Building "off-grid"

- Main Stairway -
(click pictures for larger view)

May 2007 'vacation': My first structural move was to finally build the main indoor stairway from the garage up to the main floor.  I cut stairway stringers months ago, but decided the original design was at too shallow an angle.  Basically, I wanted a steeper stairway to avoid crossing the center of the structure so I wouldn't take up so much valuable main floor space.  After far too much indecision, I went ahead with my new pitch plan and marked the floor for cutting (Pic 1).  Avoiding the (3) center and (3) rear floor joists was my goal, and it worked out just right with the new pitch.  Pic 2 is the garage corner "before".  Pic 3 is the cutout from upstairs, and Pic 4 is what I did to brace the joists before actually cutting through (2x4's, 4x4's and jack posts).

Cost:  (3) 2x12 stringers, (6) jack posts, fasteners, and a new sawzalloid! - about $200.

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A couple of the next few pictures are kind of premature, but necessarily so to show you the completed stairway.  Before starting this stairway, I decided to go with a "sunken living room" design that had been on my mind for some time. That had to be built somewhat in conjunction with the stairway to make sure the stringers were the right height, etc., and will be detailed on the next section.  Anyway - I went ahead and bought (3) new 2x12's for stringers, using an 8" rise and 9" run, which is about the minimum you should use.

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Note:  Cutting stairway stringers is a lot harder than it looks, in my opinion.  All 3 have to be exactly the same to avoid shimming, which is a drag  Mine turned out better than I thought, with only minimum shimming necessary  .What you see here are temporary treads - the new ones that replace these 2x6 boards will look much nicer and have kickers behind them to 'seal' the stairway from the garage dust, cold, etc.


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