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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I am considering replacing an exterior stairway and landing at the front of my house (please see picture attached). The stairway is along the foundation of the house.

Some contractors have suggested to backfill the landing and stairway with base rock, and then pour a concrete slab and add rebar.

Other contractors have suggested a wood frame with pressure-treated wood beams. A sketch is is attached.

What are the pros and cons between backfilling vs. a wood frame?

Some contractors have said that a wood frame will allow the area to be better ventilated. Others have said that backfilling will put weight against the foundation wall, but backfilling is sturdier and safer.

Thank you any advice.

John
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I see. I've heard that concrete also costs significantly more.

Either way, whether we pour concrete slab over backfilled base rock, or put plywood over wood beams, we will lay brick on top.
 

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One more un-questionable vote for concrete. The lifespan of a brick stair set, if done properly, is measured in decades or generations, where the lifespan of pressure treated wood in measured in hours or weeks. Also, masonry is far more stable than wood to temperature and moisture variables, meaning they don't "play well" together.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you very much for your replies.

If I decide to use concrete slab for the stairway, are there advantages or disadvantages to backfilling the stairway with base rock vs. using steel beams to support the concrete slab (please see the sketch here )?

Some contractors have said that backfilling will put weight against the foundation wall, but backfilling is sturdier and safer and also cheaper (no structural engineer needed). On the other hand, that area will no longer be visible nor accessible after it is backfilled.
 

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For your situation I would consider anything but backfilling and then pouring the concrete steps top of the backfill. The small amount of additional pressure against your foundation isn't going to cause any additional problems since I'm sure the majority of your foundation already has more pressure against it than that area will have. The area under the steps is basically unusable anyway and the moisture is going to cause corrosion of the steel.
 
Since you want to put the brick on top of whatever you build there's no way you should even be considering wood in this situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you very much, Msradell, for your reply. Just to clarify, did you mean "I would not consider anything else but backfilling"?
 
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