Remodeling your Stairway to the Basement with Half Wall


Most of the basement in our house is designed with stairways that uses rough board railings and this is actually provide you with only minimum safety requirement to you and your family members. Whenever you decide to remodel your basement stairways, it is recommended that you replace these rough boards with a much more secured half wall which is also pleasant to look at. It is an easy project for anyone to construct a half wall for the stairways in your basement. Below are some of the ways that can help you remodel your stairway to the basement using half wall in order to make its appearance much better than your existing rough boards.

To remodel stairway to the basement using a half wall, you need:

  • Claw hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Plumb bob

Remodel Stairway to the Basement Using Half Wall

Remodeling Your Stairway to the Basement with Half Wall

  • First thing that you need do is to get rid of all existing rough railings located on the side of your stairway which is where you want to install your half wall.
    • The rough railings are normally installed using framing nails thus enabling you to easily remove them just by using a claw hammer.

    Make sure that you check your stairways carefully to see whether it is still in good condition or not and you are able to repair any of the minor damage. You need to also determine whether the stairways are designed as a permanent structure.

  • The next step for you to do is to take the measurement of the side of your stairways starting from the front riser right to the location where you want your half wall ends.
    • Normally, a half wall will be designed to merge into your existing ceiling of your basement as the wall angles upward.
    • You may also find that the actual wall might continue at the height of the ceiling until the beginning of your stairways.
  • Another thing that you need to measure is the width of each tread and sometimes the width of the treads varies between one another.
    • Firstly, you should search for the shortest tread before you start to measure 1/2 inch for drywall ahead of the edge of the tread.
    • You should mark the precise location on the concrete by dropping a plumb bob over the spot. This will be the distance from your stairway’s side in order to place your stud.
  • Then, you need to lay a 2-by-4-inch board next to the floor.
    • Its starting point should be where your wall begins and stops where you decide the wall ends.
    • You must ensure that the board is always parallel to your stairways.
    • After that, you have to apply painter’s tape surrounding the perimeter of the board on the floor as your guidance.
  • Next, cut the sheet plastic so that you would be able to cover the concrete at the outline of your tape.
    • Always remember that wood should not be rested directly adjacent to concrete.
    • Take the 2-by-4-inch board that you have cut and place it flat inside the outline.
    • After that, you need to shoot masonry nails via the wood and into the concrete.
    • If you do not have a masonry nail gun, you can simply rent it from your local home improvement stores. Make sure that you attach a fastener at every 24 inches gap.
  • Then, you need to cut two 2-by-4-inch boards 42 inches long before positioning it on top of your wood plate right at the bottom of your staircase.
    • Make sure that the end is square.
    • Next, take a framing nail gun and toenail the bottom of the upright board right into your floor plate.
    • Take the second board that you have made earlier and nail it onto the first board.
    • After that, you need to measure the staircase treads right from the top. You need to look for the precise spot where the distance is 32 inches apart from your tread to the bottom part of your ceiling joist. Once you have located the spot, mark it.
    • Then, measure from the top of your lowest tread 32 inches starting from your upright set of the boards and then mark its lowest point.
  • The next move is to hold your board up next to the two marks and ensure that the angle matches your staircase angle.
    • Use the ceiling cut angle to mark the board.
    • Your double board post needs to be marked with the top cut angle.
    • Then, make the cut using a circular saw before you fit the board into its position and mark the outside cut on your board.
    • Next, cut the outside cut and nail your board into position starting from the double post up to the ceiling joist.
  • Once you finished the above step, you have to measure from the center line of your inside upright board with the length of approximately 16 inches before marking your floor plate.
    • Make sure you mark every 16 inches and stand up a stud on your floor plate based on the centered 16-inch mark.
    • Then, mark the angle of the wood on your stud by using the top board as your guidance.
    • The stud needs to be cut using a table saw or circular saw. You must ensure that the stud is centered and also vertically straight.
    • Next, you have to toenail and downward nail the stud onto your floor plate and the top board.
    • The above process needs to be repeated for every stud that you have.
  • In order to make the wall stronger, you can add blocking between the outside of your staircase stringer and the stud wall.
    • Blocking must also be added between the ceiling joists so that you would be able to create a good attachment points.
  • Before you can start to install the drywall, you need to remove the stair treads and risers.
    • In order to do that, you have to unscrew the treads.
    • Then, slide the drywall between your new wall and stringers.
    • Next, you need to screw your drywall to your new wall by using drywall screws.
    • After that, you need to install the outside drywall by cutting your drywall so that it would be able to fit in nicely. Then, screw your wall board onto the studs.
    • Make sure that you butt the edges next to the studs.
  • In order to fit snug onto your drywall, you have to measure, cut and ensure that you treads and risers can fit in nicely.
    • If you have the budget, you can simply upgrade the wood and replace it with hardwood quality whenever you decide to finish your basement.
  • After you have completed the above step, you need to apply your outside corners to the bottom edge of your drywall.
    • Use a tin snips to cut the edging. Take your drywall screws to screw the edging onto your drywall.
    • Next, you can spread joint compound using a wide drywall knife on top of your screw heads that you have screwed on your drywall.
    • Once done, you can apply flexible mesh tape over the seams. As for the excess compound, you have to fill, blend, smooth and scrape them off.
  • After that, you need to measure the 1-by-6-inch board so that it would be able to fit over the top of your wall.
    • You would be able to see the final result where the board should be overhang at all sides evenly.
    • The board needs to be cut according to length before creating a contoured finished edge by using a router.
    • Next step is to apply construction adhesive right on the back of your board before you can glue it onto the top of your wall. In order to create additional security, you can add finish nails.
  • Finally, you should be measuring and miter-cut the ends of your quarter round wood trim in order for you to trim out the underside of the wood cap.
    • Then, you can proceed to install the quarter round by using adhesive and finish nails.

    Always remember that whenever you want to remodel stairway to the basement using half wall,

    • Make sure to use wood fill to fill in any nail holes.
    • As for the joints, you need to apply flexible paintable caulk along the joint.
    • The drywall should be finished with additional coats. Once it is dried, you have to sand them before proceeding to apply texture, primer along with paint finishes of your choice.

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