Is this tall space useable?
Jenny Johnson
November 18, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Now that we are renovating the basement the stairwell is getting and will be utilized a lot more. The space is narrow and very tall. I thought about storage, but I will never be able to access it.
Then on the bottom you see its just bare concrete...if we frame it and insulate it and at gyproc the area will be TOO narrow. Are their any other thin types of insulation that we can utilize because the area does get cold..

What do you think I should do with this?
Thank you all in advance!
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Kaplan Architects, AIA
Hi Jenny, you are correct about not wanting to narrow up that stair area with additional build out. The code requires a minimum of 3 feet clear width in our state (California). It looks like you may have close to that if not less. Also, putting storage over the stair with a build out there might reduce the head height above the stairs to be less than the required amount by code. For these code issues you would have to ask your architect , local contractor, or building department official to get these clearances. The cold issue might get improved if you are adding heating in the basement. The concrete walls being cold all the time will store the cold and radiate it out. If you are heating the space below, some of that heat will be stored in the concrete and it will be less cold.
November 18, 2012 at 8:27am   
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Jenny Johnson
Thank you for your response. We have exactly 3 feet between the walls. The basement is heated and we insulated down there last year. All winter long that space was very cold. It does HAVE to be insulated, but just not sure how to. The space above my head is a good 8 feet...
November 18, 2012 at 8:46am   
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Kaplan Architects, AIA
Hi Jenny, You have to keep a constant minimum vertical dimension of 6'-8" above the nosing of the stair treads. An under floor heating system may be a good option. These systems can run from a central boiler and have water pipes under the floor circulating warm water. If you have enough head height in the basement, adding some inches in floor thickness may be in option. These tend to be energy efficient systems but can have more upfront costs to install. I would talk to a few local heating contractors to see what options you have.
November 18, 2012 at 9:13am   
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