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building a 90 degree "turnabout staircase with an existing straight staircase in place

WITHOUT tearing the original staircase down, and using the steps and boards as suports, what is the correcect way to install and turn my staircase's last three steps 90 degrees? aslo what is the spacing between railing posts to code?


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Posted 2012-07-14T23:21:57+0000  by DanielleB DanielleB

Danielle your stairs are held in place by something called stair stringers. Stringers are basically boards with L shaped notches that are installed diagonally in between floors and its sole purpose is to provide support for the stair treads and risers.


Depending on the number of the steps, typically, stringers alone are not sufficient to support stairs, a wall or columns are normally placed underneath to stiffen up the whole assembly.


This said, to have your stairs turn 90 at the last three steps (Winder Stairs) you would have to first support, if it’s not already supported, and then cut your stringer where you intend on turning.


Once the stringers are cut and last three steps removed you would have to frame a 90 degree turn by installing new stringers perpendicularly to the existing ones.


This would entail a new support from the floor up for the added stringers and a "cutout" on the second floor where the new stairs are going to turn.


You would also need to infill a spot/section on the second floor where existing stairs use to be.


Changing direction of the last three steps may not sound like a big job but it is. This is something I would definitely leave to an experienced carpenter mainly because of the cut out that would need to be made for the new stairs.


An LVL support beam or a double joist cane easily be on the way where the new cut out would need to be placed. Cutting beams can result in serious structural issues in your home.


As far as the newel code goes building codes vary from state to state, county to county and sometimes even from city to city. Your best bet is to get a handout of the IRC or UBC “Stair Building Code” from your local building department office.


Hope this helps.











Posted 2012-07-17T15:38:50+0000  by George_HD_CHI
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