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Graveslawncare
05-11-2012, 01:54 PM
Alright, I'm designing a set of steps that come down from the house door to grade where we will be installing a paver patio. The picture I attached below is a perfect example of what we will be doing, except ours will be 2 steps more (5 total) because the door is 30" off the ground. We are going to use Belgard Weston Wall for the seat walls on either side of the steps, and Belgard Celtik wall for the steps. So here is the problem I am dealing with:

Celtik actually has riser and step pieces that they make for building steps. You lay a 4" solid concrete block on the base, then a riser on top of that and a tread on top of that, backfill with base, compact, repeat.

This would be great if I was building steps into a grade and not against a structure, but I don't think it is a good idea to be compacting 36"+ of base against the side of the house. My idea for a solution is to build a wall against the house, either using the Weston Wall or just standard cmu block. That way there is something between the compaction and the house to take the pressure. Is that how you guys would do it? I'm open to suggestions, I really need to get this estimate finished and I can't obviously until I know what materials I need for these steps. Thanks for the help!

GroundOneMN
05-11-2012, 04:50 PM
Re-enforced footings. Then place geo synthetic grid in twice. Bottom 6" and then maybe 3-4th course.

I have never been a fan of "gaping" between the home and the steps. But if thats what budget dictates, then thats not a horrible solution. That just gives another place to fail and most homes in and around that "overdig" tend to settle for years.

I would push for the footings. Do it right the first time, costs half as much as finding the cheap way.

Graveslawncare
05-11-2012, 09:03 PM
Re-enforced footings. Then place geo synthetic grid in twice. Bottom 6" and then maybe 3-4th course.

I have never been a fan of "gaping" between the home and the steps. But if thats what budget dictates, then thats not a horrible solution. That just gives another place to fail and most homes in and around that "overdig" tend to settle for years.

I would push for the footings. Do it right the first time, costs half as much as finding the cheap way.

Reinforced footings under what? The whole set of steps? The house was built in the early 90's, so I'm not considering settling much of a factor. So can you explain the footings part in greater detail?

Also, what do you mean by "gaping"?

Thanks for the response :waving:

DVS Hardscaper
05-11-2012, 09:20 PM
Need more info. Is the 30" siding or foundation wall?
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Graveslawncare
05-12-2012, 08:39 AM
Need more info. Is the 30" siding or foundation wall?
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Both. Basement wall is probably about 2/3 and the rest is vinyl siding. Ill try to put a pic up in a bit.
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Graveslawncare
05-12-2012, 04:04 PM
Here's a couple pics of the site where the steps will go:

TomG
05-12-2012, 05:27 PM
We use something we call "pillowing." I explain it in my picture thread on here. Here is the link to the page. http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=339989&page=37

Graveslawncare
05-12-2012, 08:05 PM
Interesting TomG. In your pics, it almost looks like there is some kind of block near the foundation wall?

So where the steps would be up against the siding in my project, should I be removing the siding and putting up a moisture barrier? Do you have any side drawings of this pillowing method you use? I think I understand, but I think I would understand better with some kind of drawing.

DVS, still interested to hear your opinion now that I posted the new pictures.

DVS Hardscaper
05-12-2012, 09:31 PM
Here's a couple pics of the site where the steps will go:

For that short amount of siding I doubt we would do anything special.

And this is coming from 16 yrs of dedicated hardscape experience.

The concern is moisture.

1st of all, the roof most likely has an overhang. Chances of water finding its way that close to the house are slim. Now if it's a blowing rain, the kind where it comes through open windows - then yeAh the top step will get wet. But your top landing should NEVER be level, it should fall away from the dwelling.

Next - vinyl siding has vent holes on the bottom of each section. This allows the siding to breathe.

You're talkin 10-inches. In this case I wouldn't think twice about leaving the siding as is. Now in terms of the owner replacing the siding 13 yrs from now - different story.

.
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DVS Hardscaper
05-12-2012, 09:33 PM
DVS, still interested to hear your opinion now that I posted the new pictures.

Sorry for the delay. Race weekend! Busy busy!
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Graveslawncare
05-13-2012, 05:48 AM
So what about my main problem? Would you compact all that fill base material against the house? Or build a buffer wall against the house? Or do the pillowing method TomG uses? Or do you guys have another way?

Maybe it won't put as much pressure on the house as I am thinking it will, but I want to be sure before I ever dig, and I figured asking more experienced guys would be a good start.

DVS Hardscaper
05-13-2012, 08:08 AM
When referring to "the house" do you mean the foundation or the vinyl siding? The foundation will be fine. It's solid. And the siding - - hand tamp in 2" lifts

.
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DVS Hardscaper
05-13-2012, 08:16 AM
Also, there is really no reason why you can't just build a wall against the foundation wall, to create a buffer.
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Graveslawncare
05-13-2012, 01:51 PM
Alright, that's what I was looking for, thanks DVS. So I guess it wasn't as big of a deal as I was making it. I am just the kind of guy who wants to make sure everything is perfect and of the highest quality. I want what I build to outlast the customers' house. So it's always nerve-wracking for me when I have to do something I haven't done before.

Thanks guys :waving:

OneLineAtATime
05-13-2012, 03:30 PM
Use #57 Limestone instead of crushed limestone, its 95% compacted when it hits the ground

DVS Hardscaper
05-14-2012, 07:59 AM
And while on the subject of steps against houses. Many contractors like to remove the siding and cover the wooden wall with flashing.

Most homes are wrapped with Tyvex. Read the specs for Tyvex and you'll see that Tyvex breathes!

See, I'm a thinker. And I'm as simple minded as can be.

Is it wise to cover the wood with a non-breathe able membrane???? Think about it. The makers of Tyvex made
It breathe for a reason, don't you think they know best?
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Graveslawncare
05-14-2012, 02:44 PM
So just build the steps straight up against what is already there, right? (Siding)
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