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Old 08-05-2011, 01:53 PM   #1
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Deck stairs on sand-set brick landing


Hi Folks!

I need advice or education about how to attach stair stringers on a sand-set brick landing.

Here's the situation.

I am building a low deck that has a long S curved edge. The entire edge has steps; that is, it looks like a short flight of very wide steps; 26 stringers in all. The deck has two different levels and as a result there are three steps (three rises) on one side and two rises on the other.

The landing is on the lawn (or rather there used to be lawn there ).

I had to decide on a method for making the landing pad early in the project. Since I did not want to form a 30' long, 2' wide, curved concrete pad, nor pour 26 concrete footings, I opted for a sand-set brick walkway. That might not have been the wisest choice; even making the stepped edge with stringers was possibly not the best way either, but at that point in the project I did not known that much about stairs. That was all guesswork. At least the brick landing looks good.

Now the patio is laid, the deck frame is built, the 26 stringers are cut, and I have to find an answer to the question of how to connect the stringers with the bricks.

Books tell you that you can land stairs on sand-set bricks, but none that I've found shows you how. They always use concrete or gravel as an example.
Books tell you that you may want to notch the bottom of the stringer over a kick-board, but they do not show curved steps, and they do not tell you why you want the kick board.

So, I end-up with the following questions:
. What is the function of a kick board: lateral restraint, load distribution, uplift restraint, or just an easier method of attachment to the pad?
. Can one just attach the stringers to sand-set bricks with metal brackets? Will not the bricks break if I try to drill them to fit masonnery screws?
. If I do need the kick-board, are there other ways to use it; such as as spacers between stringers; providing only rigidity to the whole deal?
. Can I just let the whole stair float over the brick, with no bolting down of any kind?

To make it somewhat clearer, I include a couple of pictures.
The close-up of the stringer shows one other issue with the stringers themselves that has me slightly concerned: the portion remaining below the stair notch (is that the correct term?) is not very big and not all is resting on the bricks. Given that the runners are to be made of the decking material (3/4" Ipe), the stringers are pretty close together; 16" OC at the most distant, so each is lightly loaded, but still... do I need to reinforce them? (take pity of me, don't tell me I have to cut new ones )

Any advice or information will be received most gratefully.

J-C
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Old 08-05-2011, 03:06 PM   #2
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Deck stairs on sand-set brick landing


Guess it depends are where you are. Would'nt fly here. I'll let others comment on foundation requirements.

At the corner of your cut to the edge of the 2x12 you need 5".

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Old 08-05-2011, 03:44 PM   #3
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Deck stairs on sand-set brick landing


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At the corner of your cut to the edge of the 2x12 you need 5".

I don't see any 2x12.
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Old 08-05-2011, 03:58 PM   #4
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Deck stairs on sand-set brick landing


You are correct; you do not see any on that picture. Some of them further down are actually cut from 2x12. when I ordered the first batch of lumber for the stringers, I had not yet realized that 2x10 would be borderline. I had never cut stair stringers before. I was not so familiar with the geometry of it and I read somewhere that one can get away with 2x10 for short stairs. Given 1 stringer every 16" or less, Can I?

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Old 08-05-2011, 04:04 PM   #5
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Deck stairs on sand-set brick landing


As 12penny said it depends where you're located and what local code dictates.

Where I’m from that would be fine since any deck or stairs under 30” high don’t need a permit or inspections.

Whether it’s a good idea or not is another story.
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Old 08-05-2011, 04:18 PM   #6
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Deck stairs on sand-set brick landing


Nice looking job.
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Old 08-05-2011, 04:18 PM   #7
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Deck stairs on sand-set brick landing


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Where I’m from that would be fine since any decks or stairs under 30” high don’t need a permit or inspections
Where I am too; provided that the deck is less than 500 sq' and not attached to the house.
You can't see that on the photo, but guess what...?
So, I'm not worried about an inspection. It doesn't mean that I want my stringers to break, though :-)

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Old 08-05-2011, 04:27 PM   #8
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Deck stairs on sand-set brick landing


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Nice looking job.
Thank you...I'm trying.
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Old 08-05-2011, 04:27 PM   #9
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Deck stairs on sand-set brick landing


The steps, by code, all need to have the same riser height.
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Old 08-05-2011, 05:03 PM   #10
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Deck stairs on sand-set brick landing


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The steps, by code, all need to have the same riser height.
That wasn't possible without making them either too shallow or too high. Except in one place that you do not see too well on the photo. It is all a function of the grade, the need to connect the brick landing to an existing brick patio, and the height of the house's floors.

I wasn't going to regrade my whole lot, was I?

The difference between the heigh of the two levels of the deck was made 6"1/2, so that is the height of the second and third risers. The first riser is whatever the grade dictated (4", except for the back stair where it's indeed 6"1/2).

Many thanks to all concerned with my deck's ability to pass inspection. I would really appreciate also some advice regarding it's attachment to the brick pavers and the actual risk that my stringers break...if you have any.

J-C
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Old 08-05-2011, 05:15 PM   #11
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Deck stairs on sand-set brick landing


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Originally Posted by jice View Post
That wasn't possible without making them either too shallow or too high. Except in one place that you do not see too well on the photo. It is all a function of the grade, the need to connect the brick landing to an existing brick patio, and the height of the house's floors.

I wasn't going to regrade my whole lot, was I?

The difference between the heigh of the two levels of the deck was made 6"1/2, so that is the height of the second and third risers. The first riser is whatever the grade dictated (4", except for the back stair where it's indeed 6"1/2).

Many thanks to all concerned with my deck's ability to pass inspection. I would really appreciate also some advice regarding it's attachment to the brick pavers and the actual risk that my stringers break...if you have any.

J-C
Don't understand. Is your brick landing not level with the deck?
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Old 08-05-2011, 05:27 PM   #12
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Deck stairs on sand-set brick landing


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Don't understand. Is your brick landing not level with the deck?
Er, not sure what you mean...the deck is 2 or 3 steps (depending on which part) above the landing. So, they sure are not at the same level. They are both level, though; as much as I could make them...within 1/8" or so for the deck and 1/4" or so for the brick. The brick also has a bit of a slope towards the lawn.

The big difference is between the brick curved walkway and the opposite side, where the back stairs are (can't see on the photo). These two areas are not connected by brick. They indeed are at two different levels.

J-C

Last edited by jice; 08-05-2011 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 08-05-2011, 05:33 PM   #13
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Deck stairs on sand-set brick landing


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Er, not sure what you mean...the deck is 2 or 3 steps (depending on which part) above the landing. So, they sure are not at the same level. They are both level, though; as much as I could make them...within 1/8" or so for the deck and 1/4" or so for the brick. The brick also has a bit of a slope towards the lawn.

J-C
I'm say...is the top of the deck level with the landing? I know you have different steps as far as 2 steps and three, but can't figure out why your first step is 2-1/2" different than the second and third step...it doesn't make any sense. All the steps have to be the same if the landing is level with the top of the deck.

For example you measure from the landing to the top of your deck all the way around you have 21". If your landing is not level...that is the only way you would have a difference with the steps. Meaning one side of the deck is 21" from the top of the deck to the landing and the other side is 17".
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Old 08-05-2011, 05:50 PM   #14
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Deck stairs on sand-set brick landing


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Meaning one side of the deck is 21" from the top of the deck to the landing and the other side is 17".
Right. As I tried to clarify by editing my previous answer, there is indeed two different heights of landing; there actually are two landings; the one for the back stairs is not connected at all to the long curved one. These are just wto areas of my lot.

When I started planning for this, I had to decide what I would consider "grade-level" and try to line-up everything for that. I picked the lowest point and that was that. However, it happens that the existing brick patio that my landing connects with is actually higher than that. So, I had a choice: step down from the patio to the brick landing, or make them flush. I chose the later. I then could have changed my steps to all be shallower, but that would have made them 5 1/2 " or so...too shallow for steps, I'm told. So I let them be. If I had tried to resolve absolutely everything, I would never have started.
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Old 08-06-2011, 05:35 AM   #15
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Deck stairs on sand-set brick landing


I see no problem with the stringers bearing on the brick as long as the sand and brick are bearing on undisturbed soil.

The problem I do see in the first pic is the gap at the heal of the stringers. You need to shim the heals so they have full support.

The undersized 2x10 stringers are a concern too, rather than replacing them you could lay a 2x flat on the patio and then wedge in one of your stringer cutoffs on top of that for extra support.

Gluing the risers also will add strength to the stairs.

As far as connecting the stringers to the brick, I wouldn’t bother with it. You’ll likely do more damage than good. Once everything is all put together it’s not going anywhere.

You defiantly want risers not just for the strength they provide but it will look much better. It’s details like that is what’s going to set those stairs off.

I’ve successfully steam bent Ipe for risers a on curved stairs similar to what you have there. You could also kerf cut the risers to make the bend but I’ve never tried that with Ipe.

I tried steam first because I already had it set up for bending 2x3 Ipe for grab rails and it worked out fine, although there were a few issues along the way.

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