Bulding an outdoor basement stairway entrance


I have a property that has an outdoor concrete stairway that leads to a basement entrance. The steps run down below grade along the back wall of the basement to a landing, and then by turning right one can enter the basement through a door in the back wall. The landing is about 18 inches above the basement floor level, so after entering the basement door, there are 2 or 3 steps down to the basement floor.
What I would like to do is add a few more steps down along the back basement wall, beginning at the end of the first landing (where the existing door is), and then create a second landing that is about 18 inches lower than the first landing. Where the new landing will be, I would like to add a second entrance to the basement.
The present concrete steps and landing are bordered by a concrete block wall -- one along the side of the steps, and one at the end of the existing landing at the bottom of the steps. The new design will require knocking out the concrete block wall at the end of the existing landing to continue the new run of steps down to the new (second) entrance to the basement.
The existing landing has a floor drain that I think goes to a French drain type of setup under the basement floor. It doesn't go to any sewer line. What I think I would like to do is have the existing floor drain and the new floor drain for the new landing go to a similar French drain type of setup under the basement floor which also can drain into a new sump pump pit that I will have installed.
If it's a straight-forward job, I may just go ahead and do it myself with the help of a friend. Or, I could get some estimates from concrete contractors and see what they say needs to be done. If the concrete contractors know what they are doing and it doesn't cost too much, I may just have them do it -- but I have a hunch that they will want a lot more than I would want to pay when I could do it myself for a lot less.
The part of all of this that I don't know about is how the new landing and new added concrete block surrounding and retaining wall should be built. In other words, is there a certain type or amount of footing that needs to go under the new section of retaining wall? And, is there anything special that needs to go under the new landing, other than a stone base underneath? Is rebar required anywhere?
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Depends where you are and your local codes and weather conditions. Call up the contractors and get some prices and advice.
R
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RicodJour wrote:

I should have added, I am in New Jersey near Philadelphia, PA.
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What can you do for a lot less? This is a very physical job and also requires some skill and experience.
In NJ plans would have to be submitted to the building department indicating the below the frost line footings as well as the lintel or other means to support the building above the new doorway. They don't like uncoated rebar in the footings here. I suggest that you check with your building department as requirements vary from state to state.
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Conceptually this is a pretty straightforward job but the devil is in the details.
Visualizing the desired the result is only the first step (a first that that many cannot get right). You seem to have a good handle on it.
But then you start asking questions that indicate a total lack of understanding of the details" how to build the new wall & landing footing design & construction footing base rebar
Get a couple guys out to look at the job. I think you;re going to get major "sticker shock".
Where are oyu located? Oregon? Texas? New Jersey? Arizona?
The cost & the effort to do this.........is it really worth doing just to eliminate those extra steps inside the basement?
cheers Bob
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fftt wrote:

I am in New Jersey, near Philadelphia, PA.
I do expect sticker shock, but I guess I'll just have to get a few contractors out there to look at it and give me the low-down. I do have someone who can do the work and "mostly" knows what he is doing. He can do the dig out by machine, and he knows how to do most concrete and concrete block work, but I don't have confidence that he knows the "details" that I was asking about.
The two-door idea is for a different reason than just to elimnate the extra steps in the basement. The building is a rental property and the "basement" is actually a lower level finished apartment. I want to add a second door that will be an outside entrance that would lead to the heater room so it can be accessed directly from the outside without having to go into the lower level apartment.
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How often do you need to access this heater room? How about an adjacent "well" next to the existing one & drop in a prefab spiral stair?
cheers Bob
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fftt wrote:

Pretty hard getting a new water heater or furnace down a spiral staircase...
-- aem sends...
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That would be kinda hard. I was figuring on the "new access" being used on a weekly or monthly basis and the "old access" being used for the major stuff; water heater / furnace replacement"
Unfortunately the OP's desires & requirements are not fully disclosed.
cheers Bob
btw...not that I'm suggesting it........ but you might be surprised what can go up & down a spiral or curved stair.
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How often do you need to access this heater room? How about an adjacent "well" next to the existing one & drop in a prefab spiral stair?
cheers Bob
--------------------
Thanks for the suggestion. The heater room has 3 gas-fired baseboard heater units and 3 gas hot wanter heater units. It's a 3-unit apartment building. I have considered various other designs and layouts but, at least for now, I'm trying to find out more about what the design I have in mind would involve.
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Before you move forward on any design (even getting guys out to bid) you need to determine what you this change to accomplish.
Getting construction guys out to the site with nothing more in mind than picking their brains and then doing the work yourself is why construction guys (typically) give quick & dirty estimates (or are unwilling to come out at all).
Of course with the economy slow it should be easy to get them to come out but in reality it will probably not result in work for any of them :(
I suggested the "extra stair well" because it requires less demo, results in less disruption to the existing stairwell & the same new construction.
If the new stair way is not just human access but machines as well.....then oyu need to stick with the stairway modification.
cheers Bob
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You will need to ensure that the existing footings of the house, or change the footings of the house so that they are below the frost line in your area, you will find that this also applies horizontally so that when frost enters the stairway wall it will freeze the ground in all directions, left, right and down. For example if you have a 4 foot frost level you will need the house and any permanent stair walls to have footings 4 feet below the bottom landing and for 4 feet on each side of the stairway opening, as well as below the angled portion of the decending stairs of they run beside the house foundation wall.
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EXT wrote:

So how do they install all the precast outside basement stairwells I see sitting at the concrete plant on the way to work every morning? Or do they consider those a window well, since they aren't really attached to the house?
-- aem sends, genuinely curious....
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Interesting. I hadn't thought or heard about precast basement stairs. I just did a Google search and found these links:
http://video.bobvila.com/m/21320387/installing-pre-cast-concrete-basement-stairs-and-a-bulkhead.htm
http://www.careyprecast.com/permentry.htm
http://en.allexperts.com/q/Home-Improvement-General-688/cellar-egress.htm
Although all of these show typical "Bilco"-style basement entrance steps, and not the kind of stairways that I want that run parallel to the wall, I didn't see anything on any of them calling for footings, frost line issues, etc.
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Oops. JayTKR = Beta-42. I posted this from a different computer which has my JayTKR username set up instead of my Beta-42 username.

http://video.bobvila.com/m/21320387/installing-pre-cast-concrete-basement-stairs-and-a-bulkhead.htm
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Those are for regular single family homes and may not be legal for all areas...It doesn't matter though because you have a commercial building....A whole different ball of wax...Especially in NJ...LOL...
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Another good point...I missed NJ as the job location. All bets are off. :)
But maybe a spiral would be ok since its access to a "non-occupied" space.....like a utility room in a commercial building?
cheers Bob
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