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Old 06-21-2011, 12:45 PM   #1
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Ill Effect of heavy block steps on basement wall?


We live in a Cape Cod home with a one car driveway. Along the side of the house were rotted wooden steps leading out of a side door. I'd like to replace the steps with some limestone block (2 slabs). The foundation where the steps would go has some cracking and is out of plumb less than one inch. I've taken care of the water issue but I worry about the heavy steps pushing the wall in further. Is this something to be concerned about?

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Old 06-21-2011, 04:27 PM   #2
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Ill Effect of heavy block steps on basement wall?


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We live in a Cape Cod home with a one car driveway. Along the side of the house were rotted wooden steps leading out of a side door. I'd like to replace the steps with some limestone block (2 slabs). The foundation where the steps would go has some cracking and is out of plumb less than one inch. I've taken care of the water issue but I worry about the heavy steps pushing the wall in further. Is this something to be concerned about?
The base you provide the steps should be such that they are free standing and exert no pressure in any direction except down.

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Old 06-21-2011, 04:35 PM   #3
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Ill Effect of heavy block steps on basement wall?


smawgunner -

Even with lightweight steps, your step foundation wall has already failed or is starting to fail based on the cracks and deflection. Aparently, due to moisture collection, poor soil backfill and the lateral pressure of the saturated soil.

Definitely make any added steps isolated to avoid adding more lateral loads that will compound the problem.
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:53 PM   #4
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Ill Effect of heavy block steps on basement wall?


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smawgunner -

Even with lightweight steps, your step foundation wall has already failed or is starting to fail based on the cracks and deflection. Aparently, due to moisture collection, poor soil backfill and the lateral pressure of the saturated soil.

Definitely make any added steps isolated to avoid adding more lateral loads that will compound the problem.
When you say make the steps isolated, what are you referring to? At one time the wood steps were actually attached to the house and supported by the block foundation. I spoke to a cement contractor who wanted to reattached to the block/foundation to support a poured step (at $2000.00 no less). I thought that would be the worst of the two evils with all of the weight hanging on the foundation. But now I'm not sure. It's a small two riser step that I'm trying to replace.
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:07 PM   #5
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Ill Effect of heavy block steps on basement wall?


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When you say make the steps isolated, what are you referring to? At one time the wood steps were actually attached to the house and supported by the block foundation. I spoke to a cement contractor who wanted to reattached to the block/foundation to support a poured step (at $2000.00 no less). I thought that would be the worst of the two evils with all of the weight hanging on the foundation. But now I'm not sure. It's a small two riser step that I'm trying to replace.
Isolated and freestanding are the same animal.
They are not connected to the house structure.
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:57 PM   #6
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Ill Effect of heavy block steps on basement wall?


Then again, cars have been driving on the driveway which is 2.5 feet away from the foundation for years so I'm not sure if the block/stone steps would make a huge difference....???
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Old 06-21-2011, 08:08 PM   #7
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Ill Effect of heavy block steps on basement wall?


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Then again, cars have been driving on the driveway which is 2.5 feet away from the foundation for years so I'm not sure if the block/stone steps would make a huge difference....???
You lost me with that post.
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:04 PM   #8
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Ill Effect of heavy block steps on basement wall?


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You lost me with that post.
Think about it now.......if cars park on the driveway which is approx. 2.5 feet away from the foundation. I doubt heavy stone sitting that close would be any different. If I could...I'd draw you a picture if you think that would help.
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:26 PM   #9
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Ill Effect of heavy block steps on basement wall?


If it's built properly, most of the force should be vertical, so there should be no damage to a nearby structure that is sound.
But I do like pictures.

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