Sunday, October 18, 2015

Steps get started

Today Matt and I were at Discount Builders Supply at 9am to buy wood for the steps. Last built in 2009, they'd finally succumbed to rot so it was time to rebuild - this time with pressure treated wood.

Instead of cheapo landscaping timbers we bought treated 4x6s and instead of making 2' wide steps, we had the lumber cut for 3' wide. This will make fewer steps (8 vs 11) that are taller. That should make steps that are much easier to walk on.

We began by removing the rotten old steps and found that the 24" rebar stakes were pretty firmly stuck in the ground. A quick google showed that Burners always have the best ways to remove rebar, using vice grips and some lumber to lever them up. That got each one out of the ground in about 30 seconds, versus the 10 minutes of hammering, twisting and grunting we'd tried before.

Next was drilling the new wood and excavating the larger steps. Digging bar essential. Heavy work. My poor, bruised hands...

Then leveling carefully, adding the new step risers and back filling. Our tamper does a great job pounding dirt into place, and on top of each step I put a layer of sand bag material to suppress weeds. Each step top now has 12 bricks, versus the 9 in place before. I bought a bag of sand to fill the gaps between the bricks too.

With fewer steps, we'll end up dropping down the slope too fast so we're planning to make a bricked viewing platform half way down the steps to take that into account.

We quit at 3pm, after installing 4 steps due to total exhaustion. We cordoned off the area and dragged ourselves home to rest. Gonna be so very sore tomorrow! Hope we can finish this job this week.


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