Return to the Building a Home Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Oh no! Another grading and step problem to solve.. please help.

Posted by OntarioMom (My Page) on
Sun, Nov 17, 13 at 12:23

We seem to have another problem to solve. We are installing natural stone steps (4 plus a landing step with each step being approx 7 1/2 inch thick) up to our front door. The footings were poured Saturday, and the contractor was due to return Monday to build the concrete block stringers. Problem is the grade in the area is problematic and so far no good solution has been proposed. The problem seems to be the man door was installed too low and in order to fit the steps in and have an acceptable grade at the base of the stairs and outside the man door we need to find a solution. The best solution may be to raise the man door, but ouch that will be costly. Can anyone advice how bad of a job that would be? I feel sick over this problem. Below are some photos and steps measurements. Thanks for any help.

Carol

Here are some photos as well as the landscape design photographed for reference.

 photo 2013_11170006_zps840d3a9c.jpg

 photo 2013_11170007_zps5a77ba24.jpg

 photo 2013_11170008_zps2f67a666.jpg

 photo 2013_11170009_zps061adc8b.jpg

 photo stepbystep_zpsb518deb8.jpg


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Oh no! Another grading and step problem to solve.. please he

Do you have to step UP from the open door to get into the garage? That doesn't even look right, it seems to be IN the foundation.


 o
RE: Oh no! Another grading and step problem to solve.. please he

No we don't have to step up to get into the garage. When the garage foundation was poured an opening was placed for the future door to be installed. Is it not normal to have a foundation wall opening for a door? There is dirt washing under the door under the metal sill due to the grading issues that we thought would be corrected when front was re-graded.

Could we lower the height of the door a few inches and re-install it or another door higher in the opening without doing any damage to the brick? Is there a code that disallows a door from being 2 inches shorter than standard? I am not all that thrilled with this solution, but it does seem worth consideration.

Carol


 o
RE: Oh no! Another grading and step problem to solve.. please he

I don't understand how you could not have to step up to get into the garage? Can you post of picture with the man door open?


 o
RE: Oh no! Another grading and step problem to solve.. please he

I would think that the lower door is sitting on the floor. -So if you are having to raise it that would indicate that the outside grade would be higher than the floor?

Raising the door may not be that bad of job but keeping it from leaking may be harder. It will be difficult to fill in below the door and get a perfect water tight seal.

A secondary door I believe can be shorter than 78" but I have never done that so check with the building official.


 o
RE: Oh no! Another grading and step problem to solve.. please he

I don't understand how you could not have to step up to get into the garage? Can you post of picture with the man door open?


 o
RE: Oh no! Another grading and step problem to solve.. please he

What is the difference you need to make up? 2"?

My first thought was to add a stair...reduce the top slab length to 39 from 48, increase the overhang by 1/2" on each stair (reducing tread width to 11"),which would give you 11" room at the bottom for another step, reducing your overall grade to about 7" lower.

I realize cutting a giant flagstone slab probably doesn't qualify as trivial or cheap...

I'm also wondering if there's some way you can cheat your rise just a LITTLE taller with your flagstone stairs....I have no idea how this could be accomplished, but you only need to get less than 1/2" per stair on average and this might put you still within Canadian code.


 o
RE: Oh no! Another grading and step problem to solve.. please he

Thanks everyone for the input. The difference we need to make up is around 6 inches. We can't easily add another step as there is not room. I do think our best bet is going to be calling the mason back to see if he can remove and then re-install the brick over the door so the door can be raised by the framer. We have several rows of brick left over, so no problem there. We have room inside the garage to raise it around 4 1/2 inches. Chris, I am not exactly sure how the final outside grade and garage floor will end up. Right now they are about the same. Here are some photos. Excuse the mess, but we are under construction. You will be able to see that lots of dirt finds it way under the metal door sill.

This is just one of many mistakes in our build. Building is never perfect and certainly not cheap. I just want it corrected. Just wish before we bricked or even better poured garage foundation walls I knew what I know now.

Please let me know what you think. Has anyone successfully removed and replaced brick? Any suggestions on that process. What should be sure to do when raising the foundation wall a bit under the raised door.

Carol

 photo 2013_11170011_zps33581fa0.jpg

 photo 2013_11170010_zps749f6881.jpg


 o
RE: Oh no! Another grading and step problem to solve.. please he

Robotropolis,

I think, if I've understood your idea correctly you are suggesting we reduce the depth of the slab landing so we can add another step. This idea would likely work and I appreciate your thoughtful idea. However, I really don't want to skimp more on the landing depth. It is not that generous as it is is. The slab has been cut and it may be hard to saw it to the smaller size on site. Also, we got these steps from a Quarry over 3 hours away so getting another step delivered, or replacing the slab if it cracks is not at all simple.

Carol


 o
RE: Oh no! Another grading and step problem to solve.. please he

I do not think that raising the door is particularly complicated. The masons will be able to fix it easily.
Since it is not finished on the inside the framing will be simple.

I would just say that you really need to make sure you are diverting water away from that area well because it will be hard to get a perfect seal under the door.

Use concrete products made for patches and follow the instructions to help get a better bond.


 o
RE: Oh no! Another grading and step problem to solve.. please he

I've never liked the man door there right by the main entrance. I'd move it to the other side of the garage and create a path for it there. It's a secondary entrance after all. There shouldn't be a problem with grade there as it seems to slope away from the garage. And then waterproof the heck out of that wall, put in a window instead of a door, and do the formal entrance without worrying about it impacting the man door. It's win/win, other than for the budget.


 o
RE: Oh no! Another grading and step problem to solve.. please he

Isn't raising the door going to present other problems? Once you raise the door, you will need a step down into the garage. Do you have room inside the garage for the step? Since the door swings into the garage, someone could then be in the garage on the step and someone could open the door into them, pushing them off the step. Seems like a hazard to me. Before you raise the door, you might want to check to see if doing so would be allowed by code.


 o
RE: Oh no! Another grading and step problem to solve.. please he

Codes concerning steps at doors can be very particular so definitely make sure it meets your code requirements.


 o
RE: Oh no! Another grading and step problem to solve.. please he

I was also thinking that door frame would make a nice window frame...


 o
RE: Oh no! Another grading and step problem to solve.. please he

Hi everyone,

Thanks for the input. I agree that a window, rather than a door in the man door location would look nice. However, the side of the garage where the man door currently is is very close to the entrance into the home that leads to the mudroom (in other words I choose function over form here). The man door is our every day family entrance (family is not allowed to use the front door). The only practical side to have the man door is the side it is on currently.

As per the code, that I will need to check on. I think the idea would be that the grade would raise with the door, so there would be not be too much to step over. Nevertheless, if this 4 1/2 inch door hike causes us code issues (or safety issues) I will need to address that.

Very glad to hear from those who think the door hiking and resulting re-bricking is doable. We hope the mason will stop by our site today to give us a quote.

The steps are to be installed today as originally planned, and we will address the changes to the man door afterwards.

Thanks again for your input everyone.

Carol


 o
RE: Oh no! Another grading and step problem to solve.. please he

Carol,

I don't understand what the problem exactly is. My initial thoughts are:
1) Are the current the door height/grading acceptable? Not perfect, but they need to be acceptable by codes and to you, builder, architect, etc.

2a)If not, they need to be fixed. Do it along with the exterior stair design.
2b) If yes. Is there possible to redo the stair riser/tread to solve the problem? As mentioned by others earlier, I think there may be some flexibilty to get it done.

Either way, I would not continue the stair construction before a solution is identified. Sorry if this is too late. In that case, forget what I just said as I really do not have a clue. I am still struggling with my plan.

Good luck!
JF


 o
RE: Oh no! Another grading and step problem to solve.. please he

Jeff,

Thanks for your input.

As far as I know, the stair construction continued as planned today. Any more delays and we will lose a fully mature birch tree on our lot. DH was on site to manage the contractors doing the steps. We already have the slab and steps pre-cut, finished and ready to install, and it would be costly and difficult to alter them now. The grading issue is not really a stair issue, but a problem at the man door. The stairs we are now building with natural stones are precisely the same size steps as we had in that spot with pre-cast when the house was first built. We could solve it by adding a step and cutting the size of the landing, but we do not want to do that. The man door would be much better raised as there is dirt and moisture washing into it.

The biggest issue is to be sure we get the mason and concrete guy to do the repair/alteration right. Safety inside the garage with a ramp/step or what have you will be a priority. There is room in this part of the garage for a step or ramp. We will see what is needed.

Sometimes, you just have to accept that mistakes need to be fixed and it will cost you. Probably, the level the foundation guy set for the man door was too low. It is tricky when you are dealing with a sloping lot. Somehow we thought a bit of dirt moving would solve the issue, but we now know it won't.

Carol


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Building a Home Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here