First question on here so apologies if getting it wrong. I have removed old lath and plaster wall from under stairs to install cupboards but there is a lot of wood that appears to be structural support for the stairs. One stringer appears to be nailed to the wall but the top does not appear to have vertical support from the beam. Any thoughts?

Structural support or plaster battens? enter image description here

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Just check under floorboards. No beam underneath so just resting on boards mid way between 13 inch flooring support beams.

Back of the stringer enter image description here

Top of Stringer enter image description here

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Stud under stringer enter image description here

  • Those uprights are more for holding the plaster than the stairs, so I doubt if they give the stairs much support. Probably the other way the stairs hold the top of the wall in place.
    – crip659
    Aug 18, 2022 at 11:26
  • Thanks - my thoughts too but not really ready to knock them out just yet :)
    – LaLa
    Aug 18, 2022 at 12:03
  • the wall might be supporting the top end pf the stringer, you could use a bracket or hanger there instead to support the stringer from the floor joist.
    – Jasen
    Aug 19, 2022 at 2:10

1 Answer 1


In many cases, studs that are sitting directly on the subfloor are not structural. Perhaps the only exception, and this would be only in homes built before 1955, before the building codes were introduced. If there is a joist directly under the stud bottoms, they may be bearing.

The main concern for wall removal would be to be certain to maintain a good connection/support at the base of the stairs. In my opinion, this should be no problem, since to add cupboards all the way to the lowest end of the stairs would seem impractical. Keeping the 1 short stud there will do all needs to be done for anchoring/support, should it need it to begin with. Another thing to look at is the stringer that the studs connect to. If there is the equivalent of a 2X6 left over after the notches are cut to set the treads on, there is enough "meat" there to handle the span that is left over from my suggestions.

The last thing to look at is the connection at the top. if you take out 3 studs, leaving the last one intact at the top of the stairs, it may offer you a 4' wide area for a cupboard. Depending what the studs do beyond the camera, you may be able to get over a 5' set of cupboards.

These suggestions are the simplest way to accommodate what you ask. There are framing anchors that can be used at the top to aid in removing even more studs potentially, but that would require more info on what you have.

  • If you could upload a clearer picture of the back of the stringer (as it's covered with a decorative piece on the front) and more clearly showing how the studs are joined to the stringer it may help to resolve some of the questions in this answer. In the existing fuzzy picture it looks like maybe one of the studs is cut into the stringer but the others are not. May just be odd pixelation.
    – jay613
    Aug 18, 2022 at 14:40
  • Thanks Jack - have got some more photos to show studs sitting beneath the stringer, the back of the stringer with tape measure and the top of the stringer also. Will add photos in the original post
    – LaLa
    Aug 18, 2022 at 14:51
  • Thanks jay613 also :)
    – LaLa
    Aug 18, 2022 at 14:59
  • The additional photos seem to support everything in this answer. It all appears to be framing for the plaster, added after the stairs were built.
    – jay613
    Aug 18, 2022 at 15:40
  • How wide will the cupboards be per your original idea? There can be a type of hanger that could support the top of the carriage. If you plan on removing the stud at the top, I would insist the proper hanger be added first, before removing the stud. The stud does help hold that carriage in place, since it is deeply notched at the top to go around the gray/white beam
    – Jack
    Aug 19, 2022 at 5:01

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