Replacing exterior steps

Old 07-07-22, 07:04 PM
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Replacing exterior steps

I'm helping a friend replace some outside steps. We're looking for recommendations on how best get this done. I have some experience with this sort of thing, having built a deck from scratch in the past, but I am not an expert.

The current setup (pictures) has three steps from a concrete sidewalk/slab up to a door with a metal threshold. There is an open-air crawlspace under the room with the door. The room with the door sags a bit and the amount of sagging varies throughout the year. The house is in northern New York. We get long, cold winters, so frost heave is a concern.

The existing steps are not attached to either the house or the sidewalk. They're simply resting on the sidewalk, held down with a cement block. Under the door are some deteriorating boards attached to a doubled up 2x beam. They would need to be replaced if they were going to serve as a ledger board.

Here are my initial questions:
  • Should the steps be anchored to the house or the sidewalk?I'm assuming it's not a good idea to have them floating free like they are now. And we probably wouldn't want to attach the steps to both the house and the landing, right?
  • The sidewalk, the existing stairs, and the doorway are all roughly the same narrow width. Would it be possible to make the steps wider? And if so, what would that look like on the top and bottom of the stairs?Would it be OK for the landing board to extend out past the edges of the sidewalk? The siding on either side of the door might be a problem.
  • What kind of railings would be best here? We're thinking two pressure treated 4x4 posts on each side, attached to the stringers. Would it make sense to also attach the top posts directly to the house? (And how would we do that with the siding?)
Old 07-08-22, 05:43 AM
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Keep in mind that the current codes do not allow (I think) stairs to simply but up against a exterior door. All that I have replaced in the past 15 years have needed a landing at the top. Usually the landing must be a minimum of 36" from the doorway in the direction of travel. It's a safety thing so someone not paying attention walks through the doorway doesn't immediately fall down stairs.

I would considered pre-cast concrete landing & steps? They are available in various widths and heights and would be heavy enough to stay in place on it's own. If wanting to stick build this will likely involve a building permit and inspection and obviously must be built to comply with the codes.
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