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Building Steps on dirt slope/ questions



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 9th 10, 02:53 AM posted to alt.building.construction,alt.home.lawn.garden,alt.home.repair
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Posts: 142
Default Building Steps on dirt slope/ questions

I plan to build some steps into a sloped hill, using timbers. I had some
built about ten years ago, and used PT lumber rated for ground contact,
which was .8 penetration level.

I know that the chemicals used, and applicable ratings, have now changed for
PT lumber. What would the equivalent now be for what was .8 "ground
contact" ??

I also previously used 12 inch galvanized sprial nails to connect the
timbers to make the steps. Will these nails be ok for the new type treated
lumber ? I buy them at Home Depot, and they are not labeled hot dipped or
anything like that. They just say, galvanized nails.

I "think" that I will use 6 x 6 PT beams, like I did before. But, some
articles refer to "landscape timbers." Exactly what are they referring to ?
I don't want to use railroad ties... I want a more updated look, which the
6 X 6 beams provide. But, there may be a more suitable and long lasting
type timber that I should use, and I would like to know more about my
options.

Thanks for any advice on these many questions !!

James


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  #2  
Old July 9th 10, 02:55 AM posted to alt.home.lawn.garden,alt.home.repair
dpb
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Posts: 10,566
Default Building Steps on dirt slope/ questions

James wrote:
....

6 X 6 beams provide. But, there may be a more suitable and long lasting
type timber that I should use, and I would like to know more about my
options.

....
If there are any small, local mills around, see if you can get them to
cut you some black locust...

--
  #3  
Old July 9th 10, 03:27 PM posted to alt.building.construction,alt.home.lawn.garden,alt.home.repair
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Posts: 380
Default Building Steps on dirt slope/ questions

I would use pressure treated fir. The type now used is somewhat
safe.......copper ammonia base I believe.
I would use 1/2" x 12" or so rebar pins. Cheap way to go and last a
lifetime.
Railroad ties are nice and do have the "heavy duty" oils in them for
protection although it is hard to find "nice" ones.
I almost did an extensive path like this just the last month or so. Got
hung up with inspectors etc. so through in the towel.
The path was an existing use path for 100 years, (and then some)and had been
worked on off and on by residents, owners etc. and they wanted a contractor
to come in and do it right. Well going to the official Building Dept. put a
wrench in the gears immediately. Of course we needed an enviornmental
study.......and review with the coastal commission. Also a endangered
plant and animal study.....and then...you name it. I should have just put
it in......now people slip and slide down a gravel dirt, mess still using
the path....I tell you, the official business bs really hampers
progress.......john

"James" wrote in message
net...
I plan to build some steps into a sloped hill, using timbers. I had some
built about ten years ago, and used PT lumber rated for ground contact,
which was .8 penetration level.

I know that the chemicals used, and applicable ratings, have now changed
for
PT lumber. What would the equivalent now be for what was .8 "ground
contact" ??

I also previously used 12 inch galvanized sprial nails to connect the
timbers to make the steps. Will these nails be ok for the new type
treated
lumber ? I buy them at Home Depot, and they are not labeled hot dipped
or
anything like that. They just say, galvanized nails.

I "think" that I will use 6 x 6 PT beams, like I did before. But,
some
articles refer to "landscape timbers." Exactly what are they referring to
?
I don't want to use railroad ties... I want a more updated look, which the
6 X 6 beams provide. But, there may be a more suitable and long lasting
type timber that I should use, and I would like to know more about my
options.

Thanks for any advice on these many questions !!

James




  #4  
Old July 9th 10, 05:03 PM posted to alt.building.construction,alt.home.lawn.garden,alt.home.repair
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Posts: 1,582
Default Building Steps on dirt slope/ questions

On Jul 9, 9:27*am, "jloomis" wrote:
I would use pressure treated fir. *The type now used is somewhat
safe.......copper ammonia base I believe.
I would use 1/2" x 12" or so rebar pins. *Cheap way to go and last a
lifetime.
Railroad ties are nice and do have the "heavy duty" oils in them for
protection although it is hard to find "nice" ones.
I almost did an extensive path like this just the last month or so. *Got
hung up with inspectors etc. so through in the towel.
The path was an existing use path for 100 years, (and then some)and had been
worked on off and on by residents, owners etc. and they wanted a contractor
to come in and do it right. *Well going to the official Building Dept. put a
wrench in the gears immediately. *Of course we needed an enviornmental
study.......and review with the coastal commission. * Also a endangered
plant and animal study.....and then...you name it. *I should have just put
it in......now people slip and slide down a gravel dirt, mess still using
the path....I tell you, the official business bs really hampers
progress.......john

"James" wrote in message

net...



I plan to build some steps into a sloped hill, using timbers. *I had some
built about ten years ago, and used PT lumber *rated for ground contact,
which was *.8 *penetration level.


I know that the chemicals used, and applicable ratings, have now changed
for
PT lumber. * What would the equivalent now be for what was * .8 *"ground
contact" * ??


I also previously used 12 inch galvanized sprial nails to connect the
timbers to make the steps. *Will these nails be ok for the new type
treated
lumber ? * I buy them at Home Depot, and they are not labeled *hot dipped
or
anything like that. *They just say, galvanized nails.


I "think" *that I will use *6 x *6 *PT beams, like I did before.. *But,
some
articles refer to "landscape timbers." *Exactly what are they referring to
?
I don't want to use railroad ties... I want a more updated look, which the
6 X 6 *beams provide. *But, there may be a more suitable and long lasting
type timber that I should use, and I would like to know more about my
options.


Thanks for any advice on these many questions !!


James- Hide quoted text -


- Show quoted text -


If you can find 6x6 that is already at the length you want. The
biggest problem with pt wood is penetration. It almost never fully
penetrates in 6x6's. Then you cut it and expose untreated wood in the
center to ground contact. If you have ever torn down and old 6x6
retaining wall you see that they have rotted out the worst from the
insides at the cut ends. If you must cut then treat the exposed ends
with some tar.

Railroad ties are the best solution. Landscape timbers are those
smaller round pt timbers that have flat spots opposite each other.
They are very cheap so if rebuilidng periodically is going to happen
they would be the least costly.
  #6  
Old July 10th 10, 02:40 AM posted to alt.building.construction,alt.home.lawn.garden,alt.home.repair
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Posts: 142
Default Building Steps on dirt slope/ questions

Thanks to all who have replied !!

John, you would use the rebar pins for what ?? To join the beams together,
or to pin them to the ground ??

James


  #7  
Old July 10th 10, 03:26 AM posted to alt.building.construction,alt.home.lawn.garden,alt.home.repair
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Posts: 380
Default Building Steps on dirt slope/ questions

Pin to the ground and pin the beams together.....
We do that on dock work at the river....too
I have used rebar pins on all kinds of construction.
If you drill a 1/2" hole the diameter of a 1/2" rebar is somewhat larger and
varigated and fits real tight.
You can also drive them in the ground for anchoring.....they may rust out
not in your lifetime though.
I agree with the other fellow concerning the commercial grade sold at box
stores....it is not very well penetrated with the solution.
They do rot.........
I have actually "special ordered" better quality treated timbers that are
soaked and baked better than the garden variety sold.
Railroad ties and ones that are "select" are acutaully the
best....regardless of how they look. They can be done quite nicely but the
smell is somewhat disagreeable in the heat.......anyway.....many choices.
I would consider making the beams out of concrete and rebar inside....form
and pour them in place...finish off the tops and backfill behind.
you could form a nice 6x6 and put a rod or 2 of steel inside, pour the
beam.....finish the top and bingo......no wrot and strong.
if you wanted you could impress a wood grain on top. I have done that too.
john



"James" wrote in message
net...
Thanks to all who have replied !!

John, you would use the rebar pins for what ?? To join the beams
together,
or to pin them to the ground ??

James




  #8  
Old July 10th 10, 06:17 PM posted to alt.building.construction,alt.home.lawn.garden,alt.home.repair
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Posts: 1
Default Building Steps on dirt slope/ questions

On 7/8/2010 7:53 PM, James wrote:
I plan to build some steps into a sloped hill, using timbers. I had some
built about ten years ago, and used PT lumber rated for ground contact,
which was .8 penetration level.

Thanks for any advice on these many questions !!

James

James,

Have you thought about using those stackable, mortarless, retaining wall
blocks instead of the landscaping timbers? They'll last a lifetime and
are just as easy to install as landscape timbers/railroad ties. I find
myself having to re-do all of my timber projects after about 10 - 15
years because of failure of some type rot, insects, etc.

The blocks are made in a variety of sizes. You'll find them in the same
6 inch size as the timbers you're looking at. You can build a wall as
high as 3 feet without having to use a poured foundation.
  #9  
Old July 10th 10, 09:12 PM posted to alt.building.construction,alt.home.lawn.garden,alt.home.repair
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Posts: 142
Default Building Steps on dirt slope/ questions

thanks John and JB for the additional comments. Will have to take a look
at those retaining wall blocks as well, and try to visualize how they would
look....

thanks again !!

James


  #10  
Old July 13th 10, 01:15 AM posted to alt.building.construction,alt.home.lawn.garden,alt.home.repair
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Posts: 245
Default Building Steps on dirt slope/ questions


"James" wrote in message
net...
thanks John and JB for the additional comments. Will have to take a look
at those retaining wall blocks as well, and try to visualize how they
would
look....

thanks again !!

James


Here's an alternative that may be easier, look better and be
longer-lasting --

Make steps out of a frame made of PT 2x4 or 4x4, with large precast stepping
stones as the inserts.

I used 16"x16" paving stones which are4 $3.74 at the BORG. The top and
bottom steps held 4 of them, the intermediate steps were two stones wide.
Build the frame just large enough to hold the number of paving stones you
want, then position the frame and make it level. Drill holes through the
frame into the ground and put 2' sections of rebar through the holes to
anchor the frame. Then fill the frame with leveling sandso that when the
stones are added they are level with the top of the frame.Once the sand is
the right height and leveled, just place the stones on top of the sand,
level with the sides of the frame. I've had some in place now for 10 years
with no maintenance needed. Since you step on the stones, not the frame,
the frame never has any heavy forces on it and stays level. The sand
supports the stones so everything stays in place. I chose a patterned stone
so that the pattern runs from one stone to the next. For one set of steps I
used 4x6 PT timbers and small paving blocks, which also worked out well, as
an extension of a paving block walkway I had made.


 




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