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View Full Version : Curved Versa-lok stairs


Steiner
07-01-2009, 02:45 PM
I am getting ready to start a job with standard versa lok stairs and while I have built straight stairs and the like I have never tackled curving stairs. A few questions:

1. Can I continue to use the pedestal method on each successive course or will the radius get to overwhelming?

2. What is the minimum radius of steps achievable with the versa-lok product?

3. Does anyone have any pics of current or past jobs doing curving versa-lok stairs or maybe another product you like working with?

I will include pictures of the current area where the patio is going. The height from the threshold to the patios finished height is about 2 feet.

-Thanks Chris

Right Touch
07-01-2009, 04:45 PM
Yes you can do curved stairs with versalok if you have the right tools. If you use all standard blocks, your minimum curve will be no less than 10'. Its probably more, but we've never built larger than that, and all blocks had to be cut. Use a mix of standard and cobble blocks to help with the curves or get a good quality 14" table saw to make quick work of the cuts. I included a picture of a set of curved steps we did with standard and coblle, though I like the look of all standard better. This customer didnt want to pay for the extra labor to make all the cuts.

Steiner
07-01-2009, 09:56 PM
Nice looking job, thanks for the quick reply. Do you have any during shots so I can see the different blocks used? Maybe I can save some time using some different stone?

Cutting those versa-lok must have taken awhile. I have a stihl demolition saw, I don't think this is going to be fun.

How many man hours on those steps?

zedosix
07-02-2009, 03:17 PM
Bit on the high side don't you think? You could of easily dropped the steps 1" each and had a small step out the patio door.

Right Touch
07-05-2009, 08:49 PM
Bit on the high side don't you think? You could of easily dropped the steps 1" each and had a small step out the patio door.

nope. homeowner wanted level landing out of the backdoor and If we stepped down off the back door, there would have been siding repair. Homeowner didnt wanna deal with that. Not sure what dropping the steps 1" each would have accomplished. The ground level is alot lower in the picture because the steps are the first phase in a large patio that we will be installing at a future date. Once the patio is in place, the final grade will make all steps 7".

Stone Creations
07-05-2009, 09:38 PM
steps look great..but if your in an area where there's gonna be any snow build up, the homeowner will regret he made those steps level..Hope you brought that to his attention!

zedosix
07-05-2009, 09:44 PM
Its not up to the homeowner, its up to you to decide how the steps should fit.

Stone Creations
07-05-2009, 09:53 PM
Right touch, part of our job as contractor's is to inform the homeowner of possible conflicts down the road. I stop them @ " well i want it this way"..then I politely inform them that I dont alter my installs cause he "dont wanna be bothered with siding"..that landing should be at least 4-6 inchs lower for water run off and snow build up.Also hope he doesnt get a pounding rain against that back door cause your phone WILL RING and him saying" the water is coming in the house and ruined my $8000 hard wood floors"..yikes!

Right Touch
07-06-2009, 12:27 PM
point well taken. And yes, i did inform him of those issues and made him sign off on possible water in house. sometimes the customer wants what they wants, and as along as they sign off, youre all good.

D Felix
07-06-2009, 03:23 PM
RT- did you butt the block/cap right up to the siding??

Sure hope not.

Right Touch
07-06-2009, 04:39 PM
RT- did you butt the block/cap right up to the siding??

Sure hope not.

no. i built up the back end with block as well. I dont know of any other way to do it. I havent even learned anything about that in my NCMA or ICPI classes, its the only way that seems right though. is there anything else I should be doing? i hate to steal the OP thread, but this is something I've always wondered myself.

D Felix
07-06-2009, 04:54 PM
There's a newer spec sheet that I've seen somewhere that says to keep any aggregate/backfill 6" below the sill plate. You are also supposed to keep a 2" air gap (using a "back wall" with block) along the sheeting/foundation wall anywhere above that 6" threshold. Any superstructure of the house that is "covered" by the raised portion should be flashed using rubberized snow and ice dam material covered by paintable galvanized steel flashing (not sure why the spec sheet has it that way- I've always covered metal flashing with the ice dam, makes more sense to me). The flashing system should extend 12" above the finished height of the pavers.

IOW, you'll need to take off the siding to flash the sheeting. The finished height of pavers and or steps overhangs the air gap and butts tight to the house. At that point you can re-install the siding and cut around the steps and install J-channel for a more finished look.

As I understand it, the reason for the air gap is due to a reaction between typical aggregates and flashing causing the flashing to break down quickly and become ineffective.

Here's a picture of some steps we did a couple of years ago that are butted up to the sheeting of the house, with the siding cut to fit around the steps. Gives a much cleaner look, IMHO.

FWIW, it's really not that hard to take off vinyl siding and really isn't that hard to cut and re-hang. If you don't know how to do it, call a carpenter the first time and help him with the job. It's a piece of cake!

Right Touch
07-06-2009, 06:46 PM
thank you for such a thorough response. Please forward that spec sheet on to me if you come across it. BEsides the ICPI and NCMA classes, where else do you get your information from if you dont mind me asking? I feel I have almost every hardscape magazine subscription there is and want to learn as much as possible so that I provide my customers with the best, longest lasting hardscapes, though it seems as every time I feel I've hit another level of knowledge, something else comes along that humbles me. Its a never ending process... Any avenues of knowledge that you know of that you could pass along to me would be greatly appreciated.