Can Stairs Really Be Moved? What You Must Know

Have you ever moved into a home with everything exactly where you wanted it? Everything, that is except the staircase leading to the second floor? It makes you wonder if those stairs can be moved to your desires.

A staircase within your home can be moved with care and planning. Stairs can be moved as a whole unit to a new location or removed and replaced. By moving your staircase, it can open up your home to new spaces. It can be difficult and hiring a professional can help to make the change easier.

Whether it comes down to finding out the permits you need, hiring a professional, or if you just want to do it yourself, keep reading to find out the best way to figure these things out.

Is A Permit Necessary?

Whenever changes are being made to a structure it is always important and wise to check to see if any permits are needed for the remodel. The requirements can change based on where you live and what you are trying to do.

The easiest way to find out if you need a permit is to ask local jurisdiction or talk to a house inspector. After you describe what you are trying to do, in regards to moving your stairs, they can determine if a permit is required.

For the most part, any major structural change to your home will require a permit. So if your staircase is being used as both a support to the house and a way to get to a new floor a permit is likely in order.

How To Get A Permit?

Permits can be easy to get as long as you know what you are doing. For a permit to be issued to someone, they have to know that you want one in the first place. This means completing a permit application. They will then schedule an appointment where a site plan will be presented.

This site plan will be what you are trying to do. If approved, you will then get the permit and you can have an inspector come out and make sure all is as stated. The project can then be completed and you can have a final inspection to make sure all is in order.

Why Should I bother With A Permit?

If you are thinking about not worrying about a permit, then that is your choice but I would strongly discourage an action such as this. Permits and the requirements set are put in place for the protection of the builder and the home dweller.

A permit can be used later to verify that all steps taken were in order and that they were done properly. This means that it can be a protection from later inquiries about the job done, including some drastic enough to be a lawsuit. Sometimes accidents occur and permits help stabilize your end of the project.

So, skipping out on getting a permit can both be dangerous for you and for others who may be using those stairs later on.

Should I Get A Professional?

A project such as this can be daunting to undertake, especially if your stairs are in an inconvenient place, such that will require walls to be removed, and added in different places. Perhaps just the idea of moving a whole staircase is enough to make you squirm.

If this is the case, it might be wise to hire a professional contractor or carpenter. They will have experience in such projects, and will probably do a better job. The finished projects will most likely be more to your liking and perhaps even safer.

Also, by hiring a professional that knows what they are doing, they will know what permits are required for such a job and can go about getting those permits more quickly.

Hiring a professional may give you a problem with work ethic. Because they know you probably don’t know what you are doing they might try to cheat you out in some way. They might also skip steps, or find ways to make the job look done when it might not be.

But not all hires are like this. It is just good to be aware that some professional contractors may try to find an easy way to finish the job. There are many great workers out there and you might find someone that is amazing at what you want them to do.

A Guide To Moving A Staircase

But if you are feeling particularly hands-on and crafty, hiring someone may not be necessary. Maybe you have done a little bit of work like this before and want to try your hand at it. This can be done, but it is a good idea to read up on ways to move stairs and maybe to watch some videos to orient yourself.

This next guide will be ways that will help you orient yourself and focus down the steps to make this projects seem less daunting. Take it one step at a time and in no time your stairs will be in a new spot.

Many of these suggestions will come based on the idea that you will not have to remove any walls or place any new walls. Though it will be mentioned briefly. There are different circumstances for each house and project, so remember to take that into account as you read.

Finding A New Location

The whole purpose here is to move the stairs to a new location, and just by wanting to do this project, you might already have this location picked. Depending on where you are moving, the stairs can determine the difficulty by which this project will be done.

If you haven’t found a new spot it might be good to look for plenty of space on the two floors that you are connecting. You don’t want to start the project only to realize that placing the stairs somewhere will greatly limit the space of a room.

Stairs shouldn’t take up the middle of a room. In fact, it might make your job easier to add it to a wall that is already in place. This will help create stability for the stairs later on.

Cut A New Hole

Once a location has been secured, you will need to cut a new spot for the stairs to rest as well as a wide enough opening for you to walk up. This should be about the same dimensions of the opening where the other stairs sit.

But it is an option to widen that opening or bring it tighter, perhaps you didn’t like the dimensions and you want to change them. This is very possible now that you are moving the stairs.

Check Your Wall Situation

As I mentioned above, the wall situation can change the difficulty of the project as a whole. It can change where you may want to move the stairs to. Sometimes a wall may need to be removed just to move the stairs to the new location.

Though this may not always be the case as normally stairs aren’t moved very far. But sometimes when the stairs are placed in the new location a new wall might need to be added. Also, you might need to drywall the new spot with new drywall depending on how you put in the stairs.

Remove Stairs From Its Current Location

So you have the new location with a new opening cut for the stairs to be moved to. Now you need to remove the stairs from their current location. This may seem daunting depending on any walls or tight spaces, but most likely, the stairs can be moved as a whole unit.

To do this you will need to expose the stairs completely from any walls to discover where to cut through nails and screws to separate them from any supporting walls or columns. This will leave the stairs as a free-standing structure, unsafe to walk up, but now able to be moved.

Should I Replace My Stairs?

Depending on how old your stairs are, it might be wise to start fresh, or take parts of the staircase and use them, but replace others. It might also be easier to build a new staircase in the spot that you have chosen, though this article won’t go into depth on how to do that.

Replacing the stairs would most likely come from rotted or old wood that will not take new nails or screws very easily. It might also be that you want a new look to your stairs and the only way to do that is to start from scratch.

Move Stairs To Its New Location

If you aren’t wanting to start from nothing, you can move the stairs to the new spot. Seeing as stairs are bulky, it might be more difficult than expected. It might be a good idea to have some extra hands in moving the stairs.

It’s not likely that the stairs will be moved far, but it can be awkward to move such a long piece of wood to a new location around support beams and other household accessories.

Add In Supports

Depending on where you place the new stairs, additional supports will need to be added to keep the stairs standing upright. These supports may come in as vertical posts, or some cases a new wall. This can create a nice stable structure. By giving it more supports, it will allow the stairs to stay where it is.

Secure Stairs In Place

The stairs then need to be secured into place. This includes adding screws and nails to the top cross beam that the stairs sit on. Also, if the stairs are against a wall that was already in place, studs need to be found and screws need to connect the stairs to the wall. This can be done through the existing wall, or you can take down the drywall and then drywall back over it.

The purpose of securing the stairs is to make sure that it doesn’t move as others use the stairs once the project is complete. Something that will most likely need to be added is drywall into any opening of the stairs facing outward. This means closing off the section underneath. By doing this and then adding a rail, it can look as though the stairs were in that spot from the start.

Adding In A Floor

Now that you have the stairs in the new spot, you will need to put in a new floor to cover up the old spot. This might be the easiest part of the project thus far.

It will require that new joists are placed, with plywood over the top and then finishing off the floor with matching carpet, tiling, or hardwood.


To start, put in joists between the beams in the opening. This will create support for the floor into the beams and then into the walls of the house. The joists should be about 12 inches apart from each other running the distance of the opening.

Make sure to put the joists at a level so that when plywood is placed on top of it the plywood will be level with the rest of the floor. Usually, this means putting the joists level with the top of the beams.


Once the joists are in place and securely attached, you can then add plywood on top of the new joists. This will create a stable place that can be walked on top of.

Make sure to measure out the correct places to cut the plywood so that it fits nicely, then using a nail gun, secure it in place.

Additional Floor Material

Finally, you can add the floor material that matches the other flooring on that level of your home. It shouldn’t be too difficult to do this, though it might cause problems with the carpet if it isn’t one big piece.

It might look strange with a new piece being added. It might be an option to just replace the whole flooring in general. This will give it a more uniform look that will keep you, your family members, and your guests satisfied.

Ricky Kesler

With all of the projects I've done over the years, you'd think that I work on my house full-time. But I actually enjoy other things like spending time outdoors and time with my family.

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