Steps made with Retaining wall block

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by neighborguy, Apr 10, 2009.

  1. neighborguy

    neighborguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    Last year we did a fair number of stoops/stairs made with Brussels block. This spring I already have three that need to be repaired after only one winter. I did one of the installs and someone else I work with did the other two.

    Mine failed due to new construction and I guess I didn't compact the backfill enough. (is there ever really enough?) I am just curious how many of you also build stoops with the block and what you have done to combat settling. I work from the bottom up, compact with as much equipment as I can but usually use a hand tamper in 1-2" lifts. Other than adding in some portland cement to the crushed limestone base I am not sure what else to do. I have done many in the past but these ones from last year have me baffled.

  2. Hardscaping

    Hardscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 359

    use road gravel as base, then put 3/4 clean stone on top of that.

    compact the road gravel in 4 inch lifts. for stairs you want at least 6 to 8 inches of gravel then 3 inches of 3/4 clean stone.

    that is what i use.

    reason i use the 3/4 clean stone is to stop wash outs from under the stairs. and it provides really good drainage.
  3. Isobel

    Isobel LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    how deep is your base?
  4. neighborguy

    neighborguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    Our base is 10 inches minimum.

    Hardscaping - do you use the 3/4 clear in each level of step? I have used it before under driveways and such but I thought that if I have a layer of 3/8 crushed stone, then a layer of 3/8 clear, follow by another layer of 3/8 crushed that over time the second layer of crushed would wash down into the clear stone and cause settling. Does that make sense? If you have been having success with it I will give it a shot.

  5. Mid-Ohio Scaper

    Mid-Ohio Scaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 135

    I use clean 3/4" crushed limestone gravel for every part of construction, base and fill. You never have to worry about washout and I've never in five or so years had a stoop or steps settle.
  6. Hardscaping

    Hardscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 359

    use a geo fabric to stop the layers from mixing.
    i was told not to use limestone crusher run for the full base as it will eventually wash out. with the 3/4 clean on top it will prevent washout. you could also seperate the two layers everywhere on the wall construction with the fabric.

    i dig out all the way back from the first step back at least three or four steps. so the top step has got a base of about 24 inches or more.

    i put in the bottom layer, and compact in lifts then i put the fabric down put the 3/4 stone there. then i put in the first layer of steps. then build up behind that with the road gravel again compact and then fabric then 3/4 stone. same way all the way up.

    not sure if you can understand that but if need be i can draw a diagram lol if it helps.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2009
  7. neighborguy

    neighborguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    I will probably try both methods you guys have suggested. As I said I have done a fair number of these in the past and just these last three of last year are having issues.

    Hardscaping - I understand what you are saying about the top step having 24 inches of base or so. That seems pretty much like what I currently do just that I don't use the fabric in between steps. I think that a combination of both your suggestion and Mid-Ohio will be my first shot. I have a large set that I need to build in the next week or so (weather depending).
  8. kootoomootoo

    kootoomootoo LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,369

  9. neighborguy

    neighborguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186


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