One of the last steps in the finishing of the basement was to replace the stairwell post. When I purchased the house over 3 years ago I had a whole house inspection. Everything checked out pretty well, but I noticed that one of the basement stairwell posts, and essentially the post that holds up the beam that holds up all the stairwells in the house, was rotten and being supported by a 2×4. Yeah…a 2×4…
Anyway, I was told this was okay. I was told it was legit and checked out and everything was safe, and so I bought the house and lived in bliss for 2 years. Then I started thinking about it as I worked on the basement. Maybe this wasn’t safe…maybe my house was going to fall! So as I worked my way through the basement I was thinking about what I was going to do with that post. I finally decided it had to be replaced, and I had to do it because everyone knows I don’t have the funds to pay anyone!
First I had to remove the post and see what I was working with. But I needed to support the beam AND the stairs in the process. So I measured and cut two posts at the right height less the thickness of a 2×6. I wedged the taller post between the beam it was to support and the 2×6 on the floor. Then I wacked it with a sledge hammer until it was straight in place supporting the beam. I did the same with the post holding up the staircase. I also must note I made the taller post about 1/2″ longer than need be so I would have the room to insert the “real” post when necessary. The 2×6 boards were used to spread the load on the floor. Once the supports were in place, I used my Ryobi saw to cut the old post out.
As you can see, the old post was ROTTEN. It had been set into the cement of the floor, but we have moisture under our floor and it got wet and rotted all the way up. However, it made good firewood for a spring fire in the pit! I knew I had to remedy this poor design, so I took the sledge and knocked a bigger hole in the floor so I could lay a base slab. Once I had my hole, which I forgot to document, I leveled the dirt, laid rock, tamped, and then laid a base slab of Quikrete. This was all about 4″ below the basement floor level. I let that dry for a week just to be sure it was properly set, and then inserted my post. I toe-nailed my post into the beam and secured the stairs. I then used Quikrete to repair the floor around the post and let it all set up.
Once everything was dry and secure, I painted the staircase and floor. I used the same color paint I used on my folding table, and the same floor paint as before. The stairwell is secure, and the post should last a long time if I did it correctly! The next blog post will be a finished basement pic as soon as I clean up a little!