View Full Version : Keystone steps

03-18-2001, 10:22 AM
Pricing a wall job with set of steps. First tier is 3' second is 1.5' about 2' back. I've got the wall figured but not the sides of the stairway and how many steps.

Any ideas?

03-18-2001, 11:23 AM
Hmmm, I'm not sure if I understand this, so if you could, please clarify a couple things:

Are the steps going up the full height of the first and second walls? If they are, 2' between them isn't enough space. If you're using 8" block, that's 4 1/2 steps for the first wall, and 5' from the base of the wall back to where the top of the last step will be.

Another consideration - since the second wall is only 2' back, you'll likely need grid in the first wall - check with Keystone.

For the sidewalls of the steps, it'll be just like building the rest of the wall (except no setback). If you have five steps in that first wall, that's 2 walls 3' x 5'. Plus all the block going into the steps themselves.

But clarify the wall sizes and spaces between them and where the steps are going - then I'll be able to help more.

03-18-2001, 02:39 PM
All the steps should be priced as bottom row because you need to build a base for each step and sidewall.
When we build steps more than 3 high we still use the setback on sidewalls.

03-18-2001, 02:53 PM
For any sets of steps less than 6, we only make one base prep - for the entire area where steps will go. Then we just stack blocks to make the steps.

Material costs are higher, but time is drastically reduced and you have a more stable set of steps when you're done.

The people at Versa-Lok recommend this type of installation.

Rex Mann
03-18-2001, 04:00 PM

Rule of thumb for terraced walls is the 2nd wall needs be set back twice as far as the first wall is high. If not geogrid should be used. IE: your wall, 2nd one, should be 6 feet back for no geogrid.

The steps can be done two ways. They can stay the same width the entire 'case. To do this you have to make your wing walls vertical. Or the steps can gradualy get wider as you go up. They would get wider because of the natural setback in the blocks.

What look does the homeowner want?


03-18-2001, 04:06 PM

Yes, the steps need to go all the way up.

How far back should the second wall be?

If the homeowner wants to keep it at 2', where does the grid go?

03-18-2001, 04:31 PM
I have done that once on a set of 2 steps. I didn't find it to save enough time to justify the extra cost of materials. Using your example of 6 steps I'll assume 4ft wide you would need 45 extra double units at a cost of about $330. I would rather sell my customers 3 hours labour to install the base for these steps than sell them Unilock product. More money in my pocket. Using Pisa II you need to modify the blocks when you use this method to avoid gaps between the steps. I don't know if this is the case with Keystone, but I would bet that it is. Now you still have to split and install the extra 90 pieces so the time savings must be used up by now. With your vast knowledge of granular base materials you don't really believe that using segmented retaining wall units as fill could be better than compacted gravel do you?

Just food for thought, am I wrong?

03-18-2001, 08:09 PM
Is this what you are tring to do?


Here we are building steps on a gravel base, one set of steps leads to the next level, our option here is that we can control our set back on the next course of wall behind the installer.

[Edited by paul on 03-18-2001 at 08:12 PM]

03-19-2001, 09:32 AM
Rule of thumb on stacking walls is the second wall should be installed 2x the heighth behind the first wall. IF NOT the the load of the second wall is considered to be the same as if it it were stacked on top of the first wall and most manufacturers recommend no higher than 4' without grid or engineering. Thus if you had 2 2' walls you could install 2' apart and not install grid. This is also somewhat dependent on soil conditions

Paul, as always, nice install.

03-19-2001, 09:40 AM
What the others have said about wall setback is right on. And if you're using Versa-Lok, this is already taken care of (12" deep, 6" tall). Here are a couple pictures from the Versa-Lok manuals to illustrate the steps idea:



03-21-2001, 10:37 AM
Thanks for all the help guys. I think I've got it all figured out.

We'll be using Keystone standards for the steps, they're much deeper. This should keep it stable.