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Pyramidal Concrete Steps

 
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Old 10-19-2008, 09:08 PM   #1
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Pyramidal Concrete Steps


Admittedly, concrete formwork represents the biggest void in my construction knowledge, but I'm trying to get more familiar so as to serve clients better.

I need to build a small concrete staircase to a patio 3 feet below. 6' X 3' landing at top of steps. 11" treads and 7" risers. The steps need to wrap around all three sides of landing, looking like a step pyramid. Can anyone provide instruction on how to forms these steps, or direct me toward literature that will demonstrate.

I was going to rip 2X8 stock to the proper height and form the landing first, supported by vertical stakes. Then install similar riser forms for the second riser from the top in the same fashion, again supported by vertical stakes. Repeat the process until the lowest riser forms are in and staked. Finally run a 2x4 strongback up the middle of each side to prevent bowing.

What I'm not sure about is how to commence the pour. When/How to remove the vertical stakes to finish treads. Normally I would let concrete set a bit and remove the riser forms and trowel the face of the risers. If I let this set to that point, then won't I have a bugger of a time removing the stakes without destoying the steps? If I remove them earlier then I'd assume the steps will sag.

Please help enlighten me.
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Old 10-19-2008, 09:13 PM   #2
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Re: Pyramidal Concrete Steps


Look on the concrete network and see if they have examples you might like. There are a bunch of ways to get there....my own is to use stringers for forms, and instead of treads, use the verticals to form the step. They are self supporting, and if you bevel the vertical boards on the bottom, you can trowel out the steps and not end up stripping too soon...make sense?

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Old 10-19-2008, 09:30 PM   #3
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Re: Pyramidal Concrete Steps


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Originally Posted by joasis View Post
Look on the concrete network and see if they have examples you might like. There are a bunch of ways to get there....my own is to use stringers for forms, and instead of treads, use the verticals to form the step. They are self supporting, and if you bevel the vertical boards on the bottom, you can trowel out the steps and not end up stripping too soon...make sense?
I've done this before for a normal set of concrete steps with steps running in a single direction, but this set has steps going in all three directions like a pyramid. ????
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Old 10-19-2008, 09:52 PM   #4
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Re: Pyramidal Concrete Steps


J's idea still works even with the concrete steps on all three sides, the secret is to know when to pull the stakes without having the risers move and when to strip to finish the face...that's the experience portion.

Sorry I can't tell you when or how to do it, I just know how from doing it...make sense?

The trickiest thing you need to do is cut a reverse stringer for the corners of the steps, even then I would probably just use regular stringers in the extreme corners and stake the risers. Just out of curiousity what are you using for stakes? I use 3/4" round metal stakes, I have seen some guys use 2x2's which can make a mess when removing, something to keep in mind.
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Old 10-19-2008, 09:55 PM   #5
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Re: Pyramidal Concrete Steps


I re read my post and forgot to say reversed. My bad. To me, radius steps are the most difficult, but these are pretty simple when you see it in your mind how the form will be.

Think about each side independently.....the stringers are spaced for the top of the box...3 pairs. Now going down, the riser boards, beveled, will run long, past the stringers and can be tied at the corner...same next step down. The stringers next to the building are anchored or staked, and the whole form then becomes self supporting.
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Last edited by Joasis; 10-19-2008 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 10-19-2008, 10:34 PM   #6
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Re: Pyramidal Concrete Steps


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J's idea still works even with the concrete steps on all three sides, the secret is to know when to pull the stakes without having the risers move and when to strip to finish the face...that's the experience portion.

Sorry I can't tell you when or how to do it, I just know how from doing it...make sense?

The trickiest thing you need to do is cut a reverse stringer for the corners of the steps, even then I would probably just use regular stringers in the extreme corners and stake the risers. Just out of curiousity what are you using for stakes? I use 3/4" round metal stakes, I have seen some guys use 2x2's which can make a mess when removing, something to keep in mind.
Oh, so you are suggesting the use of regular stringers set out to the farthest edges of the lowest stair. Run forms for eastward facing risers between those, then attach forms for northward and southward facing risers perpendicular to the first riser forms and tie the other ends into the house?

After adding a few strongbacks, that sounds like it would work just fine. Thanks.

I usually use metal stakes on walkways and other short forms. I don't have any that are tall enough to use for a 4' tall patio.
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Old 10-19-2008, 10:40 PM   #7
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Re: Pyramidal Concrete Steps


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Originally Posted by joasis View Post
I re read my post and forgot to say reversed. My bad. To me, radius steps are the most difficult, but these are pretty simple when you see it in your mind how the form will be.

Think about each side independently.....the stringers are spaced for the top of the box...3 pairs. Now going down, the riser boards, beveled, will run long, past the stringers and can be tied at the corner...same next step down. The stringers next to the building are anchored or staked, and the whole form then becomes self supporting.
The reverse stringer makes more sense.

One more thing. I frequently see subs leave an opening in the garage floor where the concrete steps will be. I've had people ask why, but I don't know the answer. Why would they do that?
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Old 10-19-2008, 10:47 PM   #8
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Re: Pyramidal Concrete Steps


You got it, it's hard to explain, but essentially you are building a staircase in reverse or a mirror I guess, it's formwork.

Buy some long stakes, cost is about $ 2.80 pc. for 4', there worth it.

Don't forget what J says, bevel the riser board so when troweling prior to striping the forms you get a nice clean edge where the tread meets the riser...it will be too late or hard to fix after you strip the forms to finish the riser...(That's the experience part..hahaha)
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Old 10-19-2008, 10:51 PM   #9
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Re: Pyramidal Concrete Steps


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The reverse stringer makes more sense.

One more thing. I frequently see subs leave an opening in the garage floor where the concrete steps will be. I've had people ask why, but I don't know the answer. Why would they do that?

Depending on budget and the builder, etc, etc. leaving the area open allows you to add 'fill' material prior to pour so not as much concrete is needed, fill can normally be found on site left over from something else, concrete is $ 150.00 yrd +/-.

I have had some builders and engineers tell me to fill with solid concrete, last time I did that I 'wasted' (in my opinion) over $ 2500.00 for concrete, there was a ton of fill material on site we could have put in and compacted, but who am I to argue.
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Old 10-20-2008, 12:42 AM   #10
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Re: Pyramidal Concrete Steps


hate to say it meh friend butif you take this project on wit the questions you're asking, it's gonnaget ugly! How you getting away with 7" risers when 8" the norm? bevellin the bottoms, putting diesel fuel on the insides of the forms, doubleeheaded 16's. Never lock your boards in with nails and never kick off unstable stakes. On wide steps it's sometimes better to pin inside the form, beat out once you know it's halfway solid. first chance to front n' face u better do it and always vibrate those faces wit h a hammer or mallet. get a sponge float and drip a pile so you can work cream to fill in honeycombs. It's cold outside now so don't use calcium in the mix to speed it up. awe damn those days sucked being in concrete. I used to punch customers that calledit cement work. could you come over and give me a price on pouring my cement walk for me. idiots
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Old 10-20-2008, 07:20 AM   #11
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Re: Pyramidal Concrete Steps


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How you getting away with 7" risers when 8" the norm?


I see you're no fan of 2nd-grade 'guzintas'.


(you know, like 7 guzinta 21, 28, or 35 - - and 8 guzinta 24, 32 or 40, - - and other seemingly irrelevant application factors of such tedious dimension) . . .

Last edited by Tom R; 10-20-2008 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:22 AM   #12
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Re: Pyramidal Concrete Steps


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Depending on budget and the builder, etc, etc. leaving the area open allows you to add 'fill' material prior to pour so not as much concrete is needed, fill can normally be found on site left over from something else, concrete is $ 150.00 yrd +/-.

I have had some builders and engineers tell me to fill with solid concrete, last time I did that I 'wasted' (in my opinion) over $ 2500.00 for concrete, there was a ton of fill material on site we could have put in and compacted, but who am I to argue.
LOL, my concrete is $86/yd including fees, but your point is well taken. 1" aggregate is $10.50/ton so obviously much cheaper.

But why does the spot have to be left open to use fill. For example, the last one I saw, the builder just built an OSB box under the landing. I'm not seeing why that would require an open area, but maybe I'm missing something.

Last edited by Cache; 10-20-2008 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:31 AM   #13
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Re: Pyramidal Concrete Steps


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hate to say it meh friend butif you take this project on wit the questions you're asking, it's gonnaget ugly! How you getting away with 7" risers when 8" the norm? bevellin the bottoms, putting diesel fuel on the insides of the forms, doubleeheaded 16's. Never lock your boards in with nails and never kick off unstable stakes. On wide steps it's sometimes better to pin inside the form, beat out once you know it's halfway solid. first chance to front n' face u better do it and always vibrate those faces wit h a hammer or mallet. get a sponge float and drip a pile so you can work cream to fill in honeycombs. It's cold outside now so don't use calcium in the mix to speed it up. awe damn those days sucked being in concrete. I used to punch customers that calledit cement work. could you come over and give me a price on pouring my cement walk for me. idiots
I'm not doing this myself, but I don't want to be a complete useless idiot either. That's kinda why I'm asking here. The other reason I'm asking here is because I see a lot of strange practices here. I'm a bit confused about your 8" riser statement. I rarely see 8" risers. They are almost always 7-7.5". ????

http://www.concretenetwork.com/stair...ignbasics.html
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Old 10-20-2008, 11:26 AM   #14
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Re: Pyramidal Concrete Steps


Some codes require 7 inches as a maximum, and it works out to be easier on everyone.
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Old 10-20-2008, 12:40 PM   #15
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Re: Pyramidal Concrete Steps


Because when you frontedge a step the finisher by accident always pushes down to get a smooth finish with the edger. that in turn lowers the faced off edge below your initial height amarked off the board height. so when the inspector pulls measurement and you didn't put chamfer strips to the top of a 2by8 you are basically at 7 or below. seen inch or more drop on a step just because some idiot couldn't make the last step work out on a bilevel step setup where one landing and porch, meeting the driveway on a slight slope heading to street. some inspectors are horrible about givin a damn bout theseso we always bumped up since we couldn't control the finished height by going off minimum dimension. its pretty bad when the onlygood concrete contractors have to begged out of bars..or some other terrible situtaion. rough group indeed but the work is hard. glad I'm out hands in the air
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Old 10-20-2008, 01:04 PM   #16
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Re: Pyramidal Concrete Steps


Getting concrete finishers from the local bar, then, is the condensed version of why we're happy you got out of concrete work and any fake semblance of figuring rise-'n-runs for tripping homeowners . . .
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Old 10-20-2008, 01:20 PM   #17
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Re: Pyramidal Concrete Steps


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Getting concrete finishers from the local bar, then, is the condensed version of why we're happy you got out of concrete work and any fake semblance of figuring rise-'n-runs for tripping homeowners . . .

you're good at takin' bait. can't help whats true about the profession of concrete. stampwork didn't change the individual. I did it for 5 years and my work was top notch. That's not what production housing wanted. they wanted slop and speedand minimum standard work. sorry to offend but your wearing it well. its a fact everywhere that concrete work draws the worst to its field. hard life is an understatement.
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Old 10-20-2008, 03:53 PM   #18
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Re: Pyramidal Concrete Steps


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its a fact everywhere that concrete work draws the worst to its field. hard life is an understatement.


Must be that magnetic attraction of yours.

Concrete experts are not only plentiful, - - they know how to base the exact size of their risers according to the height of the deck.

Next time you want to trash a whole trade, - - do it on some basis other than your own shoddy past as a temporary hack with a drinking problem . . .
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Old 10-20-2008, 05:10 PM   #19
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Re: Pyramidal Concrete Steps


Concrete experts loL! I must be one give me the napkin at the bar and i'll write it down to make it offishal. i don't drink but my crew always ended up at a place durin' lunch between pours or in the evening. some guysyou never got around in da [email protected] but please dude don't sugar coat the reality please? hammer nails and wood with some mud to make it good. singit! never knock a tradesmen speakin' truth of statistics relating to the work force, never knock a guy for putting up work that pays attention ot detail and exact measurements. i should go n' take pictures of the crap the majoirty put out and show you what imean about pushing the front's down when rollin' a edge. what's great is all i's got to do is walk on it from here on out. power! Work for architects for 3 years and you'll know aabout these guys and tape measures as a norm, knowin' pours to within 5% margins on waste when they figure walls/suspended slabs stepdowns and who knows what. felt good sellin meh trial machines Yes!
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Old 10-20-2008, 05:33 PM   #20
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Re: Pyramidal Concrete Steps


Enough already. You are a plumber? Let it go at that. Closed.

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