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Question DetailsAsked on 6/28/2015

How much would it cost in install a staircase in our house that leads to the basement?

We would like to install a staircase that leads to our (mostly) finished basement so we can move our laundry down there and free up space in our kitchen. The only way we can access it right now is through the outside. We have an idea of where we want it to go, but need someone to tell us whether it can be done! Our house is a 1940, small post-war. Thanks!

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1 Answer


Depends a lot on the framing configuration and floor joist spacing (12, 16, 18, or 24 inch spacing), interfering utility runs, where in the house the upstairs landing can legally be located (door opening cannot block fire egress), and how flexible you are on the orientation and location of the staircase to minimize structural changes.

Can run as little as about $1000-1500 in simple cases where there is ample and legal top and bottom landing space already, so it is basically just a matter of cutting one hole in the floor and cutting one floor joist for the stairwell and reframing to transfer that load around the stairwell hole, and putting in a door. In extreme nasty cases, especially with concrete floors or where putting the stairs in cross-ways to the floor joist framing, or where basement configuration or structural considerations/utility runs mandate a turn or double-back in the stair, can reach several thousand at times. Higher of course if thoroughly finished rather than semi-finished construction, if joist spacing is such that more than one needs to be taken out for the stairwell, and especially in cases where going crossways to the joists or requires taking out more than none and the owner does not want supporting columns by the staircase in the basement.

In the latter cases, especially if suitable basement entrance location is at rear of house and if putting it inside means a lot of framing, plumbing or duct changes, it sometimes turns out cheaper to make the entrance from the outside, and just frame in the exterior stair with insulated exterior walls as a hanging staircase or bump-out on the building, depending on framing and type of siding and whether house is wood frame construction (good) or brick or concrete (typically significantly more troublesome ands expensive).

You are generally going to need a design from a Structural Engineer or Architect to be able to get a building permit anyway because you are cutting structural members, and that design will also make bidding more consistent because all bidders will be working off the same plan, and it gives a plan for the scope of work for the actual contract with the General Contractor (if goingto be a finished stairwell) or Carpenter - Framing (if going to be essentially unfinished stairwell).

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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