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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So after working in both hardscaping and concrete for awhile I have developed my own way of doing things that works out pretty well.

So I have to build a set of dry stacked bluestone steps, super heavy, but really nice stones.

Anyway, the foundation was backfilled a few months ago with soil, and I wasn't about to build these things on freshly backfilled soil. So I dug down to virgin soil, exposing the footer drain and clean stone in the process, then filled the hole up with clean stone. After tamping I will slap some forms in and build a nice concrete base that is pinned into the wall for the steps, I really don't want them to sink.

The guy that installed the walls showed up today and let everyone know that my way was wrong and that his footer drains will now get overloaded because of the new clean stone letting water in.

Everyone was sort of like this. :blink:

I considered only going down half the distance and using Mirafi Fabric, but I figured for the extra few ton of stone it was worth going all the way down.

What does CT think the best way to do it would be?
 

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Lemonade Salesman
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You did it right. As long as there isn't a downspout dumping right on your stone there won't be a problem. Water should never hit the backfill anyway if the downspouts are done properly. The tile drain system is for high water table or emergency situations. Sleep easy you did it the best way possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Gutters right over top, lot is the highest on the road and downspouts are on the other side.

Probably if the backfill had sat through a winter I would have just used Mirafi, but it was very fresh.

I will have to put up some pictures if I can get my ass in gear and get something done over there soon.
 

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Lemonade Salesman
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I'm betting the OP was contracted to build a set of steps that was done correctly and that will last. Period. How he accomplishes that is his call, because if something were to go wrong with them it would be his name on those steps.

Therefore, sitdwnandhngon, never ever ever place a set of steps on the backfill. I don't care if it's five years old, ten years old or 50. That soil takes a long time to settle to a compaction rating suitable to support a load. You could have bored down to virgin soil and poured a pillar and pad system to set your blue stone steps on, or you could re-excavate and provide a stable base for them. Your method will work perfectly.

Tile drain/footer drain is always (read should be) installed as a fail safe. The primary water diversion should first be provided by gutters and spouts if there are any. The secondary diversion will be grade and landscaping. I've seen hundreds of clay bank basements under houses without gutters and they stayed bone dry. This was due to proper grade and landscaping. No amount of tile/footer drain can make up for a lack of adequate above ground diversion.

The wall contractor has a right to be concerned but you did the proper thing in order to support the steps. The water diversion is not a concern of yours or of the wall contractors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Then why did they backfill without letting you put your pad in?

This is what I usually do or on new construction the builder adds those walls to the poured foundation.

I asked the same thing.

Same reason the plans called for veneer, yet they didn't pour a brick ledge either.

Lack of foresight I guess, and failure to contact someone ahead of time.

I got called well after that phase.
 

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Renaissance Man
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How far down we talking? Why not post holes down to undisturbed soil and a slab base? Probably also could of dug it halfway down and jumping jacked the chit out it and then the clean stone. Better yet, some concrete washout from the local plant usually sells cheap and packs down like no other. Here it's only 6 bucks a ton vs. 25 for clean 3/4.
 
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