Monday, January 27, 2014

One less death trap

We are checking off the remaining projects pretty quickly. Despite the large safety factor of this one it got sent to the bottom of the list. Every time we had a guest stay at our house we were always worried somebody would stumble off the ledge in the dark. Luckily it never happened. All we need to do is add a continuous rail on the other wall for code and we will be ready to call for our final inspections. Can't wait to get everything painted too. It's going to look really sharp. 

Getting things ready for attaching. I used a bracket kit plus made a block to slip the newel post over for added stiffness.
Both posts attached and laying out the spindle spacing. I was nervous I'd make a mistake and have to replace some flooring.
Point of no return. 
Of course it fits!
Not too shabby looking. Who's painting?


Monday, January 20, 2014

Stairs done... almost

Today was a vacation day so the next project in line was to finish trimming out the bottom stairwell. We decided to do a wainscoting effect on the bottom half of the railing. Once it's all painted glossy white it should give it a richer look and match some of the other elements in the living room area like the barn doors and the mudroom built ins. I didn't finish running the floor trim to the banister because I may need to brace it more on the one side. The bottom piece that looks like a mistake is not. It's just a place holder to bump out the floor trim to match the wainscoting. That gap will get covered up with floor trim. I also finished off that last stair step. There were a bunch of pieces to fit together to make it all look like it was meant to be there. It's not how I would have done it if we replaced the entire stairwell, but it's a nice upgrade to the original 1954 staircase. Next weekend we'll do the upstairs banisters and hopefully the kitchen cabinet crown molding.

If you look at where the spindles line up with the wainscoting you'll notice that the two ends line up with the last banisters on each end and the middle spindle is exactly in line with the middle trim. I've done more measuring and double checking this weekend than I have in a long time!

Hard to see, but I drew in a rough sketch of the design first. 
Couple of pieces up. 
See? It all fits together!
Bottom stair torn out. The left and right stringers needed to get extended to make it all fit better. 
You can see the stringer extensions and the riser all cut from 5/4 stock. 
Still need some trim on the sides, but mostly done. Much better than it was!
All done! Don't mind that little gap at the bottom, trust me. 

I dug up some old photos for a great before and after series of the stairwell and what used to be two small bedrooms, but is now our flex room plus mudroom.

View of the old two bedrooms. 
During demo. 
After demo and walls opened up. 
Reconfigured to current day. Ignore the chop saw and various tools on the floor!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Safety First

This safety fix goes from start to finish in 4 pictures, but in reality it took me about 5-6 hours. The angle of the stairs made it a real pain in the ass. By code you can't have more than 4" between openings, but I wanted slightly less to have more spindles. Luckily I found an online tool that helped me get most of the measurements and then from there I could do a little trial and error to get the perfect fit. Making sure things were level was a little tricky so some spindles required 4 or 5 cuts to get it perfect. Somehow I managed to get all the little fillets between the spindles cut on the first shot every time without cutting my fingers off. 

The upstairs banister should be a lot easier since it's all the same level. We still need a handrail on the other side to make the stairs code compliant, but that's an easy fix. 

Stair cap I made out of 5/4 stock. 

Shoe rail installed and I realized that the spindles weren't going to be so easy. 

BOOM! Spindles and handrail look perfect.

Fillets snug between the spindles top and bottom.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Two steps forward

Blog appearance notwithstanding, we're still here and making (slow) progress on a number of small things.  After getting out of the DIY habit over the holidays, we're easing back into the weekend and evening work schedule.  Once we pulled the stairs out, we obviously had to put the new ones in, which we did two at a time with liberal application of construction glue - there should be no squeaks on these stairs!  We cut each bamboo step and left it weighed down for 24 hours before moving onto the next pair so it took about a week to get them all done.  Then we started working on the banister post and railings...but when we started that, Brian realized that the drywall on the stairs was, despite being new, just a tad bit too crooked to look good so he straightened it out with new corner bead and compound.  Now we're ready to use the long weekend to get back to work!

Starting the stair installation - two new steps in place, waiting for the glue to dry

Stairs installed!  Still need trim, caulk, paint, etc but much improved
Starting banister installation - after cleaning up the house for the holidays,
we're back to living in a construction zone again