Steps


I need new steps for the front door. Why can't I make them with cement blocks. Seems easy enough to just stack them to form steps. The first layer the full length of the steps, the second layer out to the first tred and so on. Never seen any like this is it taboo?
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on 9/17/2009 8:11 AM (ET) Van Chocstraw wrote the following:

You can, as long as you anchor the base steps and cement the blocks to each other, otherwise you will get movement from traffic, rain, and freeze and thaw cycles.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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Van Chocstraw wrote:

Where do you live?
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On Thu, 17 Sep 2009 08:11:29 -0400, Van Chocstraw wrote:

There might be local rules which dictate minimum tread depth, riser height etc. and also whether you're allowed open risers (I'm not sure if you mean solid cement blocks or the ones with the pair of large holes in - local rules may say that those holes have to be filled if so). Your home insurance company might have something to say about that, too, so check with them as well.
Other than sticking to any rules though I can't think of anything inherently 'wrong' with it though - except as Bill says, vibration, freezing etc. will all cause problems unless it's all securely fixed.
cheers
Jules
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wrote:

Bad idea. Some fool did my old back steps that way and there have been numerous falls because of them. The reason is that common sense and most building coder follow the 7 - 11 rule, 7" rise and 11" run. Even theater people follow this rule to prevent on, or off stage disasters. Last time I bought cement block they were 8" x 8" x 16". Most DIY projects wind up as 8" rise, x 8" run. Even if you stack to an 11" or 12" run, people will trip over the 8" rise. Maybe there is a smart block maker somewhere that has 7" x whatever blocks for steps. Seems to me there should be a nice little niche market there.
Joe
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I couldn't find any 7" blocks, but I did find out how to make a roof out of cement blocks...
http://www.ehow.com/how_4682902_building-concrete-block-roof.html
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Cement blocks are 7 5/8" x 15 5/8". They are still a bit tall for rise, but I have seen and have used them for steps at work. Some of these have been in use for over 10 years. We did stick them together with Liquid Nails. They don't lend themselves to mounting hand rails.
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re: "Maybe there is a smart block maker somewhere that has 7" x whatever blocks for steps"
Just wait a little while.
Similar to Ice Cream and Bacon, the price will stay the same, but the blocks will be smaller.
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Joe wrote:

They already have that market covered with precast hollow steps. 1 piece or multi, depending on requirements. Looks at least as good as concrete blocks would. And they meet rise-run standards.
-- aem sends...
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Van Chocstraw wrote:

I've seen a cast block system specifically designed to construct outdoor steps and landings. The blocks are heavy, and lock together for stability. Saw it at my local Menards. You might also check your local landscape block supplier.
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Hell Toupee wrote:

And probably cost a small fortune.
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Van Chocstraw wrote:

It wasn't cheap, but it looked much nicer than concrete, and would hold up longer than a wood deck/steps, with less maintenance.
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Van Chocstraw wrote:

No, it's quite common at trailer parks. Also milk crates.
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wrote:

buffalo ny: precast concrete steps have lasted at one house since 1976 but the concrete poured base has settled a bit away from the porch door.
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