I am finishing my basement, including enclosing the stairs: new treads, adding risers, drywalling in the sides. My question concerns structural requirements for the stairs.

Photos below for reference. (Apolgies for the junk on and under the stairs.)

Currently, the stringers are nailed to the joists at the top. The bottom of the stringers just sits on the concrete basement floor.

Other than at the top, the stringers are only attached indirectly:

a. On each side, about mid-way down the stairs is a 2x4 nailed into the joist at the top and into the concrete at the bottom. There is another 2x4 running horizontally between the two vertical 2x4s; it is nailed into the two vertical 2x4s and the underside of the stringers.

b. On each side, at the bottom of the stairs, is a 2x4 about 4' tall that serves effectively as a newel post for the handrail. The stringers are nailed into these 2x4s and the 2x4s are nailed into the concrete.

The stairway seems perfectly sturdy. My plan is to, basically, replace the 2x4s on each side of the stairway with a wall: Top plate, bottom plate and 2x4 studs. Then, I'll nail the studs to the stringers in the same way they are currently attached.

My only concern is that once I start messing with the stairway, the inspectors will require some major changes to bring it up to code (assuming it's not up to code right now for an inhabited room). (Note: I've looked through the applicable code--IRBC 2012--and cannot find anything on point.)

So, all that background for my question: Is it required that stringers be anchored to the floor at the bottom? Assuming so, will it be adequate to nail the stringers to the 2x4 studs of my new walls or will I need to anchor them some other way?

I'll appreciate any other thoughts you might have.



Stairs 1 Stairs 2

  • Yay, pictures! !!! – user48010 Dec 2 '16 at 1:38
  • So, the question could be: "Retaining only the stringers of these stairs, what is required to enclose this stairwell?" – James Olson Dec 3 '16 at 21:28
  • If you are having inspectors on site then they will probably force a code compliant stair of 7.75" rise and 10" tread per step minimim with 36" clear width between wall finshes. – Damon Dec 11 '16 at 11:04
  • How are you anchoring the walls to the floor? If the wall is anchored, then tying to the wall may be equivalent to anchoring the stringers. – peinal Oct 28 '19 at 0:09

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