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Footing for granite step install

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Clarkscape, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. scagrider22

    scagrider22 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,272

    We also poor a concrete slab under steps but I always order the concrete and pay the small load fee, hand mixed concrete is not as strong. I've been doing it this way for 12 years and have not had any issues with the block settling, also I stack the block solid all the way up, I dont put it on compacted fill. I excavate 18" and the top 6" is concrete with wire. I also do this under seat walls, bars and grills. Here is the last one I did...The last pic is for DVS.



  2. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,601

    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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    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  3. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,601

    The most effective way I have seen steps installed in terms of settlement is where the poured foundations have perches incorporated in them, and the perches support the steps.

    Anything else, other than digging down to solid virgin ground, is a shot in the dark.

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