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Knee wall on 2nd floor vs stair pickets

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  • Apr 7th, 2019 11:10 am
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[OP]
Newbie
Mar 27, 2018
12 posts

Knee wall on 2nd floor vs stair pickets

Hi,

I have a new build pre-construction freehold townhouse that I am making decisions on, and one unexpected decision is on the top of the stairs, it currently would have a knee wall (half wall). They are offering / suggesting to change that to carry through as stair pickets. The cost is $1,770 to upgrade to pickets.

I do like the open view of pickets vs knee wall, but with upgrading the main floor hardwood throughout, upgrading to a really nice kitchen, and master ensuite) I'm just running too tight on my budget.

My main question is, would a knee wall be less attractive for resale or would it really not make much of a difference? It's not a big staircase, and doesn't curve up. 2nd floor floorplan attached.

Appreciate any opinions I can get.

Thank you
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20 replies
Deal Guru
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
10859 posts
10104 upvotes
Oakville
It doesn't look like someone you would see very much, and doesn't appear visible from downstairs, so it wouldn't bother me.
Sr. Member
Nov 9, 2011
643 posts
353 upvotes
Toronto
I think having a knee wall there isn't so bad - you can use it as a temporary placeholder for things you want to bring downstairs later like a cup, tie, belt or your watch (I do this all the time). It could be pretty useful.

But honestly, $1770 for the stair pickets is not too bad of a price tag. It would have cost you at least $300 in materials and a full day of work.
Jr. Member
Jul 31, 2017
166 posts
133 upvotes
Toronto
That's a lot of money for such a simple short wall on a new build where everything is accessible. We had a glass railing put in instead of a knee wall to bring in more light and it wasn't much more than $1k I think.
Deal Addict
Jan 28, 2007
2094 posts
1425 upvotes
SW Ontario
Keep the knee wall, there isn't much your going to gain from it based on the floor plan. It would be different if it was more open layout with a bigger staircase.
And here is another reason, if you ever have kids, they will be forever pushing toys thru the pickets like at our house crashing onto the stairs. :facepalm: :facepalm: :facepalm:
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 27, 2018
12 posts
Jojo_Madman wrote:
Apr 2nd, 2019 11:45 am
Keep the knee wall, there isn't much your going to gain from it based on the floor plan. It would be different if it was more open layout with a bigger staircase.
And here is another reason, if you ever have kids, they will be forever pushing toys thru the pickets like at our house crashing onto the stairs. :facepalm: :facepalm: :facepalm:
Good point. I have a 9 month :)
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
1774 posts
934 upvotes
Toronto
Does the knee-wall/railing extend around the corner in the 'computer nook'?

A knee wall would allow you to extend it up to the ceiling, if you ever wanted to close that 'computer nook' in as extra closet space.

As others have said, you can always modify a knee-wall to put glass inserts in etc. if natural light is available in the stairwell.

I'd save the $1700 and go with the knee-wall. Pickets are something that will come in and out of fashion and you might want to change them in the future.

Having less railing/picket to change out will save you money again in the future.
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
1774 posts
934 upvotes
Toronto
...and make sure you skip the 'optional desktop' in the computer nook also. Better off choosing your own furniture for in there vs. a fixed countertop that becomes a PITA later.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
10859 posts
10104 upvotes
Oakville
marland wrote:
Apr 2nd, 2019 12:01 pm
Good point. I have a 9 month :)
Also less chance of them tripping and cracking their head open on a square picket. One of my kids needed stitches when that happened.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Dec 27, 2009
6635 posts
3791 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
Stick with the knee wall. Why do you need pickets in order to see through to the upstairs bathroom? It isn't like it is giving you a beautiful view.
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 27, 2018
12 posts
torontotim wrote:
Apr 2nd, 2019 12:39 pm
Does the knee-wall/railing extend around the corner in the 'computer nook'?

A knee wall would allow you to extend it up to the ceiling, if you ever wanted to close that 'computer nook' in as extra closet space.

As others have said, you can always modify a knee-wall to put glass inserts in etc. if natural light is available in the stairwell.

I'd save the $1700 and go with the knee-wall. Pickets are something that will come in and out of fashion and you might want to change them in the future.

Having less railing/picket to change out will save you money again in the future.
That's a good question, I'll find out if it's a half wall around to the computer nook or a full. I like the idea of making that area and extra closet space. Thank you.
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 27, 2018
12 posts
engineered wrote:
Apr 2nd, 2019 12:57 pm
Also less chance of them tripping and cracking their head open on a square picket. One of my kids needed stitches when that happened.

Wow didn't even think something like that could happen. Then again, I'm new to being a parent lol

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