Eventually I'm going to build a simple staircase out one of my back
windows into my yard currently I have to go to the basement to get to
The staircase will rest on metal and concrete, which is a bad thing, no?
Wondering if there's any techniques people use to space wood from
concrete/metal? I'm imagining tough plastic or wood "dowels" that would
work as spacers, or strips of rubber or plastic.
Any ideas appreciated.
This is standard house construction in most of the US, wood frames on a
concrete footing or foundation. As long as the wood and the concrete or
metal is not going to be wet and you adhere to any code restrictions on
distance between wood and soil there should be no problem. If it's going
to be wet or close enough to the ground for termites etc to build a bridge
into it then you want treated lumber or a decay resistant species same as
you would for deck construction.
Untreated wood should be a minimum of 6" from soil & 1" from concrete
to avoid rot & termite problems.
Wood in contact w/ concrete should be treated or decay resistant
The key to making wood last is to keep it dry.
Please don't anyone quote the code to me;
the code is a minimum standard, a compromise at best, like using a
brain surgeon who got all C's. :)
Right, but my question was does anyone have a technique to keeping wood
Like say I made a wood table for my patio. Instead of dealing with
pressure-treated wood and solutions like that, I was thinking of having
some sort of rubber/plastic footings (say 1" high) to keep the wood off
My question is what do people do when the build wood that is going to
sit on concrete to remedy the problem? Any specific materials or
Stop. You're focussing on the wrong problem. FORGET THE CONCRETE.
CONCRETE IS NOT YOUR PROBLEM. Your problem is keeping the wood dry.
Are these stairs going to be in a stairwell with walls and a roof and siding
and a door and so on like any other part of the house? If so, then you
build them just like any other part of the house--examine the house to see
how it was done or obtain a book on residential construction. Generally
speaking for that kind of construction the codes require a footing or
foundation that extends 3 feet or so above the soil and a decay-resistant
sill plate on top of that, with the outside steps either concrete or
decay-resistant. My house was built before pressure-treated sills were
required and it's been here a long time without any problems related to the
sills and concrete. A friend's house has similar construction only the
foundation is mortared stone rather than poured concrete--it has been there
longer than the United States and is quite sound. And they didn't even
_have_ treated lumber then.
If the stairs are going to be outdoors without a roof then your problem is
not concrete, your problem is that they are going to be outdoors. You need
to build them accordingly. That means decay resistant lumber. Forget the
concrete--they're going to get wet top to bottom and have plenty of nooks
and crannies which are going to hold water long after the rain stops. If
you don't do that then one day you are going to put your foot through a
step. No ifs, ands, or buts. Just when.
To take your example of a wood table for your patio, what people do is use
treated wood, decay resistant wood, or toss it when it rots.
I don't know where you get the idea that using pressure treated or decay
resistant wood requires any kind of special "dealing". You buy it, you
mark it, you saw it, you assemble it, you finish it. Decay resistant
doesn't change any of that.
If you're looking to do this on the cheap, then don't do it. If you've
never done this sort of thing before and your budget is so tight that decay
resistant wood is going to break the bank, then trust me, you're going to
run out money halfway through.
Every outdoor wood I've seen corroded first wherever it rested or was
attached to concrete. Yes, I'm new to building outdoor things, so calm
down. I understand that I should build with water-resistant wood. Maybe
I'm overly afraid of the water/concrete thing. Thanks for all your
Please don't make assumptions that lack of experience in building makes
me cheap or poor (not poor! oh no!). I don't like pressure-treated
wood. I didn't say I wouldn't use the appropriate wood, just not
pressure treated. Or I'd like avoid it for a table or furniture at
Well it's most colored and ugly green or brown, warps like crazy, species
usually unknown and toxicity still a question mark..
If you like that in a wood use it.:)
I'm betting you have a whole yard full of those attractive 'landscape ties'.
I'd rather have a car up on blocks in my front yard than those hideous and
possibly toxic landscape ties.
On Mon, 18 Apr 2005 08:46:39 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
Well, that's assuming a lot from what he said. "Decay-resistant"
doesn't always mean "treated", and "treated" does not mean "railroad
ties" If the plate is going to be covered up, then it makes all the
sense in the world to use treated lumber- if it's going to be an
essential part of the project's design, then there are several species
to choose from (cedar, teak, redwood, mahogany, etc) that will do just
as well (often better) than the pressure-treated stuff you can get
from the Borg. And even the pressure-treated stuff is a whole lot
nicer than you're making it out to be. The worst stuff I've seen has
a slightly green tinge to it, but otherwise looks just like any other
framing stud on the stack.
Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
I'm sensing some hostility here. Why is that?
Just for the record the only "landscape ties" I've ever owned were sitting
behind my father's garage in a pile and they were creosote-treated ex Coast
There's nothing about pressure treatment that makes wood that won't already
"warp like crazy" warp like crazy, most of it in the US is Southern Yellow
Pine, used because it takes well to the treatment, and toxicity is well
established for most of the treatments.
But "decay resistant" does not require pressure treatment. That's why I
stated "or decay resistant". There are many species of wood that are
naturally decay resistant--how resistant you need depends on where you are.
I believe I already suggested that you check woodpicker
<http://www.woodbin.com/cgi-bin/wood/wdpick.cgi . Setting "decay
resistance" to "high" gets more than 40 species and they don't have ipe in
their database yet. Colors range from nearly white to purple to red to
brown to black--don't think there's a green one in there.
Within that "high" range there's variation--osage orange is going to last
longer than white oak for example, and if you're in zone 4 or 5 on the map
at <http://www.southernpine.com/whatisptlumber.shtml I'd do some further
research before selecting wood that was going to be resting on footings or
in ground contact.
Since you're concerned about your lumber "warping like crazy", adding
"stability--high" to the list narrows it down to 35. So what other
properties do you want?
I didn't catch the beginning of this thread, but does the design you have in
mind *mandate* that the wood has to be sitting right on the concrete? Even
raising the wood a few inches could make all the difference. As I'm sure you
know, a metal stand-off is usually set in newly poured concrete for the
mounting of wooden posts. Assuming that the concrete you're mounting on has
long been set, what's to stop you from using a hammer drill to drill a new
hole and setting in a new metal stand-off?
I put everything like that on strips of heavy tarpaper, sometimes two or three
layers thick as long as a little settling from compression isn't a problem.
I've used untreated lumber on concrete for years like this with no problems.
I do however live in an area fairly dry.
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I used heavy stainless lag bolts (4 inch length) screwed into the stair
frame (stringer), where it meets the concrete. The pointee part of the
lag bolt points skyward, the head side rests on the concrete slab. I
used two lag bolts on each stringer.
I left the bolts protruding about 1 inch. The heads of the lag bolts
sit on the concrete slab.
After assembling the stairs and bolting them to my patio, I adjusted the
hex head lag bolts using an open end wrench, to compensate for any
irregularities in the concrete slab. This prevents the stairs from
"rocking" because one or the other stringer isn't sitting exactly on the
The advantages to me are.
1. As / if, the slab settles, I can adjust the bolts to compensate for
the new "gap".
2. I have air flow under the wood stair support (stringer) so that any
water will dry up faster.
3. The stainless lag bolts won't be a problem in my future.
In my part of the world, rain is a very big part of life. I feel that
anything that holds water, such as the joint between anything exposed
to water, is a problem in the making.
Ben Gold wrote:
Content-Type: text/x-vcard; charset=utf-8;
note;quoted-printable:There are 10 types of people in the world, those that
understand binary, and those that don't!
The best material to use is a layer of elastomeric roofing membrane,
more commonly known as ice and water barrier. Its use extends not only
to roofs, where it is used one everything from flashing to chimneys,
but also to carpentry and framing, where it is used around windows and
under mudsills for the same reason as your stairs.
This material is a fairly thick rubbery membrane, imperivous to water,
with an extremely sticky coating on one side. Once you stick it down,
it is nearly impossible to reposition. You should lay the membrane
down in a strip where the stringers will fall.
On the last building I put up, we used a foam product that came in
rolls 6" wide. Laid it on the slab, and just puched the lag bolts
through it. Then we put on a pressure-treated sill plate, bolted it
down, and nailed the framed walls onto the plate. It wasn't strictly
necessary for code compliance, but it seemed like a fine idea.
FWIW, I've put in several sets of deck stairs that were just regular
treated lumber screwed to treated 4 x 4's that were set directly into
concrete footings, and they've all lasted for many years. As long as
you take care of the steps (put a sealer on them every year or two),
they should be fine.
Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
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