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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been on a string of brick steps recently with more to do in a couple of weeks. To me steps are tedious and boring mostly because they take a while to do and because of all the masonry filler that goes into each step. Does everyone here fill steps with masonry block and brick? There has to be a better way that is just as stable and enduring.

Attached is a picture to show you what i am talking about. This step is full of 6" block and queen size brick. The ugly concrete will soon be covered with pavers.

Just looking for ideas to speed things up.

Tim

I threw in another picture or 2 of the project just for fun.
 

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Correct me if I'm wrong, is that a 4x4 substructure with durarock laid as underlayment?

If so, man that won't even hold tile in place, moreless pavers.

Bob
 
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I saw that too, Glasshouse. I'm thinking that this is just the decking for a cement slab to be poured over top and overhang the brick out at the edge. Traditionally, we'd use corrugated steel for that, but I suppose cement board would work too. Not sure. Strange.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Glasshousebltr said:
Correct me if I'm wrong, is that a 4x4 substructure with durarock laid as underlayment?

If so, man that won't even hold tile in place, moreless pavers.

Bob
The 4x4's are for supporting the steel decking. (you can see the first few sheets thrown down, they come in 3'x20 sections and are 22mil) I then poured a reinforced 4" slab over the piers 4x4s and steel decking. (you can see the edge of it in the step pic) This provides the underlayment for my 2.25" paver bricks.

Should of explained I guess. The cross pieces in the 4x4 framing I just threw in there to be sure. The engineered specs said that 5.5' was the max span for the concrete.

Does that make sense?

I guess i should say that this project is simply raising the patio to the threshold height of the screened in porch, throwing up 2 brick walls, building steps and putting down pavers. Wrought iron will go surround the edges to meet code.

Tim
 

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Lukachuki,
If its not too late to make changes. Listen to this:
Step back about 35 feet from the house and notice that the house needs something to balance out the nice brickwork and color of the roof shingles. You need something differant in the appearance of the steps to accomplish this. I had a masonary contractor tear out my concrete steps and he used cinder block and brick for the sides and the front facing part of the steps. He then installed Pennsylvania bluestone for the steps. On the top tier, he installed bluestone around the perimeter and in the center, he used some type of flat decorative quarry stone to dress it up. The quarry stone takes up an area of about 2 -1/2 foot by 3 foot. It looks really nice. It may be worth a look if you can search the net and find a supplyer of the stone. Pennsylvania bluestone may need to be cleaned, sealed and stained as in my case, thats what I had to do to hide a stain that was bleeding through. This all was done two years ago and the masonary stain is holding up terrific. You should be able to match the color of the roof shingles to the stain of your choice. From your picture, it appears the the roof shingles are black. Now the exterior appearance of the house is in balance. Pennsylvania bluestone is calcium carbonate based and you must not ever use acid to clean it or it will etch. I highly recommend to use at least a sealer on this type of stone as it is porous. I used a dark grey stain and it looks good even though my roof shingles are black.
 

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OK Lucka, go tear it all out and install bluestone.:cheesygri

It does look like it needs somthing to dress it up. I vote for a poted plant.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Glasshousebltr said:
OK Lucka, go tear it all out and install bluestone.:cheesygri

It does look like it needs somthing to dress it up. I vote for a poted plant.

Bob
Well if i new what a poted plant was I could consider it. :cheesygri :cheesygri As to the look, if it were my house I would tend to agree as what i am doing is a bit pedestrian, but the owners insist so I am happy to oblige. Actually the wrought iron should help considerably as well. I just want to get the project done. I had to fire my employees halfway through this thing and I am the only one working on it so it is dragging out and I have jobs piling up like crazy. So no changes or even hint of change.

Fortunately I have a large orange employee who gives me no problems and is able to help out considerably even though he isn't the brightest.

Do you have pics Mr. rjordan3...? What you are talking about sounds nice.

Tim
 

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Masonary Steps

Lukachuki,
I'll take a few pictures and see if I can send them as an attachment. I never sent an attachment but my photo software may give me the instructions on how to do it.
Ok, I cannot find info on what steps to take to send attachments. But see my private message and I'll send copies by email.
 

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Looks nice so far Luk. What kind of pattern are running with the pavers. I've never done anything of that size for patios. Most of the stuff I do steps wise and pavers wise is on the ground, or steps going into the house with herring bone patters. But I do find it tedious(sp) and boring as well. I'd rather be on the scaffolding laying brick or stone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
6stringmason said:
Looks nice so far Luk. What kind of pattern are running with the pavers. I've never done anything of that size for patios. Most of the stuff I do steps wise and pavers wise is on the ground, or steps going into the house with herring bone patters. But I do find it tedious(sp) and boring as well. I'd rather be on the scaffolding laying brick or stone.
Yeah I hear ya,

The customer want 45 degree herringbone. I plan on gluing to the concrete and then mortaring in like tile. 1000 times faster than hand mortaring every brick. You just have to get the concrete right.

You have any tricks for steps 6string i find those tedious and wish I new some tricks to speed it up.

Thank
Tim
 

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Lukachuki,
It looks like I was successful as the uploading screen appeared and it took about 30 minutes to upload the pictures. Check your email. I sent an email request to Compuserve on how to upload files to a forum as part of a reply with attachments.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
rjordan392 said:
Lukachuki,
It looks like I was successful as the uploading screen appeared and it took about 30 minutes to upload the pictures. Check your email. I sent an email request to Compuserve on how to upload files to a forum as part of a reply with attachments.

Thanks Rjordan,

I'll reply over here and post your pics. I'm pretty sure that your problem with uploading is that you have to get the pictures under 100k the ones you sent me were over 800k. I use a freeware program called irfan view to batch process photos. www.irfanview.com is the link I can resize hundreds of pictures in under a minute using its batch processing feature you might want to play with it and figure it out it will help you post attachements.

The steps look real nice. My only comment is that the height (rise) looks really tall. 8' i believe is about the max at which they feel comfortable, but they do look nice just not proportional.

Tim
 

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Masonary Steps

Lukachuki,
The step rise is a total 8 inches. The height of the brick lay is 6 inches and the Pennsylvania bluestone is 2 inches thick. Using bluestone for the steps should save some considerable time. When you get some time, check the nearest dealer or quarry for a first hand look.
 

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lukachuki said:
You have any tricks for steps 6string i find those tedious and wish I new some tricks to speed it up.

Thank
Tim
Lukachuki.

Your initial question I believe, concerned the back filling needed to hold up the tread. Many times I would use a stabilized sand mix to backfill after building the perimeter, and mud my cap to that. Work out well if there was a lot of steps going in. Just a few, I would use whatever was at hand that would work.
JVC
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
jvcstone said:
Lukachuki.

Your initial question I believe, concerned the back filling needed to hold up the tread. Many times I would use a stabilized sand mix to backfill after building the perimeter, and mud my cap to that. Work out well if there was a lot of steps going in. Just a few, I would use whatever was at hand that would work.
JVC
Thanks JVC for the real answer to my question. :Thumbs: Can you tell me what stabilized sand mix is exactly I don't understand. Do you stabilize it with portland cement or something?

By the way nice steps. As well, good to see a stone mason here keeping an eye on us.

Tim
 

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lukachuki said:
Do you stabilize it with portland cement or something?

Tim
Exactly right. Pretty lean mix --5 or 6 shovels of sand to one of portland, and just enough water to set off the reaction. You want to be able to squeeze it into a ball that will easily crumble again. Tamp it in with the head of a rake or hoe. Can lay right on it, or if you have the time, let it set up a bit.
JVC
 

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Hey Luk,
I pretty much use the same method as jvcstone. I use a filler that sets up fast or that I can lay on right away. As far as doing the steps like yours are I havent done anything that size yet. All my jobs are houses with a halfmoon step only about 7"-8" high. And thats usually on a porch so I just have the one step to do going in main door. Wish I could help you out more. Good luck. Where do you live again by the way?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
6stringmason said:
Hey Luk,
I pretty much use the same method as jvcstone. I use a filler that sets up fast or that I can lay on right away. As far as doing the steps like yours are I havent done anything that size yet. All my jobs are houses with a halfmoon step only about 7"-8" high. And thats usually on a porch so I just have the one step to do going in main door. Wish I could help you out more. Good luck. Where do you live again by the way?
Wow, now that sounds easy and is exactly what I was looking for. How does stabilized sand hold up over the long term? I have been using exclusively masonry filler for my steps and they are built like tanks and as such last real well. Just curious if I can expect longevity with this stuff as that is important to me.

By the way I live in Aiken SC. I just hired my first full time mason yesterday, which is a first for me. He happens to have 18 years experience to my 5 & 20 years older as well. I need to find time to go and read all the good info in the business forum.

Tim
 

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Well I'm only 28 and so far all of my steps have held lol. It will last a long time as far as I know. I do put little weep holes in a few spots at the base of mine as well for a just in case thing. Congrats on your first full time hiring as well. I have a fellow with about 30 yrs exp who works for me and he a great mason. Know alot of little tricks that I thought I knew but he knows better. I find its always good to surround yourself with people just as smart or smarter than you. Unlike the tender I've got working for me... but I dont even want to open that can of worms right now :D :D
 

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I'm not good with who said what, but the "on topic" message is really about an economical sub-strate for your work.

Many good thoughts, and I'd like to throw in a couple of pennies.

A cementicious material is best. Sandy materials suffer from capillary action, drawing up water and then draining the material out. Clayey materials are better. However, portland cement based mixtures can be used with the materials you have on the job, including earth, and resist moisture. Not only could you use a lean sand and cement mix, you could even mix portland with earth to achieve good results. Much of this depends upon the amount of water added, and making the effort to compact the material in lifts.

You all know why tile backer board is portland cement based, including green board.

BTW, nice pics of good looking work.
 
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