Measuring for stairs?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by nlminc, Feb 13, 2007.

  1. nlminc

    nlminc LawnSite Bronze Member
    from GA
    Messages: 1,671

    What's the best way to measure out for stone or tie stairs on a slope. Do you measure the slope from top to bottom and figure it out?
  2. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    You need to know what your hieght difference is between the top and bottom. Use a transit or a laser level to figure that out. If it's a big hieght differential it will involve moving the transit/laser and performing some simple surveying functions to move up/down the slope.

    You will also need to know what your horizontal run is-measure the length of the slope. Using the length of the slope and the hieght of the slope, it's a simple matter of using some math (pythagorean theorem) to figure out what your horizontal run is.

    If you know your hieght and run, it's easy enough to figure out how many steps of what size you need.
  3. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Like he said. BTW its height.
  4. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    I try to sound like I'm edumacated, but even with kolledge edumacation I still can't remember that stupid "I before E except C" rule. :D
  5. NNJLandman

    NNJLandman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,306

    a lot of measuring, a lot of thought, and a lot of math.


    STONE SCAPES LawnSite Member
    Messages: 145

    They right! try some practice with steps you have outside or inside this should get in the grove of things
  7. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    Honestly, stairs are one of the hardest parts of hardscaping. Sometimes you need to build tiers, sometimes you don't. Sometimes its one big staircase, then others its 5 stairs then a walk, five stairs etc.

    Honestly, it really tuff to sometimes explain to a homeowner how you are going to do things. On some stair jobs i am not 100% untill i start excavating. Not all hills have the same slope all the way up.

    I would not recommend a novice to attempt a serious stair job. I have done about 10 stair jobs so far. The largest had 29 steps total. Yet i still think i know jack about stairs.

  8. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    There was a corner on one job that had us scratching our heads so much, I'm surprised we still have hair!!

    Due to space limitations, we couldn't have a straight run of steps. We had 5 steps, a landing, 90 degree turn, 5 more steps, short landing, 5 more steps up to the walk. All with a column at each side at the ends end and one at the corners with walls in between, some of which had to be double sided... What a PITA. But it looks good!!

    I haven't been at that job since way before it was finished two years ago, but I'm back with that company again and I'll be there soon. :)
  9. green horizons

    green horizons LawnSite Member
    from zone 5
    Messages: 144

    My attempts at hardscaping have been limited in scope. I tend to do more 2d work (patios, walks). I have done a few walls with success. Stairs have been few and far between. The ones that I've completed with success, I used timbers. Stairs are tricky, tricky business. Also, sometimes, the scope of the stair project will dictate additional requirements such as hand rails, zoning varience, etc.
    D felix, your posts are among the friendliest and most educational. Welcome back.
  10. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    I'm only friendly to those that deserve it. :D Someone else last week said every one of my posts were "nasty and negative". :rolleyes:

    Stick around, you'll see me call someone a dumba$$ at some point. :D :D It's good to be back, but once the season starts rolling along I'll probably be out for quite a while again.

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