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  1. #1
    Platinum Member RayCo's Avatar
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    Default Steps from a porch

    Hi group. I'm putting a walkway in out front of my house, and I'm also going to need to put in a couple of steps. There will be a total of two steps in between my porch and my walkway. They will be 8' wide 2x12's supported by three stair stringers. As far as supporting these steps at the bottom, do I need to pour concrete footers? Can I just run my walkway pavers up underneath and have the steps rest freely on them? Can I use wooded posts 10-12" in the ground without concrete footers?

    Thanks for any advice.
    Ray
    BX24

  2. #2
    EdC
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    Default Re: Steps from a porch

    RayCo

    I do not do construction for a living so just speak from some personal experience. In other words Eddie Walker's opinion is worth a lot more than mine.

    I would pour a footer for the steps just to minimize the problems with frost heaving.

    If you put wood, even pressure treated wood, in contact with dirt it will not last. Pressure treated wood may last for 5 or 6 years but that is all. At least that is what I run into out here in WA. Dig a hole below the frost line and put in a cement pier. You will never have to mess with it again.
    Ed

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Steps from a porch

    Ray

    I used a railway tie (kresote), it's been there ten years and still in good shape, was alot less work than putting in posts.

  4. #4
    Super Member Robert_in_NY's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steps from a porch

    Up here we set right down onto concrete sidewalks with no problem. The stairs are going to move a little bit anyway so it isn't a very big deal if the ground moves a small bit up and down. You can use wood also but dig the post down 3 feet (and concrete them in) if you plan on using them as a support for the stair and the post for your hand rail.

    The biggest thing with pressure treated stairs is that you need to make sure they are attached well to the house/deck. We go to a lot of jobs where they were built wrong and have been scabbed back together numerous times to keep them attached.


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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Steps from a porch

    Ray

    Have you thought about making those steps out of retaining wall block ? You have to make a base for you pavers anyway so why not just use the block for steps. It will cost a little more but, in my opinion will look better and won't take all that much extra time especially if you have to lay out and cut the stringers. Here is a link to some examples EP Henry. As for your original question, if you have prepared a good base for the pavers then I would lay (glue if you want) a pt 2x12 on top of the pavers and attach the bottom of the stringers to that.
    "Some men see things as they are and say, "Why?" I dream of things that never were and say, "Why not?" - George Bernard Shaw






  6. #6
    Super Member Robert_in_NY's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steps from a porch

    The bottom of the stringer doesn't really need to be attached to anything as long as the top of the stringer is properly attached. The weight is all transferred straight down and by leaving the bottom floating, any movement with the wood and the ground will not hurt the stairs any. Attaching the bottom to the pavers will stress the stairs during the thaw/feeze season.


    God must love stupid people; He made so many

  7. #7
    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steps from a porch

    I've never worked in an area that gets any snow, so the freezing issues you guys have to deal with create an interst to me just because it's something new.

    I usually try to avoid wood stairs as much as possible as they all have a limited life span. I know that you might not have a choice in this, but usualy it's a height issue to go with wood or not. I've never built stairs out of retaining blocks, but I've done a few from concrete and red bricks.

    Since you are putting down patio pavers for the walkway, I'd consider making the steps out of those pavers to tie it all together and make it truly amazing.

    Just form out the steps for conrete so you can mortor on the pavers at the desired height for your steps. Depending on the color of your pavers, you might be able to find some bullnose bricks that match your pavers really nice too. I did this once with a dark red paver and a smooth finished, dark red bull nose brick.

    Another option is to pour concrete and then cover it in tile. It's a different element from your pavers, but if you have rock on your home, or landscaping, then slate tiles might look really nice. I've dont the slate thing to cover up all sorts of bad concrete and brick work!!!!!

    If you absolutely have to use wood, then be sure to attach your stringers to your ledger board extremly well. This is where it counts. Use lag bolts, cairage bolts and screws. I never use nails on any outdoor, exposed wood. Not for trim, decks or anything. I'd float the bottoms of the stairs on the pavers with as much surface material of the stringers as you have.

    Will there be a railing? Is there a safety concern, or abuse issue with kids? If so, I'd set the post in concrete as deep as possible. If not, then just lag screw it onto the sides of your stringers with at least three screws. Two never seems to be enough. LOL

    If you post some pictures, I'm sure we can come up with some more detailed information. It's always allot of guesswork and assumptions when giving advice based on just what's been written.

    Hope this helps,
    Eddie

  8. #8
    Platinum Member RayCo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steps from a porch

    Thanks to everyone for all the feedback. There is one existing step in place that is wood, but it was a real hack-job that the builders threw on at the last minute, and I'm actually surprised it passed inspection before we moved in. But, I reckon because of this existing step and the fact that the porch is all wood, I just assumed wood would look best. But, I think that I'll be considering some other options now!

    Railing: Undecided - we like the idea, but fear that it'd look pretentious. Our house is very plain looking, and we want to keep it that way.

    Kids: One year old daughter learning to walk on our porch now! It's an 8-foot opening where the steps come to the porch. I'm thinking about getting an 8 foot gate to put there, actually.
    Ray
    BX24

  9. #9
    Platinum Member RayCo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steps from a porch

    p.s. If we need concrete footers, that's my excuse to buy a 3pt post-hole digger.
    Ray
    BX24

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