only about four feet long and are approx 18" on center. There is sagging, but it is due to the failure of the fasteners, which in turn, I believe, is due to the poor load-path.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 11:37AM
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Yep. One joist carries it all.

Double or triple it up and get some kind of fastener for those poorly fitted headers. (Plates or Bolts)

The other side should be doubled too.

Looks like the fellow needed glasses or a new tape measure.

Hey it's lasted 50 years but if you're changing the load it needs to be addressed.

This post was edited by Zagut on Sun, Feb 24, 13 at 12:39

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 12:27PM
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