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Old 05-12-2013, 10:38 AM   #1
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Attaching Stair Stringers to Stone Allan Block


This may be a dumb idea, but here's the plan...

* Side of house as a retaining wall about 3' high spanning about 10' We've been just using a couple blocks on the ground as a helper step, but I want to put in a few steps. It's kind of rough face Allan Block wall though.

* I'm thinking... ( maybe not properly )...

+ Go get a 3 or 4 stair stringer from Home Depot, (depending on if I go from top or start a stair down)

+ Grind down a smooth area on the block and use either Simpson Strong Tie LSCZ adjustable brace or just Joist Hangers, and use Tapcon screws to attach them.

+ At the bottom, I'll just level out the slightly sloping grass/dirt as necessary and use some flat stone plates as the landing.

+ Attaching the stairs and risers themselves is the trivial part. It's really the top attachment of the stringers that I'm concerned about.

Any thoughts on whether this sounds solid or bad idea?

Thanks,
Scott

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Old 05-12-2013, 11:14 AM   #2
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Attaching Stair Stringers to Stone Allan Block


Tapcons through block wont do it. They will work loose. Anchors and epoxy is probably much better solution. There are many other ways, but without pics we will be just guessing.

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Old 05-12-2013, 11:22 AM   #3
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Attaching Stair Stringers to Stone Allan Block


Would you be using the wooden or metal stringers from HD? We're you considering using the Allen block cap as the top stair tread? Not a good idea if its not anchored properly. Would anchoring to post instead of the blocks make more sense in this application? Any railings?
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:32 AM   #4
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Attaching Stair Stringers to Stone Allan Block


you could build a frame that supports the stringers (kind of like a wall)
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:35 AM   #5
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Attaching Stair Stringers to Stone Allan Block


Quote:
Originally Posted by sixeightten
Tapcons through block wont do it. They will work loose.
I agree with this too. The slight movement could cause these fasteners to fail over time. Unless the wall was solid and not floating stacked Allen Blocks.

Anchoring post, for the top and bottom of the stringer may work and could be somewhat hidden if placed on the inside of the stringers. A suitable top tread would have to be figured into the design. Perhaps removing a cap and one coarse of block in the stair opening may work?
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:39 AM   #6
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Attaching Stair Stringers to Stone Allan Block


Quote:
Originally Posted by GBrackins
you could build a frame that supports the stringers (kind of like a wall)
Yeah. That's what I thought too. Properly braced post may do the trick.
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:46 AM   #7
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Attaching Stair Stringers to Stone Allan Block


I've used those black metal stringers from HD before and they worked good. Gave the effect of floating treads with clear finished cedar 2x's. Their a bit of a challenge to attach the tread too but look nice when done.
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Old 05-12-2013, 12:52 PM   #8
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Attaching Stair Stringers to Stone Allan Block


Just make sure they are safely attached to the wall blocks at the top. Having a set of stairs separate (without positive attachment) from the landing is not a good idea. Be sure to follow deck stair building minimum safety code of 4" or less riser space (over 4" = solid risers) so as not to trap infant's head there; Fig.27; http://www.awc.org/Publications/DCA/DCA6/DCA6-09.pdf

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Old 05-12-2013, 01:51 PM   #9
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Attaching Stair Stringers to Stone Allan Block


Quote:
Originally Posted by GBrackins View Post
you could build a frame that supports the stringers (kind of like a wall)
Just as the set of concrete steps that you buy from the store are not fastened to the block wall (or rarely), you can set up wood the same way... although it never hurts to anchor the top part of a wall like that to the blocks somehow.
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:37 PM   #10
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Attaching Stair Stringers to Stone Allan Block


I'll have to take a picture. But bottom line is you guys are likely right. What I had planned wasn't safe.

I'm trying to find out if local code requires railings for three outside steps.

Thanks for suggestions. Will get a pic tomorrow.
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Old 05-17-2013, 05:02 PM   #11
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Attaching Stair Stringers to Stone Allan Block


Alright then... here's what the actual wall looks like. I'm really a bit at a loss here as to what to do. Don't want to make a huge set of stone steps. I suppose I could just put some non-attached steps butted up against the wall for temporary use, but there's got to be a better solution that's not wickedly expensive. The challenge is the blocks are not cemented in, (which I should probably fix anyway), and they're rough faced, with a small outward slope.

Any ideas on a good solution for a few steps here? You can see the dumb little concrete blocks we've been using as a step down. Only a matter of time before one of us sprains an ankle. (Though I suppose in short term I could just get a bigger block!)

Thanks for any ideas. (And no jokes about the crappy looking tarp on woodpile in background please! I'll build a proper shed to match the raised garden soon!)



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Old 05-17-2013, 10:08 PM   #12
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Attaching Stair Stringers to Stone Allan Block


Since it already looks like the ground behind the wall is lower than the top of the wall, have you considered recessing the steps back into the wall? You could just remove the top 3 courses of the wall and lay a new section of them back into the dirt area to form steps. That would certainly look less bulky and be quite easy to do.
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Old 05-18-2013, 06:41 AM   #13
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Attaching Stair Stringers to Stone Allan Block


I just don't see doing anything with wood there that would look right. I'm seeing 4-5 steps using that same block, a couple recessed in and a couple into the yard.

I'd try to lay it out so you wouldn't have to bring in or remove any extra soil from the property. You'd just be moving around what is already there, you would need a few more blocks though.
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:48 AM   #14
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Attaching Stair Stringers to Stone Allan Block


Looking at the pic, it appears that the left side of the wall drops off slightly. Unless your using a fisheye lens on the camera.

The wall looks too high, not straight, and too far out. If it was me, I would move the wall back so it's flush with the house, level the wall properly, lower the hight and create a proper stair well. You likely wouldn't even need railings.
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:55 PM   #15
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Attaching Stair Stringers to Stone Allan Block


Interesting ideas. It does seem that recessing something back into that wall and making at least part of a stairway through there makes sense. I shouldn't even have to go so far back that it would interfere with the door to the raised bed garden.

Though I wouldn't want to block off, (pun intended), the rear mini-garage "bat" door.

Will have to measure it out and see if it's time to go price out some stone.

Thanks for suggestions!


Last edited by Scottg; 05-19-2013 at 04:58 PM.
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