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Deck stairs

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I inspected a house yesterday with a new deck, permitted construction. The stairs end on the ground with no masonry pad, just a block of wood. Otherwise they are well attached to the deck with modern brackets. Is a pad required at the base of the steps or is that just considered good building practice. I know that when I installed a front porch on my house 3 yrs ago the town required a pad.

I'm recommending they put it in anyway to protect the base of the steps.

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If the deck is attached to the house the stair stringers need footings that extend below the frost line.

At the bottom or where they meet the deck? No one in this area puts footings at the base of the stairs, commonly a concrete slab. At my porch the base of the stairs rest on 1 1/2" thick bluestones on top of 4" to 5"of compacted quarry process. They have not moved in three plus years.

The pic shows the stairs in question.

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tn_201162514153_wood%20to%20soil%20011.jpg

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If the deck is attached to the house the stair stringers need footings that extend below the frost line.

At the bottom or where they meet the deck?

Wherever they're supported by the earth.

No one in this area puts footings at the base of the stairs, commonly a concrete slab.

Yes, the footings are commonly omitted. That's why I see so many twisted and leaning exterior stairways. If there's a concrete slab there, at least the heaving is uniform and often goes unnoticed.

At my porch the base of the stairs rest on 1 1/2" thick bluestones on top of 4" to 5"of compacted quarry process. They have not moved in three plus years.

Of course they have. They move up & down with the frost. You've probably got good enough drainage under the stone that the movement is minor.

The stairs should have footings. A nice deep layer of gravel and a stone or slab might work adequately, but not as well as footings.

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My reference:

R403.1.4.1 Frost protection. Except where otherwise

protected from frost, foundation walls, piers and other

permanent supports of buildings and structures shall be

protected from frost by one or more of the following

methods:

1. Extended below the frost line specified in Table

R301.2.(1);

2. Constructing in accordance with Section R403.3;

3. Constructing in accordance with ASCE 32; or

4. Erected on solid rock.

Exceptions 2 & 3 have to do with frost protected shallow foundations. They don't apply to stairways.

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Click on the "Library" tab above, then "Porches, Decks & Balconies".

The second listing is a very comprehensive guide on deck construction, based on the IRC.

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I see it, but again, knowing it's wrong, no one foots the stairs around here and the muni inspectors don't bring it up. As I had mentioned with my own stairs they only asked for a concrete pad, which looks like crap so they okayed the bluestone application. It's as good or better than the concrete as far as durability. Unfortunately a tree service backed a giant chipper over one of the stones and cracked it, but it did not push it down more than 1/8 of an inch.

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I see it, but again, knowing it's wrong, no one foots the stairs around here and the muni inspectors don't bring it up. As I had mentioned with my own stairs they only asked for a concrete pad, which looks like crap so they okayed the bluestone application. It's as good or better than the concrete as far as durability. Unfortunately a tree service backed a giant chipper over one of the stones and cracked it, but it did not push it down more than 1/8 of an inch.

No one foots the stairs around here either and the muni inspectors don't bring it up -- on single-family residential. On multi-family and commercial buildings, they put down footings that look like they could hold up the Empire State Building. Since I do a lot of work with larger multi-family projects, it just looks wrong to me to not have footings.

When I see stair stringers resting in a small pad or stone that's placed over gravel, I don't say a thing as long as it all looks straight & level. However, when I see the crap that's in your picture, I recommend what I consider to be the right way to fix it.

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