Stone step tread ?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by steveair, Feb 28, 2002.

  1. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,073

    Hello,

    here's an interseting question that was brought up to me today.

    Suppose you are building a set of steps out of interlocking wall block (basically any brand) and you want to cap the steps with natural stone treads rather than cap/bullnose pavers, etc.

    Would you do anything differently constructing the steps for cap treads as opposed to natural stone treads (for example a 1'x 6' priece of sandstone/bluestone)?

    steve
     
  2. diginahole

    diginahole LawnSite Member
    Posts: 249

    Short of knocking off the keyways before laying the block, I would build it the same way. You may need to use some expando foam to get the cap to sit still. Careful selection of the piece will save alot of agrivation.
     
  3. PAPS

    PAPS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 404

    We've capped off many a steps before with limestone treads and simply built the steps the same way we would... a few times though... we had to have the limestone threads custom cut. Hope that helps;)
     
  4. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Posts: 1,625

    Around here we can get limestone cut for cap on walls so using it for steps wouldn't be that hard.
    I would make it thicker than 1". Try to use natural stone thats close to your cap thickness.
     
  5. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,361

    Do you have a picture of this type of wall/cap combo? What color wall do you prefer with the limestone cap?
     
  6. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Posts: 1,625

    Using the lighter colors from Unilock, and Versa-lok work the best, limestone being a a gray, light tan to white in color.
     
  7. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,073

    Hello,

    I asked this question because someone said they were concerned about the blocks frost heaving over time and cracking the stone tread if it was attached to the blocks.

    They seem to insist that you should build the steps on 'slabs' of concrete, so all the blocks that make up the step sit on one continuous foundation and if it frost heaves, it moves as one piece instead of many.

    I have done a few steps and never seemed concerned about this, and also have seen many steps that held up for years without cracking. I really don't see real to having a foundation for steps with stone treads, but suppose if you REALLY want to go crazy, you could put the blocks on a foundation.

    steve
     
  8. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Posts: 1,625

    Moving or cracking, I have seen cap and brick steps move and become unglued from frost, but most times it's vandals on the parks. I went back to a job we did 10 years ago to look at how kids had removed cap steps,being a curved step we had no choice but to use reversable cap(Unilock) larger cap stones they have a harder time removing more glue area. They asked me if we could change part of the design and make straight steps but the retaining wall would have to be reworked too much money for their budget at that time (looks like spring work).

    I believe that stone stepps will work fine, I would make sure the drainage under them is real good and use a glue/ bonding agent that will let small movement in the block.

    As far as making sure of no movment you need to go at least 3' deep in your area to get away from frost and pour a footing and wall, tieing it in to the foundation would be another way around this but I think your talking about some big $$ to do all of that.

    One ? I have was this a home owner??
     
  9. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,073

    Indirectly this was a homeowner question, at least I think so. Another contractor asked me the question and I have a feeling he was asked it a few days before........the interesting thing is that the guy who asked me the question seemed very concerned about the stone cracking himself.

    Quite frankly, I have never seen stone treads crack that are attached to wall blocks, but I have not been around all that long. I'm sure it could happen, but I don't think its worth all the trouble to insure something that 'might' happen. Just was seeing if anyone had any dramatic experiences saying differently enough for me to change my method.

    I think one of his bigger concerns was the use of sandstone, which is weaker than many of the others, and whether or not that would need some extra reinforment as opposed to others.

    steve
     
  10. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Posts: 1,625

    My worry with using sandstone would be bonding it to the block. It's softness makes it hard to bond with a givable adhesive. Any chance of using a different stone? As far as strength of the stone I wouldn't worry as long as it's over 2" thick.
     

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