I have a cape cod (built around 1950). Basement is 7′ high and is built with 2×8 (actually they measure 2×9 EXACTLY) so go figure.
Anyway, the stairwell is next to the main support beam. Obviously where the stairwell was “cut out”, there are double joists along the 3 remaining sides (the last “long” side is against the central support beam).
The span from the “non support beam” side of the stairwell to the house edge is approximately 8′. The joists that run this span are face nailed to a double “header” (long side) which in turn is also face nailed to another double header (both at the “top” and “bottom” of stairs). And they are “secured” (If you can call it that) with real old steel (?) metal joist hangers. HOWEVER, the joist hangers are like 1/2″ bigger (longer) than the joists themselves, so I doubt they’re doing any good (since the joists don’t actually rest on the metal hanger).
Here’s my concern:
At the top of the stairs where the double header is (that particular span is a little over 11′), the “long” side of the stair connects to that double header with two joists. However there is a slight gap (maybe 1/4″) between this “connection”. I can shine a flashlight up in this gap and to my surprise it appears that only TWO nails are holding in the “long” side of the stairwell. (I may have to upload a picture if you all are having trouble visualizing this).
The home inspector didn’t mention anything about this, so I figured it must not be that big of a deal. But since right above this “area” is the kitchen and that general area has a stove and a refrigerator next to it, and on the second floor is an oversized bathtub, I’m worried that filling the tub up with water (it holds something like 55 gallons?), coupled with the weight in the kitchen could cause those nails to break or slip further, thus dropping the “support” down 1/2″ so that it rests on the metal hanger.
Can I get away with simply filling the gap between joist and hanger with say a 2×4 ripped down and hammer it into the gap? Don’t know about adding extra nails to support the “long” end? I’d have to face nail through 2 2×9 before I reached the perpendicular joist though. (do they make nails that long?) Or, can I simply buy a 4×4 wooden post and fit it snugly underneath the “long” run and the cement floor and bolt it to the cement floor for additional support?