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Wormdrive Operator
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey guys,

Have an upcoming build of a deck about 18' wide x 12' deep. At 12' out, the deck will probably be about 14" high or more, requiring most likely a single step. He wants it to run the whole length of the deck (18' long).

Over 18' the ground is undoubtedly uneven.

I see my options as follows, and I hope you can chime in with how you would go about this.

1) Pour an 18' long slab for the step to sit on. Not ideal I think.

2) Do a 'floating step'. Using 2x8, build it deeper than needs to be (2-3 times deeper) and extend it under the deck itself and anchor it up tight with brackets. Possibly more expensive than it needs to be because of the extra wood and anchor cost.

3) Do a series of small slabs or patio stones spaced apart along the length for support.

Never had to do a single step this long before. Thanks
 

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Premium Member
Retired deck builder
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Attach a double nailer under rim joist, build box step out of 2x6 & fasten to it. You'll have to add footings every 5-6'. If that's the side rainwater will drain make sure you don't block the flow of water.
 

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General Contractor
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I guess abortions in Canada also a common thing :laughing:
 

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Remodel
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I'd think twice about supporting it with concrete if you get frost heave, otherwise you're talking 4-5 feet down so they don't move. Maybe ladder frame it with 2X, and put the tread on.
 

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How exactly do you mean ladder frame?
Similar to your first photo, but you can think of it as a small stand alone deck frame when you're building it. Build it in front of the deck, slide it under and up in place when it's nailed or screwed together, and use hangers to attach. It's easy to do if the deck is cantilevered some.

The pad option is also a good one for where you are if the soil and drainage avoids frost heave. There was one done on pads a few miles from here that the soil and drainage were not suitable, and it ripped the steps off - something like 3 inches of vertical movement compared to the deck piers, which were below the frost line.
 

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Wormdrive Operator
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Similar to your first photo, but you can think of it as a small stand alone deck frame when you're building it. Build it in front of the deck, slide it under and up in place when it's nailed or screwed together, and use hangers to attach. It's easy to do if the deck is cantilevered some.

The pad option is also a good one for where you are if the soil and drainage avoids frost heave. There was one done on pads a few miles from here that the soil and drainage were not suitable, and it ripped the steps off - something like 3 inches of vertical movement compared to the deck piers, which were below the frost line.
The deck wont be cantilevered, the beam will most likely be flush.

Might just be easiest and to avoid the frost heave to auger some extra holes where the stair will go and drop posts in much like a fence post and fill with concrete. Attach the box step to the deck rim and to these posts, then cut them flush.

Thanks all for the great responses.
 

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The deck wont be cantilevered, the beam will most likely be flush.

Might just be easiest and to avoid the frost heave to auger some extra holes where the stair will go and drop posts in much like a fence post and fill with concrete. Attach the box step to the deck rim and to these posts, then cut them flush.

Thanks all for the great responses.
You may be able to just dig out 1-2 feet down where the pads will go and put in packed gravel. Most places here that would be safe to do. I think you know more about frost heaves and soil where you are, but around here they tend to be from the top foot of loam or gravel that has loam in it. The worst cases usually are where there is moisture wicking / holding soil and restricted runoff, like at the inside corner of a "L" with a relatively high water table.

I'm not sure what your codes are - around here, current code in some jurisdictions may require the step to be on a cement pad - the way I read it is it would have to be continuous for the 18' length. If that's the case, you'd just have to dig down some, fill for drainage and compact - you really wouldn't have a choice.

Long story short, I'm inclined toward putting pads on packed gravel.
 

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You may be able to just dig out 1-2 feet down where the pads will go and put in packed gravel. Most places here that would be safe to do. I think you know more about frost heaves and soil where you are, but around here they tend to be from the top foot of loam or gravel that has loam in it. The worst cases usually are where there is moisture wicking / holding soil and restricted runoff, like at the inside corner of a "L" with a relatively high water table.

I'm not sure what your codes are - around here, current code in some jurisdictions may require the step to be on a cement pad - the way I read it is it would have to be continuous for the 18' length. If that's the case, you'd just have to dig down some, fill for drainage and compact - you really wouldn't have a choice.

Long story short, I'm inclined toward putting pads on packed gravel.

Follow his advice.
 

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Forming and Framing
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I did a deck last year c/w planter boxes. I essentially suspended them like you pictured. They came out 4' and bounced maybe 1/4" when i was on the very end. I too was concerned about the possibility of supporting it from below and then having the frost heave it.
 

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We build floating steps all the time here in FL, at the end of boat docks, so at low tide you can step out of the boat then on to the dock, we use the #2 method, all wood with a triangled braceing.
 
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