Can you suggest a different material?

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION Can you suggest a different material?

This topic contains 1 reply, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Chuck B. Edwards 8 years, 8 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 29 total)
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  • #165305

    Jonathan Smith, RLA
    Participant

    Hi All,

     

    I installed a simple front stair last year made from 6×6 treated timbers and a gravel tread (pictured below).Other clients like this configuration, but I’d like to use a nicer material.

    Any suggestions?

    #165333

    Chuck B. Edwards
    Participant

     

    Jonathan,

     

    Are you talking about the timber steps or the gravel tread?

     

    You have several options for the risers; concrete and keystone come to mind. You can keep the concrete exposed or finish it off with a stone accent.

     

    For the tread, you could use pavers or stabilizer solutions…

    If you go to my Behance Network page and look under the steps and walls or patio and walks, that should give you a couple of ideas.

    For the tread, you could use pavers or stabalizer solutions

    #165332

    Thomas J. Johnson
    Participant

    Honed granite, chiseled granite, cast-in-place concrete/custom pre-cast (all kinds of finishes), cor-ten steel, I-Beams, Cedar, Redwood, teak, Ipe, boxed steel, old chrome car bumpers w/ used bearings for the field :), brick, glass-block, logs (vertical or horizontal), PVC-sheet(creative fabrication required), mini-gabion, engineered lumber, dry stacked stone, adobe… CMU w/ any number of facades and a traditional cap/tread… rammed-earth mountain bike tires… 6″-8″ galvanized steel pipe… bottles n’ concrete… LEGOs…

    #165331

    nca
    Participant

    How about big granite/sandstone slabs? Probably similar cost??

     

     

    #165330

    Jonathan Smith, RLA
    Participant

    I’m looking for an alternative to the timber risers.  Even a different way of finishing them.  They work great structurally and they’re relatively inexpensive…but they’re green with the linear markings from being treated.

     

    I’m not really hot on the keystone step look.  I do like the ashlar steps on your site, Chuck.  But…spendy!  I have to be able to sell it to my clients.

     

    Thanks!

    #165329

    Chuck B. Edwards
    Participant

    Jonathan,

     

    Timber will be your most cost effect step.  Up in Moscow, I cannot remember the availability of Natural Stone, but down here in Boise, we have several rock yards, so if you shop around you can sometimes get a good deal on some natural flat slabs (not the cut stone – that stuff is spendy).  You will have to sort thru pallets upon pallets to get a flat stone with a 6” rise and at least 12” run – but it can be worth it.

     

    The Ashlar steps were concrete, finished with cultured stone (rise) and Abbotsford’s Hydropressed slabs (tread) – these were kinda spendy – hence why I bought up keystone.

     

    I know that is not much help, but steps and walls tend to be one of the more expensive things to do in the residential landscape.

     

    Chuck

    #165328

    Tanya Olson
    Participant

    ooh – love the cor-ten steel with gravel tread surface idea! wouldn’t that be beautiful with the blue-grey rock? The top might be a little sharp – maybe use a bent edge..

    #165327

    Andrew Garulay, RLA
    Participant

    One of the problems with stone materials in a place like Moscow is that has to travel a long way to get there on  the road to nowhere. If it is not at the building supply there already, it will not be cheap to get it in (weight + miles = $$$). Unfortunately, the domographic will not often step up on the budget, so you have to do what the market will bear. In other words, cheap solutions are sometimes required.

     

    I uses to use Keystone straight faced standard blocks (the 23.5″ deep ones at 112# each) for stair risers in Moscow because they are very stable. The thing that you have to think about is that it is an 8″ riser if you are doing more than one riser (you can always fill in front if there is only one riser). I’d try to tread them with something with a big footprint depending what other flat work was going on on site in order to have the most contact with the top of the blocks because we’d glue them (PL-400). It is lower quality and a lower aesthetic than other materials and methods, but you can’t sell ice to Eskimos. That market is what it is and the life time of landscapes in a demographic like this is short.

    These are examples of what was on the high side of normal in that market about 15 years ago… I don’t imagine that the glue is still holding.

    Examples of low rent steps

    [IMG]http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a84/laag/octstpz2.jpg[/IMG]

    (end of Pheasant Run, the building supply owner’s house)

    [IMG]http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a84/laag/MLAND.jpg[/IMG]

    This was PT 6″x6″ with 12″ bull nose clay coping bricks glued down as treads with glued clay bricks as risers and drylaid walk. I don’t imagine this lasted more than five or six years. (across the street from Toru’s house).

    This is a somewhat higher aesthetic using the same technique. This is Roman Pisa block with thermalyzed bluestone treadstock glued down on it.

    Keep in mind that you can’t use mortar because it needs to be flexible as these blocks need to move with freeze/thaw cycles. You need flexible blue.

    #165326

    Andrew Garulay, RLA
    Participant

    #165325

    mark foster
    Participant

    Hi Jonathon. 

    RE: “Evan a different way of finishing them”

    Two ideas:. 

    1.  You may look into 4 x 6’s. (they are widely available here, hopefully there too)  I like look of the thinner 3 1/2″ dimension on the tread, and they are comparable in performance at this scale. 

    2. For a little more money:   Add a 2″ x whatever to the top and canitlever it..  Add  a 1″ x 2″ strip below it (on the riser) to give it a real “corniced” look.  I use cedar for this because 2 x treated gets too squirrely close to ground moisture, but we do get 40+” rain a year.  

    #165324

    Kevin J. Gaughan
    Participant

    What about CMU? Check out how it was used in this project by Terra Ferma: http://www.land8.net/project_detail.php?projectid=71

    #165323

    Thomas J. Johnson
    Participant

    At first I scoffed at your suggestion that they are close in price but they really are… an 8′ 4×6 (treated) is about $20. It looks like there were about 14 used to build those landings. That’s about $280. A ton of 6″ sandstone block is $120. You could buy 2 tons of sandstone, which would be more than enough, for the same price. 

    The sandstone will last for ever and doesn’t require drilling holes and pounding rebar. The base prep shouldn’t be all that different… so really, sandstone is a better value.

    #165322

    nca
    Participant

    Certainly there would be less labor. Excavation, base prep, materials and delivery. You could set the stones in an hour or two with a skid. Depends on the availability of the material in that area. Or you could spend a day plus gluing and screwing.

    #165321

    Jonathan Smith, RLA
    Participant

    Do you have an image you could share?

    #165320

    mark foster
    Participant

    I was afraid you would ask that!!!  The good news- yes, I do.  The bad news- it is from awhile ago, a photo, in a box, somewhere.    May take some time, but I will get you something .

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