Help please -- need staircase ideas for paver patio

clermont_ohioSeptember 30, 2013

Had landscaper out to plan and quote a paver patio (dark line is rough boundary -- an oval shape with max dimensions 20'x22'). Landscaper proposes patio to be about at the level of the grass, which is what we desire and it also prevents need for retaining wall. But we are struggling with the staircase. The threshold is 35" above grass. With an 8" rise that means 4-5 steps. There are weep holes below the sliding door. Also note the sliding door is recessed behind the edge of the brick. Because landscaper doesn't want to interfere with drainage/ventilation, he proposes steps of natural stone. Not exactly the look we want, and the run on the stones is 1.5-2 feet each, which will take up enormous real estate on the patio. We want a paver look or even a concrete look would be OK. We are undecided on a narrow straight staircase vs a wide one that spans both halves of the sliding door vs one that is narrow at the top and widens at the bottom. We would prefer the top step be flush with the threshold but it's OK if top step is just a few inches below threshold (a standard rise there would be very awkward). Can anyone suggest anything either in terms of aesthetics or design such that it takes into account the weep holes and recessed door frame?

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Have you considered wood patio steps? The risers on a wooden steps are easier to adjust or modify on account of the recessed door frame and they can be fashioned in such a way the steps won't be blocking the weep holes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Patio Creations

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 11:41PM
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Our situation was a bit different but hopefully I can offer suggestions based on our situation.

Local building code required steps onto the lawn from the house for an occupancy permit. They're concrete and we built over them with what you see in the link. Our specific concerns were safety while transporting items in/out of the house. And we had an elderly relative for whom stairs were dangerous.

So, we built an Egress Porch (really a small deck) over the existing steps, level with the threshold. This provides secure footing while opening the door. Then we choose landing style steps for easily providing assistance to someone in need.

If you were to consider a small deck it would provide the security at your door like I mentioned, leave the weep holes open and could still become the 1st step. Other steps could be pavers on concrete to match the patio. Hopefully your patio could be enlarged a few square feet to recover the space necessary for the steps.

Hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our Egress Porch

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 11:18AM
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I've linked some photos below that should give you some ideas on design. Personally, I'd run the steps the full length of the door, and maybe beyond if you intend to put in a handrail.
Since you have two levels at the doorway, with the brick and door frame, I'd be inclined to place the top step (or a landing) even with the doorway.
I agree with the suggestion to have wood steps. If you want them to blend in with the stone, then paint or stain them to match.

Also, lay out a design of what you plan to place on the patio and make sure it all fits. Will you have furniture, a fire-pit, grill, etc.? Now is the time to make sure you build the patio large enough for everything.

Here is a link that might be useful: Patios

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 10:30PM
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Hire a designer because the contractor clearly isn't one. And steps can be built of segmental retaining wall blocks to be totally independent of the house with an air gap between steps and house, just know it's more costly

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 8:17AM
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Thanks for the suggestions thus far. We were trying to avoid decking of all forms since for one thing it triggers permits/inspections.

Marcinde, can you share a link of a photo of what you're describing?

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 8:47PM
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Keep in mind, at 35", you will need a handrail. I didn't have one on my front stoop, which is only 28". My homeowners insurance did one of these visits, and made me get one, or they would drop me.

I do believe code requires one @ 32". At least they did about 15 yrs ago, and I'm sure it's changed since then.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 10:24PM
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