help with plans for wooden back steps

Discussion in 'Framing and Foundation' started by LMHmedchem, Jun 21, 2015.

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  1. Jun 21, 2015 #1

    LMHmedchem

    LMHmedchem

    LMHmedchem

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    Hello,

    The brick steps for my back door took a real beating the last two winters, especially this one. The ice has more or less split the steps in several places. The bottom step is falling off entirely and let left side is separating. The top has a split as well. I don't believe that I can repair the steps. I am not sure what the core of the steps is made of. I don't know if its concrete block, etc.

    I had a couple of masons out to give me an estimate and they want $3000-$3200 for new steps plus another $500 to remove the existing ones. This is far more than I want to spend right now, in part because I may try to reconfigure this part of the house and that could affect the location of the door and orientation of the steps.

    My current plan is to remove the brick and replace with wooden stairs that I can build myself. I will post pictures at some point, but the configuration is a 36"x52" landing just outside the door. The landing is and 8" step down from the threshold. The top of the landing is 32" off of the ground and there are three steps down to the ground. The steps are 12" deep.

    It would be very helpful if someone could post some plans for steps of this type. They don't need to match the exact specifications but just be similar. Off the top of my head, I would put down 4 sonotubes and do 4" pressure treated posts for the 4 corners of the landing. I would build the landing like a deck with a ledger attached below the door. I guess I could probably get away with 2 posts and the ledger but I tend to go with more structure. After the deck is up, I would run stringers down to a concrete pad at the foot of the steps. Everything would be pressure treated with some kind of composite decking, treads, and risers. I would also need rails on both sides.

    I think I know how to do this, but there are always a million details that raise questions. For instance, I wouldn't normally have wood and concrete in contact but I'm not sure how to avoid that where the risers hit the concrete pad at the foot of the stairs unless there is some kind of metal riser base that can be used like a post base.

    Any suggestions to get me going would be appreciated.

    Sorry if this should have going into the decks forum, I wasn't sure.

    LMHmedchem
     
  2. Jun 21, 2015 #2

    slownsteady

    slownsteady

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    sounds like overkill for a temporary stair, but I guess if you're not sure how long it will be there, then you should build it solidly.

    footing_w.jpg
     
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  3. Jun 21, 2015 #3

    LMHmedchem

    LMHmedchem

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    I would definately drop the sonotubes 5' or so because of the frost issues in the winter. I like to use footers with sonotubes because I think it adds to the vertical stability but I'm not sure I would go for more than a simple pier in the case. The deck will be secured to the foundation with a ledger and I will cross brace the posts. Plus, it's only 52"x32" with 4 posts, so I don't think it's in danger of going anywhere. Let me know if you think differently.

    I would use cast in place post bases for the uprights.
    http://www.mudsupply.com/product-p/pb44.htm

    Is there a similar product to fasten the bottom of the stringers to the concrete pad at the foot of the staris? I suppose you could use any kind of angle connector but I try to avoid wood sitting on concrete where water may get in there. I'm not sure how you could avoid that without a metal foot on the base of the stringer. I have seen the LSC stringer connectors for anchoring the stringers to the skirt, but it would seem there would be a similar product to protect the base and provide an angle connector to bolt or cast into the concrete.

    LMHmedchem
     
  4. Jun 21, 2015 #4

    beachguy005

    beachguy005

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    The ledger board, as long as it's attached to the house properly, and the 2 outboard post will be enough. Once you figure where the stairs will land on the ground, you can pour a small slab to support them. Using galvanized stand-offs on the post are correct.
     
  5. Jun 21, 2015 #5

    joecaption

    joecaption

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    I try to avoid attaching any deck or stoop to the house.
    Make it free standing and a few inches below the threshold and there's 0 chance of wall or framing damage to the house.
    There's no good reason the stringers can not just rest on the pad with no stand offs.
     
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  6. Jun 21, 2015 #6

    LMHmedchem

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    I would have made this free standing from the structural point of view, but I would have attached a ledger for added stability and go get a good seal between the deck and foundation. This would involve a few bolts into the concrete foundation.

    How would I go about creating a waterproof seal between the stoop and the foundation without a ledger? Is there some caulking or other to use?

    That's interesting since it seems to be a real problem do to the same thing with the posts. I'll take your word for it but what is the difference if that is a reasonable question to ask?

    LMHmedchem
     
  7. Jun 21, 2015 #7

    beachguy005

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    If you were to look at 100 plans for any decks elevated above the height of a patio, you'll see 100 of them attached to the house with a ledger board. It's an issue of stability. A free standing deck can move in 4 directions, and the higher it is, the less stable it is. That means you need a lot more bracing.
    Allowing the bottom of stringers to sit directly on the slab is ok because typically you'll use 3 and they'll be tied together with the treads and riser boards, if you use riser boards. That prevents any movement.
     
  8. Jun 21, 2015 #8

    bud16415

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    Around here we get a very deep frost, guessing 48 inches. If you attach to the house my suggestion is all points of contact should be below the frost line. If we built a landing and steps and had the stringer rest on the pad we could expect that end of the stringer to be pushed up 1 to 2 inches with winter. That will work all your joints that are not moving and that’s when I see nail pulls and cracking.

    Something like this and that it may even be a temporary stop gap measure till something bigger and better is built down the road I would build it free standing and floating. The OP wanted the landing to be a full step below the threshold and that’s fine or it could be a couple inches low to allow for movement.

    I built a 12 x 16 deck last fall free floating and kept it about a inch from the house and 2 inches below the door threshold. I used the pre-cast post supports and buried them about 8” deep leaving 2” out of the ground that (12) 4x4 posts set on the deck is about 36” height. Between the posts I cross braced and decked it with 5/4 PT. I have a 6000 lb hot tub on it and with the freeze its free to come up if it wants. The whole deck is one big free floating structure not attached to the house and all put together with screws.

    If you look at mobile home stairs they are fiberglass and you just sit them on the ground or some gravel and they work and last for years. They will move around and in the spring they might have to be bumped back in place. With sitting in the pockets of the pre-cast bases the earth freezes around the base and the deck and steps wont move.

    Just my take on a temporary landing and steps.
     
  9. Jun 21, 2015 #9

    bud16415

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    All high decks around here are anchored to a ledger board for stability. In the older homes it’s hit or miss how good they get attached and how much the house can support. New construction no problems. A real common problem is decks pulling away because the anchors were not enough or someone gets the idea to put a ton of stuff up there or worse a hot tub. It’s pretty common to see people adding back in a beam and posts close to the house after they see things getting dicey.

    For something small and not that high why mess around with the siding or bricks or stucco and getting it sealed back up.
     
  10. Jun 21, 2015 #10

    LMHmedchem

    LMHmedchem

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    Here are a couple of pictures of the existing steps.

    steps_1.jpg

    steps_2.jpg

    You can see the serious damage caused by the water and ice. These are concrete block underneath. I suppose it is possible that if I remove the brick, the block would be in good enough shape to re-apply the brick, but I'm not holding out much hope for that.

    As I mentioned earlier, The stoop is 52" wide by 36" deep, the top of the stoop is 8" below the threshold and 32" above ground level. The would make for an 8" rise on each step and the steps are ~12" inches deep.

    You can see that the siding does not go below the top of the stoop meaning that if the ledger was anchored to the house, it would be anchored directly on the concrete foundation. The foundation is concrete in this part of the house. The rest of the foundation is granite block and dealing with that is a whole different kettle of fish.

    LMHmedchem
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2015
  11. Jun 21, 2015 #11

    slownsteady

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    if it's freestanding, you don't need a seal. And you won't have any foundation repairs to make when you're ready for a permanent replacement.

    Agreed. The footing was already included in the illustration, and I wasn't going to erase it.
     
  12. Jun 22, 2015 #12

    LMHmedchem

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    I am not sure about the pad at the landing. The frost line here is at least 48", so I would guess that a 4" pad would move around some. I haven't noticed movement with some other pads I around the house, so it's hard to say. I could use sonotubes to make pier footings for the three stringers instead of landing them on a pad if that makes more sense. It's more work but I don't want this coming apart next winter either. If I used sonotubes, I could hardscape the landing area with pavers and it won't matter so much if them move a bit. Most of the pavers I have laid with a compacted sand base don't seem to shift all that much.

    I will do 60" for the piers for the 4 posts but what are opinions on the support for the stringers?

    LMHmedchem
     
  13. Jun 22, 2015 #13

    bud16415

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    I think everyone has offered their opinion on how they would build the steps including the stringers.

    Everything moves with the frost you may not notice it but even your plantings move.
     
  14. Jun 22, 2015 #14

    beachguy005

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    You're way over thinking this which causes you to way over design it. It's a tiny landing that's never going to have more than a few hundred pounds on it.
    The KISS rule applies here.
     
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  15. Jun 22, 2015 #15

    slownsteady

    slownsteady

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    If you really need a project, then make this into a real deck (bigger) and make it permanent. Eliminate the patio blocks.
     
  16. Jun 23, 2015 #16

    nealtw

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    Remove all that crap and pore a slab of concrete anbd build a free standing set of stairs ans landing on it.
     

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