View Full Version : Wobble, wobble - fixing shaky stair treads

07-05-2000, 11:11 PM
&lt;img src = http://content.communities.msn.com/isapi/fetch.dll?action=view_photo&ID_Community=Stevesairportpage&ID_Topic=2&ID_Message=5&Action_Flag=&gt;<p>Man, this took a while to get in!!!!! downloaded a quick autocad sketch (excuse the roughness, just trying to test it out) as you can tell by the # of edits, quite a few trys.<p>Anyways, what I trying to get to is if anyone has had a problem like this.<p>I did a set of steps using keystone wall block, straight face, and by the time I got to about the fourth step, the blocks were just not leveling out. The base course was PERFECT, but due to block imperfections, this happended as I got father up the steps.<p>Now, my question is how do I go about getting the &quot;CAPS&quot; to be level, or at least close to level. <p>They aren't that bad, maybe a eigth of an inch up to almost 1/4 inch &quot;teter totter&quot; when the cap spans two blocks.<p>I was wondering if you guys use shims of some sort, and if you do, what do you use.<p>Or, do you try to float it out with the block adhesive (I'm using pave tech's paver bond #1 flexible/clear)<p>or, do you do some masonry work and float some thinset mix across the top first and set the caps in.<p>any ideas appreciated.<p>steveair <p><p><br>&lt;font size=&quot;1&quot;&gt;Edited by: steveair<p><br>&lt;font size=&quot;1&quot;&gt;Edited by: steveair<p><br>&lt;font size=&quot;1&quot;&gt;Edited by: steveair<p><br>&lt;font size=&quot;1&quot;&gt;Edited by: steveair<p><br>&lt;font size=&quot;1&quot;&gt;Edited by: steveair<br><p><font size="1">Edited by: steveair

07-06-2000, 11:14 PM
If the caps are not glued down yet, why not go back to your dealer and try to find blocks that are the same height,I know it is a pain in the *#@. But could be your best bet and would look better. We had the same problem with a wall system last year, we now use uni lock because of it. there mold is filled from the back so that if there is an imperfection you do not see it or get frusterated over it. Tom

07-07-2000, 12:08 AM
Steveair, remember the grinder that iI keep in our trailer, you,ve just found anouther use for it. the problem with Keystone is that it's made on a concrete or cinder block mold, they can be imperfect, next time as your building your wall measure your units as they come off the pallet try to keep same size units for steps.<p>----------<br>paul<br>

07-07-2000, 06:22 PM
Paul, thats a great tip about the steps!<p>SteveAir- Try using a thin layer of morter, it will level them out no prob, and so you don't see a 1/4&quot; of morter between the, pitch the caps slightly down in the front, this will also be good for water runoff.<p>----------<br>&lt;a href=&quot;http://communities.msn.com/guidosequipmentpics/&quot;&gt;&quot;Guido&quot;&lt;/a&gt;<br>David M. Famiglietti

07-08-2000, 12:24 AM
I like Paul's idea - I do a similar thing - I use the Partner saw to act as a grinder. It's probably much more time consuming than a real grinder, but can get the job done. You have to be very delicate with the saw, though. Otherwise you'll cut too deep in places and leave an ugly surface (which isn't a big deal if the cap overhangs a bit to cover it, but if the cap has the same batter as the wall, it'll probably show). <p>Another option is to place the block on it's side and cut that extra bit off - I know, much easier said than done.<p>Talk about inconsistent block...Did you know I found a block with a pair of vice grips half sticking out of it?

07-09-2000, 01:10 AM
Thanks for the advice everyone!<p>All good ideas, and will keep in mind for my next projects.<p>For this one, though, I found a solution that will work.<p>To start, I wanted to try some other blocks, but since the stairs are already set, I couldn't get the steps out without pulling the whole thing.<p>Second, I don't have a grinder yet and can't swing the $250 for the diamond cup yet, but I think, in a couple more jobs, I will get the grinder and diamond cup. Had some other instances where it would of come in handy. A great idea that I will get as soon as my 'budget' allows it.<p>So, what I did was this. I feathered some strips of paver bond along the the top of the blocks and let it dry. It gave me the 'level seat' I was looking for (at least close enough, but still would like better). I then put adhesive on again and let it dry. <p>It seems to be holding up good. I've stepped on it a few times, and it feels just as solid as the others, so I think I have gotten by this time.<p>I will have some pics posted in a few days to show how it came out. Will try to get them in here, or will post them on Guido's page. thanks Dave<p>steveair<p>steveair

07-09-2000, 01:25 AM
OK guys, while we're on the subject of steps. Did my first step using VersaLock caps and the cap glue. The next day while working on the job the customer stepped on them and they were loose. I waited another day to see if the glue would set better and they were still loose. I ended up pulling them out and using concrete. The glue directions said you could adjust your work for up to 4 hours but didn't say anything about total cure time. My supplier told me the glue would work fine, I followed directions exactly, base surface was clean and after 48 hours the caps were real loose. What did I do wrong? Or should I use a different brandtype of glue? Or should I stick with using concrete? Any help is appreciated.

07-09-2000, 10:12 AM
BRL, We switched to epoxy glue for steps about two years ago because of the problem with loose caps on park jobs that we do, it's a two part mix, two tubes with a nozzel that mixes it at the tip, cost for the glue is $10 per tube but the cost for a glue gun is $100 but it has never failed.<p>Steveair the grinder wheels are now priced at $75 and the grinders that we buy are $90 so not that bad, check with different supply houses on priceing of the cups<p>----------<br>paul<p>also epoxy glue will work with wet caps<p><font size="1">Edited by: paul

07-09-2000, 09:45 PM
BRL:<p>I am using paver bond by pave tech and the directions state about the same as you said.<p>basic set up takes about 30 minutes, at this point the blocks no longer 'float around' but can be pulled up easily.<p>Set up time for light traffic is around 24 to 48 hrs. Total set up time is almost 2 weeks. I think they say it is something like 80% percent strong after 48 hrs.<p>Some ideas on why you may have had some problems.<p>1. moisture- were the cap or block a little damp, for this can cause the pave bond to fail. I have this problem sometimes because I cut all my caps and line them out first before I glue, then it rains, and if the caps are on the wall, moisture build between the two and takes a long time to dry, so some times I 'rush' it and glue anyway.<p>2. traffic - in order to set properly, the caps should not be moved at all during that 24-48 hr period. Even a little movement can cause a problem. If the homeowner walked on it the next day, then the glue may have needed more time still.<p>3. Applied too much - Pave bond is very funny when you over apply. If you are leaving over 1/4 inch thick beads, it can take a LONG time to bond. More is not better with pave bond, as if it is too thick it just never sets. It may bond some, but never really sets up.<p>steveair<p><p>

07-09-2000, 11:25 PM
Thanks guys!<br>Paul, <br>I've used that epoxy glue you're talking about while working for a general contractor. That's serious stuff. We used it to mount all thread into holes drilled into the concrete pad that the steel girders were bolted to, that held up a warehouse. Your steps and caps are definitely never moving.<br>Steve,<br>1. 92 degrees, sunny and low humidity. Moisture was not an issue.<br>2. The glue I had didn't say anything about cure times. (Never used a product with important issues like that that didn't have those instructions on the label) The customer & I just kind of put a little weight on them after about 30 hours to see what was going on. So I waited one more day and went for the concrete.<br>3. Bingo! That makes a lot of sense. I probably had more like 38 inch bead and put a little extra on &quot;just to make sure&quot;. I'm about to do a step at my house so I'll give it another try following your advice.<br>Thanks.

07-10-2000, 12:40 PM
Brl,<p>Just a quick question on the type of adhesive you are using. What kind is it?<p>there are 'other' concrete adhesives out there, and I have found that some of them are just garbage. I ran out one day and bought a tube of 'concrete adhesive' at the hardware store and the stuff was garbage. Had to go back and use paver bond anyway.<p>If you aren't using a product designed for paver/wall work, I would have to say this could be the problem also. <p>steveair<br>

07-10-2000, 06:43 PM
Steve, <br>I used VersaLock Retaining Wall Systems brand concrete adhesive. That was the only one at that supplier and that was the brand of the cap that I used so I figured it had to be the right one to use. I'll use a different brand next time just because of the label issue that I mentioned. I can't believe they'd sell a product without complete directions. I kind of thought that maybe a different product would be used for stair applications. A cap usually isn't subject to people walking on it, so maybe cap glue isn't made the same way another glue would be for stairs.

07-10-2000, 11:19 PM
I use PL brand polyurethane construction adhesive quite a bit. The stuff seems to work really well (but not so well when wet). Amount of time before it can have foot traffic is about 90 mins. I can usually give a cap block a full boot in the face after 90 mins (steel toed boot, that is) and not have it move a smidge. It's about $5 for a big tube (don't recall the # of ozs). <p>In the cooler months it gets hard to spread, but letting it sit on the dashboard of a running vehicle on defrost warms it up pretty good.

07-11-2000, 11:05 PM
I've used almost everything in the past ten years to glue stairs. Thought that the epoxy mixes were the way to go but their cost as well as the amount of waste turned me off. With our northern freeze thaw cycles the epoxy bond would be broken and call backs are too expensive. I've been using PL Premium for about three years and have had very few problems. If someone has a better product let's hear about it.

07-11-2000, 11:54 PM
Our list of adhesives is kind of long. For most paver work we use Unilock Paver Bond, for low traffic wall cap use Paver Bond or Versa-loc adhesive. For steps we have switched to LIquidRoc500 epoxy, it's a twin tube type adhesive with a mixing tube that is attached at the tip. Now for special work like water parks we use a two part epoxy that is trowel out with 3/8&quot; notched trowel and the pavers are set into this mix.work time is short with this stuff but the only way to break the bond is with a air hammer(30lbr works best). We also use a epoxy mortar for river work that sets our dowels (7/8&quot; rebar epoxy coated).<p> To date we have not had a problem with epoxy bond being broken even on parks that kids like to tear apart, they have broken wall units and caps but not the epoxy bond. As to freeze thaw cycles the only way for for a bond to be broken is having water sit between the two surfaces and stay there. This condition exists on some of our water parks and we have not had a problem in 5 years of doing this type of work. As to a cost factor I figure that no call backs is better than using a cheaper adhesive even if there is some waste. Also there are some epoxy adhesives that will work under water if you have a need for this. Sometimes you have to work in rivers or lakes when conditions are bad so having other options helps keep things moving, now if we could only put plants in when the rivers are high thing would be great:)<p>----------<br>paul<br>