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Steps question

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by paponte, Jan 29, 2006.

  1. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,366

    Alot of people are asking questions on how others handle their own particular installs. Not that one is right and the other is wrong but just different techniques that are used to get the same effect.

    My question is on steps. I see it done both ways. Some guys build walls back under their next rise and fill with compacted aggregate, and some just use compacted aggregate then place their next rise on top of that. I have always built back and stacked up for a couple of reasons. #1 I find it easier to have the next rise exact in place and proper alignment. #2 I think it gives more integrity, especially when tying into walls.

    Are guys just using a compacted base "cutting corners" or is there a reason for it? Thanks. :)
  2. MarcusLndscp

    MarcusLndscp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    Are you saying that you set a step and then build off the back of it with wall stone to support your next step? Some pictures of what you're trying to desribe might help.
  3. MarcusLndscp

    MarcusLndscp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    Are you talking about the pedestal method for wall block?
  4. Henry

    Henry LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    We always set blocks behind each riser to set the next riser on. What, besides the adhesive holding the cap, would hold the next riser from moving forward if it's only sitting on stone? With a pin system you have each riser held in place by the block below it. We haven't tried the pedestal method.
  5. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,366

    Yes and yes. That is the way I was taught, but have seen guys that just use compacted agg. to backfill and go off of that. To me it seems like yes you would use less block, but seems like it would take more time and would have less integrity. I can see using that method along a long gradual rise, but not on smaller applications.
  6. mbella

    mbella LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    We use the pedestal method. On a long gradual rise, I will make a bench cut in order to save block.
  7. Drafto

    Drafto LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 442

    Where can you find some good detailed drawings of each of these methods? I have used the compacted agg method and found it to be very time consuming and I was not happy with the results. I would like some detailed drawings of the pedestal method, it seems like most vendor catalogs aren't very good for this sort of thing.

  8. cgland

    cgland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,929

    Drafto - Do a search for "Tall A$$ Pedestal Steps" I posted some pics of a set we installed.

  9. bigviclbi

    bigviclbi LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Messages: 900

    The ephenry catalog has a pedestal example in it i'm pretty sure. I find that it goes about 100x quicker that way. Stairs were/are sometimes tricky, I have never built a step sytem into a hill only stoops to doors. I'm imagining it will be a ton of fun the first time I do it.

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,426


    In order to answer this better for you, I'll have to post some pictures of the situation and the photographer from Keystone is scheduled sometime next week, depending on when the grounds crew can allow her on the estate.\

    In our situation, we built an inner boundry wall, then created the steps with the properly adujusted rise, then built an outer wall against the stairs. The reason is simple. We had only so many feet to run the stairs, and with the unit run of a wall cap at 12", that was limited. So, based off projected unit run, we had to adjust our unit rise evenly over the run of the stairs.

    In this scenario, we had 3 sets of stairs, each had a landing built in the middle, and each had a peculiar twist about them Had we used a standard 8" rise which is the Century Wall casting, we never would have made the right elevation when we poured the concrete decking. Each step had a full embedment course, so there were 2 blocks in the ground, and all walls had Strata Grid every 3rd course. WE made a balcony landing, and built a CMU stucco wall on top, with Mediteranain balastrades and a cast concrete cap for the railing.
    The logistics of the job had us driving 350' down a 2-1 slope, then 240' up a
    2-1 slope to set pallets of stone for installation. We installed 22 50-65" box palm trees using a Hercules twin rotor helicopter because a crane could not get in where we needed him to go.

    I should have some stuff up in a week of two so you can see what I'm talking about with relation to step heights.

    I agree, the best way is to connect the stones to the side walls, but in this case, it could not be done.

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