Zero step entry

Help Support House Repair Talk:

68bucks

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2015
Messages
216
Reaction score
73
Not sure if this is the best place for this post or not but I'm working on an addition plan and I want a zero step entry through a slider or French door. I was wondering if anyone here had experience with zero step entries and any tips or comments about them. My thought was to have concrete or pavers outside the door and grade down to an existing concrete surface. It's 2 steps up to the house floor now, the addition would probably be the same level. I can't in my mind figure how to build the structure to allow dirt to be sloped up against it. Thoughts?
 

Snoonyb

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
4,381
Reaction score
906
Handicap slope standards are 1" in 12"'s, so if the two existing risers are each 6", you have a 12" drop, so the slope, to be comfortable, would extend 12' into the new addition.
 

68bucks

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2015
Messages
216
Reaction score
73
I'm talking about a slope away from the door on the outside. At a 1:12 slope I have plenty of room to get from outside the door to the surface I want to meet, namely a concrete patio surface. I don't want a deck sort of thing, I want a hard surface from outside the threshold. The addition is a few rooms and I thought about trying to make that room on a slab so it was at grade but that would make the foundation more complex and I'd like to make the place accessible so an interior ramp would take up a lot of room. Usually you have the top of your foundation then a treated plate then the rim joist on top of that then the deck. I don't think you can just push dirt up against the rim joist. Could you raise a section of the foundation below the door and lay a treated plate on that, then the deck and just end the rim joist on either side of the door? Sort of hard to explain. The grade would be 4"or so below floor level to allow for a slab or paver stones. Ever hear of such a thing?
 

Snoonyb

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
4,381
Reaction score
906
You could flash the rim joist, and were it I, I would form and pour a 30" wide platform equal to the interior floor height, so that stepping through the door is a similar transition, then slope away.
 

68bucks

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2015
Messages
216
Reaction score
73
That's sort of my thought. I figure there will be a small paved area, like a little patio, outside the door with a walk way leading from that. I hadn't thought about using flashing. I'm also thinking about maybe a small roof over the entry too to keep some of the weather off it. Depends if I can make it look decent in the scheme of the design. Thanks for the idea.
 

Sparky617

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
1,552
Reaction score
553
Location
Cary NC
You'll want that slider to have a roof over it to direct rain water away from splashing on the door.
 

68bucks

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2015
Messages
216
Reaction score
73
Are you saying a slider isn't weather/ water tight? I have never has a slider on a house. I put in a French door on an addition on my first house, no roof or anything like that protecting it. It was a South facing door so it got a lot of weather, never a problem.
 

Sparky617

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
1,552
Reaction score
553
Location
Cary NC
Are you saying a slider isn't weather/ water tight? I have never has a slider on a house. I put in a French door on an addition on my first house, no roof or anything like that protecting it. It was a South facing door so it got a lot of weather, never a problem.
Did your slider have a step down to the deck/stoop? Water tends to splash on the door which will increase the chance of leaks and if wood the chance of rot. I believe it is code to have a step down for this reason, it is certainly good design.
 

68bucks

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2015
Messages
216
Reaction score
73
Did your slider have a step down to the deck/stoop? Water tends to splash on the door which will increase the chance of leaks and if wood the chance of rot. I believe it is code to have a step down for this reason, it is certainly good design.
I never have had a slider. The French door at our old place was flush with an elevated deck. As far as code requiring a step I find that hard to believe. If that is correct how could you ever build an accessible home? We are both in good shape but in the addition plan I would like to make the house accessible in the unfortunate event one of us became wheel chair bound. This new entrance would be the only entrance to the house that would accommodate a wheel chair. We plan to stay in this house until we are dead or not able anymore. Even if we did decide to move an accessible house would be a selling point. In the meantime this door will be used to move large plants in and out, seasonally usually. Now we have to drag them up the 2 steps and its a real pain. A wheel chair accessible entry would make that job a whole lot easier. There has got to me a construction method that makes a zero step entry without having to put in a ugly wood deck and ramp, I just haven't been able to find that info yet so I thought maybe someone on here had some experience with it. Thanks for your replies Sparky
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
6,241
Reaction score
2,330
Location
Erie, PA
I think your plan is very smart. The house we bought was owned by an older woman that had lost a leg I was told. It had a really nice wood ramp built to a small deck with stairs also off the other side and the ramp connects to the driveway at the detached garage. It also forms a bit of a courtyard as we have a corner lot. The design is such it doesn’t really remind me of a wheelchair ramp and is more like a boardwalk to the garage. So we left it as is and stained it a dark red wood and I’m so glad we did. We use it constantly. We even have a kids wagon for the nephews and I use it for bringing in groceries in the nice weather.



Inside there is a first floor handicap bathroom and laundry. I took the handrails off the toilet and made a removable curb 6” where the shower was a flush to the floor roll in dual shower with fold down seat and all. I could put it all back in an hour if the need came about but for now it doesn’t have that hospital look. It would be easy to return my home theater room to a first floor bedroom if needed.



I made my hot tub deck just one inch lower than the inside floor. I have it covered at the door so snow isn’t a problem and it has worked out great. Might be a little tough with a wheelchair but a walker would be easy.

If anything I think code should help with future planning like this. :coffee:
 

ajaynejr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2011
Messages
63
Reaction score
17
A gravel or packed dirt slope up to the doorway is not going to remain a smooth transition for long. You need a hard surface for your stepless walkway or ramp.

Rain splashing on the ramp cannot be avoided unless the ramp is covered. The splashing will mean that the bottom of the door will be wet a lot of the time which will lead to deterioration.
 

68bucks

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2015
Messages
216
Reaction score
73
A gravel or packed dirt slope up to the doorway is not going to remain a smooth transition for long. You need a hard surface for your stepless walkway or ramp.

Rain splashing on the ramp cannot be avoided unless the ramp is covered. The splashing will mean that the bottom of the door will be wet a lot of the time which will lead to deterioration.
I'm still working on this plan but we're getting really close. We will extend the roofline out an additional 4' to create a little shelter for the door from a bit of the weather. Any walking surface on the ramp would be concrete or pavers. My research has found that this sort of an arrangement is often called a rampscape. As far as rain splashing on the door seems like that is going to happen regardless if I have steps or a ramp. My question is still if I can just push gravel up against the house and pour concrete over that? Do I need to do something special to the rim joist? I haven't found any such construction details yet.
 

tmiskimen

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2006
Messages
14
Reaction score
6
I'm still working on this plan but we're getting really close. We will extend the roofline out an additional 4' to create a little shelter for the door from a bit of the weather. Any walking surface on the ramp would be concrete or pavers. My research has found that this sort of an arrangement is often called a rampscape. As far as rain splashing on the door seems like that is going to happen regardless if I have steps or a ramp. My question is still if I can just push gravel up against the house and pour concrete over that? Do I need to do something special to the rim joist? I haven't found any such construction details yet.
If you have dirt or concrete in contact with wood you are setting up a perfect termite haven.
 

Latest posts

Top