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Old 05-12-2009, 07:55 AM
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Acceptable max paver slope?

The home we just purchased has a series of paver "landings" leading down to the lower patio that were to serve as steps. They were all made different sizes, and they're extremely awkward to walk up (not to mention the framing has heaved and kicked out). I was thinking of fixing this one of two ways.

First, I was going to rip it all out, and just put a sloping walkway with the pavers, but I'm worried about it being to steep of a slope for just a constant run of pavers.

My second option would be to purchase retaining wall blocks, and frame in stairs that would be EQUAL in nice, and use the brick pavers as the treads.

The second option is more costly, since the first one is basically free, but what degree of slope can you effectively have with pavers, or any walkway for that matter?
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Old 05-12-2009, 04:19 PM
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The maximum grade for a walkway is 4% and the maximum for a ramp is 15%. If a wheelchair is involved the maximum for a ramp is 8%. Ideally it should be less than this.
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Old 05-12-2009, 04:43 PM
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4% works out to about 1/2" per foot, and that's going to be about right for a walkway - any more than that and it's going to feel awkward.
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Old 05-17-2009, 03:06 PM
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build them out of block, and cap them with the caps for the block don't use the pavers as treads.
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Old 05-17-2009, 10:37 PM
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In laymens terms the maximum slope for a walkway that is comfortable is a 1' drop or rise over 7 feet.
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Old 05-18-2009, 07:06 AM
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Where is the slope? If it is a long walkway rather than a short stretch between sets of steps 5% is fine and would even meet HP accessible access requirements with no railings. An HP accessible ramp is 1:12 or 8.33% which is certainly not too bad to walk up (I only mention accessibility as reference here). If you are talking about a short segment, basically a landing, between sets of steps I don't think I would go over 5% (2%is acceptable for HP landings), but would much rather be lower than that.

Homeowners might need some help with calc's.
To calculate slope:
horizontal distance x percentage expressed as a decimal (0.05 =5%, 0.02 = 2%,...) x 12 = inches of rise

example: 5' long landing at 3% would be Y higher at the other end.
5 x 0.03 x 12 = 1.8"

you can multiply the decimal by 8 if you want to convert to eighths of inches.
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:01 AM
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Sorry, I should have checked back with this thread.

The walkway distance is 28', but I haven't calculated the rise yet, I have been busy with another project, but I would guess it's probably about a 4' rise.

Why is it not recommended to use pavers as the treads?
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgh-pa View Post
Sorry, I should have checked back with this thread.

The walkway distance is 28', but I haven't calculated the rise yet, I have been busy with another project, but I would guess it's probably about a 4' rise.

Why is it not recommended to use pavers as the treads?
how are you going to attach them to the block?
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Old 05-18-2009, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zullo-design View Post
how are you going to attach them to the block?
The same way you'd attach caps, I'd imagine.

We've done that for years.
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Old 05-19-2009, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Stonehenge View Post
The same way you'd attach caps, I'd imagine.

We've done that for years.
yes but caps usually span or sit on more than one block, so any minor settling is bridged by the cap I would think glueing the pavers to the block with them having such a small area of adhesion and the heavy foot traffic it wouldn't last.
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:08 AM
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I would build the frame out of block so I would essentially only be filling in the middle with the pavers as the treads. Basically looking directly down on these steps you would see blocks/caps in a squared |_| shape, and the pavers would be "inside" as the treads. They would be sitting in a bed of compacted screenings and bedding sand just like they would on a patio.
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Old 06-01-2009, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jwholden View Post
In laymens terms the maximum slope for a walkway that is comfortable is a 1' drop or rise over 7 feet.
Thought I would bring back this thread again. I finally got around to beginning this project. I ran a string level from top grade to bottom. It's a 28' run with a 34" rise. Works out to about 10%. Is the above 1' for 7' a legitimate rule of thumb? If so, I'm under that, but still, I'm WAY over the 4% quoted earlier. Thoughts?
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Old 06-01-2009, 08:36 PM
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Ever thought of using pool coping for treads. The bullnose gives a nice finished look.
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Old 06-01-2009, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgh-pa View Post
Thought I would bring back this thread again. I finally got around to beginning this project. I ran a string level from top grade to bottom. It's a 28' run with a 34" rise. Works out to about 10%. Is the above 1' for 7' a legitimate rule of thumb? If so, I'm under that, but still, I'm WAY over the 4% quoted earlier. Thoughts?
For me that would be too steep to be comfortable. Too much for a wheel chair, or a person with a walker, or child on a tricycle. Put in a few steps
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Old 06-02-2009, 06:27 AM
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1:7 is going to be a very steep walk - almost twice as steep as the steepest wheel chair ramp. Perhaps there is confusion between a 7" rise and 1' tread for a set of stairs which is a commonly accepted standard.

We have all been to public places like football stadiums that have some long handicap access at 1:12 (or 8.33%). You can see these things from the blimp pictures, and you've certainly climbed them whether or not you realized that they were HP access. They go 30' @ 1:12, then 2% for 5' and repeat over and over. You definitely know that you would not want to be going much steeper and call it comfortable.

I'd recommend 5% max on the walk and put steps in places that make sense.

Also, if you plan on using solid top wall blocks for riser/tread with pavers inlaid, understand that the top of your paver is level with the bottom of the next riser. You will need to set those pavers before setting the next riser or risk undermining it. You really should made a prototype pair of steps to see how it is going to work out.

Stay aware of what is going to happen on the sides of the steps in order to keep the side slopes from spilling onto your treads or from falling out from under your blocks or pavers. This is often not thought through by people doing their first set of steps built on the ground.
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