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void over stairway


John Dirks Jr
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It's fairly common. The Fiberglas batt insulation hanging at the top of the picture was originally stapled to the truss chords on either side of the opening. That supported the loose Fiberglas insulation seen in the bottom of the picture. Either the staples pulled out or the paper tore, and everything dropped.

Another implication in cold climates would be condensation forming on the interior walls. If the walls weren't freshly painted, I'd bet you'd find slightly darkened walls with the outline of the studs visible.

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I'm not sure whether drywall is ever used. It's something don't check. I would imagine if it's done, it's pretty rare.

Maybe some more of the ex home builders here will chime in.

Last fall I ran into something really strange. It was in a townhome that was only a few years old. A shaft approximately 3 1/2 X 4 feet ran from the attic down to the basement. I have no idea what it was for. I'm sure THAT'S not very common.

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I'm not sure whether drywall is ever used. It's something don't check. I would imagine if it's done, it's pretty rare.

Maybe some more of the ex home builders here will chime in.

Last fall I ran into something really strange. It was in a townhome that was only a few years old. A shaft approximately 3 1/2 X 4 feet ran from the attic down to the basement. I have no idea what it was for. I'm sure THAT'S not very common.

That's a fire chase. It's there so that, when a fire starts in the basement, the whole building will burn more quickly and efficiently.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I removed a chase for my FORMER B vent(gas boiler). New boiler! Vent installation now thru the side wall. Also eliminated a metal square fake chimney box from my roof. Good riddance to a 60 years old leaky roof penetration.Water "storemore" zoned off of my new boiler.

Eliminated any evidence of the chase from boiler thru roof. Picked up some usable floor space. [8D]

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It is a void over the stairway. Is this common? It's the first time I've found it?

It's fairly common.

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A shaft approximately 3 1/2 X 4 feet ran from the attic down to the basement. I have no idea what it was for. I'm sure THAT'S not very common.

If it's not very common, we ended up in the same house!

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Mine was in a fairly new townhouse. I have no idea what was in the neighboring units, but it's too small to be an elevator shaft.

It's about the right size for a very large dumbwaiter, but this was a modest townhouse - not something that you'd put a dumbwaiter in. Besides, I don't recall ever seeing a dumbwaiter in a house built after the 20's. It was vaguely reminiscent of a light shaft that you might find in a big, old apartment building.

Until I saw that one, I'd never seen a chase even close to being that big. I can't imagine how the CO got issued for that building.

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I've seen this situation also several times. Have any of you recommended adding insulation in these areas?

Of course. Here's my boilerplate:

The insulation that was attached to the ceiling joists above the stairs has fallen. This will waste energy because it leaves the walls in this area exposed. Insulation should be replaced here.

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