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thapranksta 06-03-2014 08:44 AM

Advice About Deck Step Landing
A little background first. The stringers on my deck steps started to dry rot so I thought I'd take the opportunity to replace them. In my mind, I was thinking that it would be a little simple replacement along with also replacing each tread since I figured they wouldn't have much life left in them. I purchased 3 pre-assembled stringers from Lowes and I cut 4 2x6s into 8 equal lengths for the treads. The original stringers contacted the ground but are somehow "up to code" says the guy who inspected my home almost 3 years ago. So I also picked up a couple of concrete slabs to bury and set the new stringers on top of to prevent this potential issue from happening again.

After going through the trouble of removing the stringers and treads, I decided to try to do this thing the right way instead of a half-*** job so I started researching deck landing pads. I discovered that there are 3 preferred methods of creating them - with concrete, with brick/pavers, and with just a bed of gravel. Gravel is the easiest but aesthetically speaking, it's not the nicest especially when you have little boys. Concrete is generally the most preferred method. I'd never put down concrete before and I've never done brick either but I'd rather lay down brick as I find it more aesthetically pleasing and likely easier for a newbie such as myself.

This is how I plan to potentially build the landing. I'm going to dig a hole 10'' deep, fill about 6'' deep with drainage gravel, tamp that down, add 2'' of sand, tamp that down, and lay the bricks using either treated lumber or other bricks stacked vertically as a frame to hold everything in place. Then add more sand and spray with a fine mist of water.

Now I have two questions primarily beside a basic critique of the method I plan to use. Should I set this so the brick is a half an inch or more above grade or is it perfectly fine to be at grade level? Also, the posts at the bottom of the steps are built in a way that they are independent of the steps themselves. In fact those posts were used to hold the stringers in place at the bottom. It's likely that they are in concrete. Do I need to take any special precautions with digging and installing drainage gravel and brick around these posts?

I can post pics if needed. Thanks.

thapranksta 06-03-2014 09:21 AM

View looking down from deck at where steps used to be.

View of where the original 3 stringers attached at the top.

View of step railing.

nealtw 06-03-2014 09:22 AM

The problem with pre cut stringers is getting ther height just right. With the treads in place, everstep has to be within 1/4" including from the landing and tothe deck.
You will want to compact the gravel base so it dosn't settle later. A mixed gravel like road mulch will compact nicely with an inch of sand to set the bricks

nealtw 06-03-2014 09:30 AM

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You may want to inspect all the posts at ground level. Lumber ment to be in contact with the ground is treated differently, all four sides are incised (small knife cuts)

thapranksta 06-03-2014 11:19 AM

Thanks for the response nealtw. Does it matter if the brick sits at or above grade?

nealtw 06-03-2014 11:53 AM

I would think, a little above grade would be better, you don't want water sitting there. You are putting gravel under but unless you have somewhere for the water to drain to, it could just fill up.

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