Basement Stairs and "balusters"

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Posted by: from Moosonee
8/15/2012 at 5:44:43 PM

Hi there, I found this "cute" link that shows a stair case using boating cleats and rope as balusters.

We are putting a railing in on our basement stairs - and it's been a real pain in the but as it was an old army base house that was retrofitted with a basement - The stairs have 2 landings and the bottom portion did not have a hand rail when we bought the house.

The idea of putting hand rails in seemed like an easy thing at the time but we've run into challenge after challenge. We are now at a point that the stairs have a hand rail from the bottom landing to the basement - we needed to put in newel posts - made ourselves as supplies are hard to find here and railings.

I'm thinking the easiest way to create the balusters might be using the cleats and rope but want to know if it would be against code...or other issue that we might have putting this type in.

Anyways, any suggestions would be helpful.


basement stairs and "balusters"
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Date/Time8/15/2012 at 7:19:18 PM

Hi Shelley:

You should check with your local building codes at the municipal hall. Rainings are to be a minimum of 36 inches and the spindles no more than 4 inches centre to centre. Depending on what you are using for railings, you could use 2 by 4 inch flat stock and use 2 x 2 spindles on a 1 inch base (by the width of the eddging at the riser edge). This could be made fropm a variety of wood materials and either painted or stained natural with a clear top coat.

Your local supplier can order items from a catalougue if they do not carry them in stock. I have lived in remote communities where choice is not abundant, but items can be brought in.

I hope that this helps.


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Shelley in Moosonee
Date/Time8/15/2012 at 9:35:06 PM

Thanks Chuck - one other "problem" that we encountered that I guess I forgot to mention is that we need to be able to take the whole thing down because the basement is living space and in order to move furniture in and out, you need to be able to access that area - a design flaw for that is why I was thinking the rope balusters would be the easiest.

We put the newel posts in in such a way that they would easily be able to be removed - and the railing only feeds from the bottom of the stairs to the top of the first landing. I will post pictures of what we have done so far so you can get an idea of the stupidity it all...really - it has been more thinking than working through this project - renovated an entire bathroom - complete with wiring, tiling, new fixtures (tub, toilet and sink) with less problems than this! UGH!

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Shelley in Moosonee
Date/Time8/15/2012 at 11:20:51 PM

This is looking down from the top landing.

Basement Stairs and "balusters"
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Shelley in Moosonee
Date/Time8/15/2012 at 11:23:11 PM

This is looking up from the basement - you can see that it would be very difficult (albeit impossible) to move large furniture up the stairs while the posts are there.

Basement Stairs and "balusters"
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Date/Time8/16/2012 at 7:56:29 AM

The rope idea seems to be a good solution. However they would have to be no more than 4" apart if you wanted to be legal, so the example you have would not be.

Unfortunately to building code does realize that people want different stair railing designs, including horizontal pickets, but have left the final decision with the inspectors. So you'd be at his mercey.

Another removable option would be aircraft cable ( horz or vert ) and glass panels.

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McInnis Contracting in Belleville
Date/Time8/21/2012 at 12:49:05 PM

Rope is against code, sorry!

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