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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First post. Be gentle. Well, not really ... just shoot this down if it doesn't make sense. I've already talked to the permitting folks and they've OKed the idea but I'm kinda stuck on how to do the landing/steps.

A) The main deck surface is 34" above ground. (18' x 13' for reference)
B) I can attach it to two sides of the house so won't need posts
C) Digging posts within 5' of the house would mean I'd have to go down 10' to house footer although not a single neighbor has done so.
D) In order to avoid adding a guardrail, I've created 3' x 4.5' platforms down the side of this deck. So, that prior 34" above ground height is really only 8" above the landing and the first landing is 26" above ground so don't need rails of any kind (don't need it for anything under 30" and the platform is considered a different level)
E) In order to pretty it up, I want to curve the landings. You can forget the curve in terms of construction as that's just a visual.

Here's the issue. Since the deck is hanging from the ledgers with no posts I can't figure out what I'm attaching these side steps/landings to. I mean they aren't your typical steps with pre-cut risers and such.

I could just dig some holes and pour some concrete and I think I'll have to at least on one side but I'd like to minimize the number of holes dug. I also don't feel like digging down 10' for a couple of landings.

So, how would you construct these steps/landings? I could just do multiple box frames.



Here's a picture:
 

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Master General ReEngineer
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Ayuh,.... Where about's on the planet are ya buildin' this,..??

I'm tryin' to figure out Why you'd go 10' down for a simple footer post,....
 

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Footings only need to be below the frost line.
Unless your in someplace like the artic circle I'm sure it's not 10' down.
Unless it's a two story deck I never attach a deck to the side of the house.
Opens up all kinds of issues when you do.
 

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I think the OPS is referring to the rule that if the posts are within a certain horizontal distance of the house foundation (typically five feet) the footer for the post must be at the same level as the footers for the house. This is subject to local interpretation by the building inspector, so if the OPS can confirm that interpretation, we can discuss this project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Planet Loudoun County (northern VA). That entire area was dug out to pour the houses foundation. The earth wasn't notched out in the shape of the house, so that's all disturbed soil.

The holes I've seen dug have been 5-6' deep which I guess was enough for the inspector to OK, but I was around when all of these got built and you'd really have to go down to 10' for undisturbed soil. It's not the heaviest deck in the world, so perhaps settling isn't an issue but why risk it?

One side of the ledger would be into the garage where I would block between the studs and weatherproof the living daylights out of it. The other side is the rim joist that I have access to. I'd also block that some more since the basement is unfinished currently.

I guess I was thinking, why bother with free standing, it's literally 34" off the ground at the highest point. Ledger, ledger, hang joists and decking. Would be a one day job for the main portion of the deck.

I could be convinced to dig, I suppose but it really seems overkill.

So the steps ... what do I do there?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The idea for the landings is nice......and might work for the first step down, but going off the deck to that third one will be quite a step! You need railings.
That 3rd step you refer to is about a 22" drop. Code doesn't require railings for anything below 30". I'd obviously put some planters and pots in the way to steer people away from it but I think it's a non-issue (from a code perspective anyway .. and the building permit folks agreed).
 

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If it were me.
I would run a railing across the front of the deck up to where the top landing begins.
I would install railings around the outside of the landings.

In my neck of the woods those landings would have to have the same rise.
The rise can not be more then 8".
34" div. by 4 step = 8.5" rise....?

This means I would have to add a concrete pad/walk to make up the difference, or add another step.

What are the specs for your floor joist.?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I understand most would want railings ... not me though. I want it to be open and look more like an elevated patio than a deck.

34" on the left side and 30" on the right. Since they are landings, the risers do not have to be the same height (I think) but still have to be less than 8 1/4" or thereabouts. So, let's say 8". 34 down 8 gets you to 26, 26 down 8 gets you to 18, 18 down 8 gets you to 10 off the ground (relative to the 34 but since we're at 30 on the right hand side I'm really only down 6), so I should be able to do 6-8" risers.

My real issue is whether I have to pour footers for the outside portion of the landings and if so, what are the guidelines? I mean it's not going to support more than 100 lbs worth of wood and decking (plus people walking).

I see a whole bunch of rules for stairs but not much for supporting multiple landings.

If it were me.
I would run a railing across the front of the deck up to where the top landing begins.
I would install railings around the outside of the landings.

In my neck of the woods those landings would have to have the same rise.
The rise can not be more then 8".
34" div. by 4 step = 8.5" rise....?

This means I would have to add a concrete pad/walk to make up the difference, or add another step.

What are the specs for your floor joist.?
 

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Master General ReEngineer
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My real issue is whether I have to pour footers for the outside portion of the landings and if so, what are the guidelines? I mean it's not going to support more than 100 lbs worth of wood and decking (plus people walking).
Ayuh,.... Build the steps/ landin's independent of the deck, 'n set it right on the ground, if that's what ya want,....

Put it on a stone pad, whatever,....

If it shifts, pull it out, 'n relevel the grade,...
 

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Remodel and New Build GC
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That 3rd step you refer to is about a 22" drop. Code doesn't require railings for anything below 30". I'd obviously put some planters and pots in the way to steer people away from it but I think it's a non-issue (from a code perspective anyway .. and the building permit folks agreed).
I could swear under IRC that 30" drop is for 5 (I think 5..would have to check)feet out... not just directly below????
 

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Remodel and New Build GC
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I think the OPS is referring to the rule that if the posts are within a certain horizontal distance of the house foundation (typically five feet) the footer for the post must be at the same level as the footers for the house. This is subject to local interpretation by the building inspector, so if the OPS can confirm that interpretation, we can discuss this project.
Dan... Could you help me understand that concept... I have never run into that... and I've done pretty many decks in Colorado.

Is that predicated on assumption that within 5 feet, it's likely not undesturbed soil.... or is there an eng concept/logic I don't understand...

TIA

Peter
 

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Ez fix, jun the top step all the way across, same with the other two. So you will have three nice deck-wide landings heading up to the deck. Safe and easy. Ron
 

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Again, in my neck of the woods......
If you have 34" rise on the left and 30" rise on the right, that throws the water drainage toward the left section of the house. The water drainage for what you propose must have a slope coming out of the U shape without throwing drainage toward either side. It then must come out 10' past the house with a 6% slope.
 

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I would see if they'll pass the landings being free standing and not attached to the deck. Instead of putting the framing directly on the ground which will rot even pressure treated in only like 5 years sometimes, see if they'll let you use:


so what if the landing fluctuates and inch or so lower and higher with frost heave/rain? I mean , they might argue it could make it unlevel and unsafe since it's being walked so that's up to you.

As someone said, the dimensions of those 'stairs' might be a problem in itself not being a certain tred and riser size.

You could probably just put a dinky set of stairs up, pass inspection, then take it down and build what you want freestanding, just hope no one ever falls down it if it's not to code being free standing and the wrong tred and riser dimension.

what if you wanted masonry stairs to that back door? 10' foundation or just cinder blocks on the ground? Maybe you can convince them you'll put cinder blocks and mortar under the landing pads and have it free standing and attach the decking right to them with furring strips or something. Or build a concrete form instead of the cinderblocks, it's a lot of work but anything sounds better than 10' footings lol.
 

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I mean ask the town/inspector before building the platforms freestanding on the ground to see if they'll pass that instead of hoping they see it built and pass. Maybe they'll let you do them free standing if they're on ~3" slabs of concrete.
 
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