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Wall at the top of 2nd floor stairs - half or full height?

February 11, 2019

We are finishing up framing of our new construction home and I am debating what to do with the wall shared by Hall (3) and the staircase. We had planned on a full height wall so as to prevent sound traveling from Great Room below to the three bedrooms upstairs. As I see the space framed out, I am wondering if the 3’6” at the top of the stairs + a full height wall will make moving furniture a challenge!

Does the space at the top of the stairs look tight (physically or visually)? Is the space space too tight (assuming a full height wall) to get furniture into & down the hallway?

Would anyone suggest a half height wall that spans the first 12" or 18" of the 12’ long wall to linen closet and then becomes a full height wall? Would that look odd? Should I run a half wall to the linen closest? Stick to a full height wall?

My kids are all over 10 and safety is not a concern. I worry most about sound & aesthetics.

any advice?

Comments (4)

  • nini804

    Is this your main/only staircase? It looks very tight to me, and I don’t think it will look and feel gracious. Making that turn with a sofa or chest will be difficult.

    I really don’t care for closed staircases...I would prefer a bit of noise bleed to a closed staircase!

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect

    If you want safety, make the landing at the top of the stair at least 4' wide (not 3'-6" as shown). If you want aesthetics, put a window in the exterior wall of the hall. If you want sound privacy, put a door in somewhere between the upstairs and the downstairs.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    I'm sorry, but the plan does not appear to show a full height wall...it appears to show a handrail above the stair stringer on each side, but not even a parallel handrail along the corridor.

    I'd check with my general contractor to see how he interprets the plan, and what he is intending to build.

  • A Fox

    If acoustics are your prime concern, you may want to consider adding sound attenuating insulation to the two room walls flanking the stair and hall, making sure that the walls are well sealed top and bottom, that any outlets are sealed around, and that the doors are well fit. A wall next to the stairs, especially without insulation by itself isn't going to do a ton to stop noise transmission as the stair is still open on the ends. Does this stair have an open rail at either side of the main floor, and on which sides (same side as the playroom or the hallway). That will figure into how sound will travel.

    As with Virgil, I see that there doesn't seem to be any accommodation for a wall in the plan. Was the floor framed so that there is enough thickness to align a wall with the linen closet? And if so, does that make your stairs narrower than they are drawn?

    From an aesthetic standpoint I would rather have a half wall or open rail. Both hall and stair will seem very closed in and dark without some sense of openess. For that same reason I would seriously consider having a window at the top of the stairs to light the hall and stairs during the day. Otherwise you are going to need to be turning on the stair and hall light every time you pass through there for safety.

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