DianeP

Curious. Can you notch the bottom of a stair stringer?

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Does anyone know if in real life you can cut a little bit out of the bottom of a stair stringer.  I have a client that wants to recess his refrigerator under the stairs a little bit so that it more closely meets the depth of the cabinets,  I have done this with CA using a doorway without casings that is just a little taller and wider than his refrigerator.  It fits and barely clears the stinger.  I was curious if the stringer becomes a problem in maneuvering the refrigerator into place, can they be notched on the bottom.  It wouldn't be a lot, maybe a 3" x 3" notch.  If it can be, what would the maximum amount allowed be?  Thanks!!

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Draw a section of your situation. Notching the bottom of stair stringer without a wall below to carry it sounds like a bad idea in text. Can you support it at the notch?

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Does anyone know if in real life you can cut a little bit out of the bottom of a stair stringer. I have a client that wants to recess his refrigerator under the stairs a little bit so that it more closely meets the depth of the cabinets, I have done this with CA using a doorway without casings that is just a little taller and wider than his refrigerator. It fits and barely clears the stinger. I was curious if the stringer becomes a problem in maneuvering the refrigerator into place, can they be notched on the bottom. It wouldn't be a lot, maybe a 3" x 3" notch. If it can be, what would the maximum amount allowed be? Thanks!!

Totally depends on the situation, length of stair run, whether or not there is additional support or reinforcement, etc. but the short answer is NO. 3" x 3" would remove the vast majority of the remaining structural portion of your average 2x12 stringer...might only leave 1" or so of material to support the stairs in many situations.

Just bear in mind that your not really talking about notching a 2x12 (or whatever the stringers are cut from). Those 2x12s have already been substantially compromised by the triangular notches cut on the top...usually reducing the effective remaining member to around maybe 5" (if memory serves me correctly). So you're really talking about putting a 3" notch in a 5" piece of material.

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Also, I have moved to using LVL's for stingers. 2x12 dimensional lumber is just too unreliable for my comfort. I generally use 1 3/4" x 11 7/8" LVL material

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More than one way to skin a cat (odd expression).  There are several ways to mitigate placing a notch in a stringer - Simpson strong tie etc to reinforce the notched section.  It will require a letter from an engineer most likely for you to do something like that.  You might even get away with sistering dimensional lumber to fix- but depends what your conditions are.

 

 

...but as Michael and Alan said its just notching the stringer is a bad idea.

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min. 6" of meat leftover after the notch is ok

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min. 6" of meat leftover after the notch is ok

 

That is my rule of thumb.  I have started using 2x14 in lieu of the lvl's,  my clientele are not as wealthy as Alan's clientele.

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yep, 2 x 14's for me too. Plan check has caught me many times for not putting that 6" in the section

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If the stringer is nailed to the wall at each stud, probably isn't acting like a beam. I think more specifics are needed, but I would run it by an engineer. 

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2x14 are pretty much a standard size here. I also use them for floor joists @ 24" o.c. when I attach to existing trusses and cut them off above for a new floor, b/c trusses are usually at 24" o.c. That way the ceiling gets to remain.

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Buy a smaller refrig for under the stairs... Don't notch the stringer unless it is attached to wall.

Might be worth a call to the local building dept...

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