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I found hidden space under my stairs.. can I open it up?

Discussion in 'General DIY' started by TheDeuce, 27 Sep 2018.

  1. TheDeuce

    TheDeuce

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    We have a two half flight staircase with a semi landing in between. All the walls in the house are solid except those around the side of the staircase, so I opened it up enough to peek inside...

    It's an entirely empty space. I can see the structural timbers supporting the stairs, and some studs for a wall which forms part of the WC next door, but apart from that it's just unused space.

    Can I simply cut out the plasterboard fully, replace with a fire rated door and have a small walk in storage area? I would walk in under the highest half flight of stairs, with easy access to deep shelves under the semi landing.

    It seems obvious that so long as I don't reduce fire rating, there is no issue - but I'm hesitant as I can't understand why no storage was put here when the house was designed.
     
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  3. mattylad

    mattylad

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    Space is often not always optimized.

    ISTR that there is another thread on here where someone made some very clever pull out drawers using the under stairs space.

    Yes - I'd be making this space into a storage area.

    In my last house I was demoted to having my PC under the stairs :(
     
  4. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    Your own PC ?, did the Chief Constable agree to this arrangement ?

    ( sorry, it's been a stressful night )
     
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  5. SFK

    SFK

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    Deuce,
    The fact that you can see the back of next doors toilet wall suggests that they too have found this space and used it. However, the fact that you can see their wall studs suggests that there is now not enough fire (or noise) separation.

    Talk to neighbors, and then fill gap between studs with rockwool and plasterboard onto studs (with neighbors permission) with two sheets of normal plasterboard (joints of second sheet sheet in different location of joints of first sheet). That will give you fire-rating and reduce noise of person in bathroom
    Noting wrong with using a firedoor, but you do not then need a under-the-stairs "fire rated door" which is unlikely to work as a firedoor once you have cut it down to size and put in a normal door liner.

    SFK
     
  6. TheDeuce

    TheDeuce

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    No haha! Not the neighbours toilet!! The neighbouring toilet, as in neighbouring onto the space in question - we live in a detached house ;)

    My only concern really is that by breaking through one stud wall to investigate the space available, that I have now removed the fire rating of the wall. This should surely be restored by whatever I do? Unless it simply doesn't need to be fire rated as it's not a barrier between habitable spaces? I know that whatever I do, I will have to close up the now exposed inner faces of the stud walls that surround the space I have opened up. That's easy enough though.
     
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  8. SFK

    SFK

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    Deuce,
    :> Ohoops, my suggestion was from seeing too many lofts where there was no firewall between houses and I could see back of studs and plasterboard of next doors loft room.
    As you say, my understanding (noting that this is beyond my experience level) is that from what you have done you only need to cover exposed inner faces with plasterboard. I would still fill studs with rockwool to stop noise of toilet.
    SFK
     
  9. ClockPie

    ClockPie

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    I posted a thread on under-stairs pull out - see https://www.doyourdream.co.uk/2018/04/under-stairs-storage-cupboard-project/

    I thought this thread was going to be funny with the neighbours loo!

    Have to say, I didn't consider fire rating.....
     
  10. cwhaley

    cwhaley

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    All of the houses on our street have them as when built (1947) the builders (Lorton Estates) decided to optimise every bit of space in the house.

    Under the stairs we house the boiler, outdoor shoes and all of our cleaning equipment. The "fire rated board" in our under-the-stairs cupboard is a big piece of sheet metal. When I took it off once (to fix a creaking step) I found that the other side contained advertising on it, and the whole piece of metal was in fact a cut-down advertising sign for Carters who were a soft drinks company based locally. Currently trying to get it dated as the company no longer exists.

    Whenever we get door stop sales people, they often comment on the doors on the side of our houses (which lead to the under-the-stairs cupboards) and I tell them they were originally used for locking mis-behaving children in. One rather young campaigner for Scope looked visibly shocked.
     
  11. opps

    opps

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    I have never experienced anyone trying to sell me door stops...

    ;)
     
  12. cwhaley

    cwhaley

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    You’ve never met the ex-Army servicemen selling tea towels, aprons and door stops then! Although if I’m honest I do think I meant to put “door step” haha.
     
  13. DIYnot Local

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