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wood steps sank in grass

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Aug 04, 2013, 11:17 AM
artie137
wood steps sank in grass
Hello friends. I have two steps about 16 feet wide in which the bottom step sank into the grass. They are 20 plus years old and now slant towards the backyard. the angle is slight but I feel uncomfortable walking down them. Is there any way I could lift the steps up and place pavers under the stair treads. (they were never put in place when the deck was built.) I am an older women and don't have much upper body strength I appreciate your help in advance.
Aug 04, 2013, 01:17 PM
Sparky617
I would "phone a friend" but definitely this is something that should be relatively easy to fix. You'll want a couple 12x12 concrete patio pavers or bricks to rest the stringer on once you raise it up.

You'll need to dig around the stringer to make room for the paver. Raise the steps until level and then place the paver between the bottom of the stringers and the ground.


General Disclaimer

Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
Aug 04, 2013, 03:07 PM
GardenSprite
Just to clarify...the step is 16 feet, not 16 inches, wide?

Is anything else in that area sinking, and do you have any indication why the bottom step sunk? I'm wondering if there's a soil issue.

Given that you're an older woman (as am I), if you can afford it you might also want to consider adding hand rails for extra support.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
Aug 04, 2013, 05:30 PM
Sparky617
With only two steps, I don't doubt the 16' width. It is/was fairly typical for the steps to rest on the ground with no footers especially if there are only two steps. At 16' there will be multiple stringers, probably every 3'.


General Disclaimer

Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
Aug 04, 2013, 06:27 PM
GardenSprite
Sparky, thanks for the explanation. Thinking it over, I can now picture the steps. I was thinking in terms of what's standard here.
Aug 05, 2013, 09:25 AM
artie137
There are 10 stringers. (5 and 5) I started digging out 5. Previously I have been washing my deck which 20 by 16 so the ground is moist and clay. The entire bottom step sank into the ground about 2 inches. To day I am going to continue digging with a hand spade since it is a small opening, The clay is acting like a suction cup so I am hoping to get more freedom of movement to level the step. My thought is to get a lever of some kind to raise it up so I can put pavers under each stringer. Any ideas of what to use for the lever?
Aug 05, 2013, 09:49 AM
redoverfarm
To allow a little more digging room I would first pry the steps up and put temporary blocks at a location which you are not going to dig. Just start at one end and move down the length say every 4 feet or so. I generally use a digging iron to pry similarly. Sometimes it helps to use a heal(wood block) under the iron for more leverage. If you do not have a digging iron you can use a piece of 2" iron or galvanized pipe in it's place. Another idea is to use a automobile "bumper jack" under the front edge of the stairs. There shouldn't be that much weight so I doubt that it will be that difficult to gently pry the steps. It is difficult to determine how much soil to remove in this approach so pick up a little bit of sand to fill in the dug out area and help level the pavers to the correct heigth. Good Luck
Aug 05, 2013, 10:13 AM
artie137
interestingly I have one of those tools! did not know what it was called. I gave it a quick try with a cement block and I got half of the 5 foot span free. I think I will have to wait for my daughter to get up to slide the temporary blocks underneath a section so I can work on the stringers. I will take your suggestion and buy some sand to help level. Thanks so much for your quick replies. I let you know how it goes.
Oct 21, 2013, 02:52 PM
swschrad
in finland, they raise spammers, not steps Wink

you can temporarily block up every other stringer while you scrape the ground and put in concrete supports. then do the others. using a 4 or 8 foot level (or get a real nice, straight 2x4 and tape a level to it) will help keep it all straight and solid when you take out the jacks and let the stairs down for the last time.


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