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Finding Functional Space Under Your Stairs

Finding Functional Space Under Your Stairs

Looking to optimize the use of the space under your stairs? You might forget that you could potentially have more room for storage, etc in your home because the space under your stairs can be so well hidden. If that space is blocked off by walls, here is a moderately easy way to check if it is even usable.  If you find it can be used, it would also be relevant to know how to clear out that space for future use.


If the stairs are not carpeted, carefully lift up a tread with a pry bar and look underneath. If you are unable to do this, then you can cut a small opening in the drywall to inspect under the stairs. Only cut a small piece though. If you cut the hole too big and find that the space is nonfunctional, it will be harder to patch up a larger piece of drywall than a small one.


If you determine that the space looks worthwhile, you can then knock out a larger inspection hole to take an even closer look. Stairs are usually well-supported at the top and bottom of the stringers, which is the structural component that supports the treads and riser. It is important to ensure that your stairs have this kind of strength in stability before going any further. Once you have ascertained this, you will want to check with a structural engineer to find out if the wall is load-bearing or not. You should never remove studs from a load-bearing wall.


If you are placing a door for the space under your stairs, locate the studs in the wall and decide the position where the door will be. Use a reciprocating saw or a drywall saw to cut through the drywall in order to make room for the door. Do not cut the studs, just the drywall. Please note that reciprocating saws are pretty powerful and may have a strong recoil. If you are not sure in your ability to safely use this tool, don't hesitate to ask for assistance or even use a different tool.


Next, you will want to mark a level line from the closet hole to the bottom of the stair stringer. Cut the drywall along this line. Remember; only cut the drywall and not the studs. You will also want to cut away the drywall along the bottom of the stair stringer.


Now it's time to cut the studs. Use a reciprocating saw (or previously used method) to cut the tops of the studs in the closet hole and the office hole (smaller space underneath the staircase). With the tops cut, gently remove the studs away from the footers.


The final step is to completely clean out the mess from underneath the stairs before anything else. Now you have a new space to build a closet, a nook or any other creative idea you may have.


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