Blank Stair

Stairs. Gone. Poof.

We removed the stairs to the attic first, then proceeded with the stairs to the basement. There really wasn’t much to it. We exposed the stair stringers on all sides, then Hans took the sawzall and sliced through each stringer’s top and bottom connection points. He also cut the stringers near midspan to chop the stairs into manageable pieces for removal. Outside, D.D. did the grunt work of separating treads, risers, stringers, and nailers, and tossed anything not salvageable onto the burn pile.

Hans chops up the basement stairs.

Hans chops up the basement stairs.

For the next couple days, access to the attic and the basement is ladders-only. That didn’t seem to slow us down much. Led by Hans, we got a nice jump start framing the new stairwell, which is a shade wider than the old and sits about six inches east. Main support joists on the first floor are mostly new construction: a trio of 2x8s on one side and a 2×6 sistered to a partially-rotted original timber on the other. Mark and D.D. destroyed the kitchen wall and a few others, making a wonderfully open floor plan, at least for a little while. Hans and I ripped ¾-inch plywood to fit around the new stairwell and shimmed it to match the height of the existing subfloor.

Downstairs, head clearance tops out around six feet and gets further interrupted by timber joists and utilities. I spent as little time down there as possible, but Mark went full speed, installing more temporary jack posts and permanent joists to supplement the existing ones. Fitting a particular 4×4 beam into place required him to bend an active gas line about a half-inch. Didn’t seem to faze him.

Upstairs, Mark, Hans, and I sheathed the sorta-structural closet wall in plywood. I installed a slew of joist hangers, including a monster of Bob’s own fabrication to reinforce the ridge beam between two dormer rafters. Paté prepped the attic for insulation, sealing off the shower stall and the floors with plastic sheets, and then gave the whole place a good thorough clean. Nate the insulator arrives tomorrow!

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