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What is under there?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by shovelracer, Jul 11, 2009.

  1. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    What is the "normal" builder method for supporting stairs like these. Forget about what is the right way. What is most likely under each step? Angle iron, block, fill? We might be opening this up to fix a water issue at the sill, but we dont have the go ahead to take out the stairs if at all possible. I think it is most likely angle iron, but I might be wrong. What would you expect to find?

    Picture 001.jpg
  2. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    pick is obviously from the construction 6-7 years back. Everything appears structurally fine today except for a water issue.
  3. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,601

    that door is over 4' off the ground. Why on earth would you have to rip that block out?
  4. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    The block isnt going to be removed. As you can see the section of concrete isnt sealed and never was. The flashing doesnt cover all the wood. And the landing is filled with clay soil. Not that it happens a lot, but when moisture gets in there it seeps into the house, basement, and floor. The owner, us, and a local construction engineer have been mulling over what to do about it for close to 2 years. Finally the conclusion is that the clay needs to be removed, the concrete needs to be sealed, the flashing extended, and refilled with clean crushed and draintile. Ideally if the repairs can be made without affecting the stairs it would be ideal. So the idea is to hand dig the 9x5 pad straight down 4'. The solution is overkill for the amount of water, but the cost now would be less than the long term cost of having to replace the wood that is getting damaged. We've discussed replacing the landing completely, but it isnt an option right now. Perhaps it will cost double in the long run, but this is the solution that 3 people with 3 different interests came up with that fits in the current budget.

    This is why I asked because if it is not structurally supported than digging close would obviously compromise the stairs. I know how I would have built them, but I already know that isnt how they are, but it is anyone's guess what is really under there.
  5. Bru75

    Bru75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 582

    I would guess fill, probably gravel, with formed concrete steps on top. At least that's the way I have done this.
    If it is this way, the concrete should have a whole lotta steel in it and I would not want to be the one to have to bust it up.
    My question is why they laid those blocks on thier sides?
    Here is the way I have done it:


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