We have done many many steps over the last 17 years. During this time we have only had two jobs move. One job was the huge set of steps, the other was like 2 risers on new construction.
We have steps that are 6-9 risers that have never moved. And to this day look as good as when we built them. Many of the steps are on my website, under patios. I haves small section of nothing but step pictures.
All it takes is that one job to make you realize something. Whether its dental work, Pig farming, or step building. You do something over and over and it only takes one failure to make you think.
So many variables. And most guys are not experienced enough to conscientiously realize the variables exist.
Ya know, we do alotta demolition work. And this venture allows me to see all sorts of aspects of construction that you normally do not see. We often come across old porches and steps that were installed in the 50's, 60's, and 70's.. Most of these are NOT set on a concrete slab. They have footings on them and are placed on masonry block walls. Never do we encounter steps or porches that are merely floating on slabs.
The top of the ground isn't what settles (in terms of overdig zones). The top of the ground is never what settles. **The ground settles from the bottom - up.** This is why footings are important as you're digging to the bottom. So placing a nice concrete slab at the top isn't really going to prevent settlement as the slab will merely settle. Think of basement slabs. They are usually on solid ground. Yet - they do infact move. But they don't drop out from under theirselves because most basements are not placed on 8 to 10 feet of fill like patio steps are
Also - speaking of steps: don't forget those handrails!
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