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I just moved into a new place and really want to move my awesomely large (and somewhat expensive) sofa into the basement. The problem is that the stairs end in narrow hallway running perpendicular to the stairwell:

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There is not enough room to get the sofa down the stairs and around the corner to the right without modifying the structure:

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I'm wondering if it's (a) possible and (b) not entirely stupid to temporarily remove the bottom stairs and carpet cover to accommodate the size of the sofa:

enter image description here

The crawlspace floor is directly below the stairs, so I can access them from underneath if necessary. I'm also open to other suggestions. The only other entrance into the basement is through a window that is too small for the sofa.

Update:

Here is a picture of the underside of the stairs:

enter image description here

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    Can you take a picture of the underside of the treads/risers/stringers? Or is that covered over? Is there any chance of opening up the wall at the foot of the stairs? (You'd probably need temporary bracing to remove studs, and there's some electrical in there, but...) – Aloysius Defenestrate Jun 4 '15 at 5:12
  • I just added the photo of the underside of the stairs. I can definitely open up the wall at the bottom of the stairs if it's easier or more cost effective. – Neal Kruis Jun 4 '15 at 5:26
  • What's behind the wall at the bottom of the stairs? Maybe it's worth relocating the doorway into that room, so the couch and other items can be more easily maneuvered into the basement? – Tester101 Jun 4 '15 at 11:56
  • @Jack is right -- you'll have to demolish your existing stair treads to do it. So, after adding in new treads/risers and a carpet professional to fix your carpet, I'm gonna guess that it's more expensive to do the stairs versus the wall at the end of the stairs. (That takes a bit of lumber and some new drywall.) – Aloysius Defenestrate Jun 4 '15 at 13:23
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I would echo the responses above, that modifying a wall would be easier/better than modifying the stairs. Based on your drawings, you'd have to chop out about half of the staircase - a major effort. Staircases like that one are built as a unit, then dropped into their place between floors, so breaking them up into pieces and reassembling in place would be a real pain.

Other thoughts:

  1. look into disassembling/reassembling sofa instead of house.
  2. look into completely pulling the staircase (instead of taking it apart), and putting it back as a whole unit. (also a major effort)
  3. look into pulling out one of the walls to the side of the staircase. You could replace with a post+beam instead of a new wall and have a more open feel in the basement afterwards.
  4. Find a new sofa.
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They are what is know to me as "housed stringers" the sides, have notches cut into them to allow the treads to set in the notches. The small vertical pieces in the corners are wedges driven in with glue to snug everything up tight to reduce or eliminate squeaks. To remove the treads, you would need to cut out the treads, and install new ones... Not what you may want to read, but it is what it would take.

For what its worth, if there were no glue involved, the wedges could be removed, the nails pulled and the treads could be pulled out of the slots from the underside, if there are no nails in from the sides covered by the walls.

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Yes, of course, but at what cost? It is probably easier to go through the wall at the bottom of the stairs in the unlikely event it is not load bearing. Either way, seems like a lot of work for a couch.

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