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Thread: Size and reinforcement of concrete steps?

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    Size and reinforcement of concrete steps?

    I need to incorporate some steps into one corner and I would like to do this using as little concrete as possible and take up as little space as possible whilst providing a step deep enough to sit on in reasonable comfort . The depth from coping stone to floor is 1.5m (5ft) which from my reckoning equates to quite a lot of steps and a lot of concrete, as I think it is better to fill with concrete rather than sand.
    I figured to keep things simple I would just put the steps straight across the corner, rather than curve them.
    Can anyone help me work out what would be the minimum amount of steps that I would need and what would be the best configuration of dimensions. I think the bottom step can be very tall as I have seen a pic of a pool with an extra mini step to one side of the bottom step.

    Also does anyone know if there are any issues with using such a large body of concrete ie expansion etc (My mix has no large aggregates and is one part cement to 2 parts sand by weight with minimal water). And is reinforcement just below the surface of the steps sufficient or are there other considerations regarding the large body of 'concrete'?
    11k gallon IG Ferrocement , Onga (Pentair) SF750 1hp pump, Onga Pantera MK11 PCF200sqft Cartridge Filter, Watermaid WM40-QT300 SWG, Spa Electrics GK7 LED

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    Re: Size and reinforcement of concrete steps?

    Steps are typically done in 12" increments, measured from the deck down. The top step is usually in 6" of water, allowing for three inches of space between the top of the water and the bottom of the coping and an additional 3 inches from there to the deck. This allows for one to step down 12" from the decking to the first step, with the following steps falling at 12 inch increments (assuming a typical 42" water depth pool).

    In your case, I would measure up from the bottom of the area that you wish to place the steps and divide by 12. If you come out with a fraction after that, divide to make all of the steps the same height, so that your guests feel comfortable that all steps are equal as the enter/exit the pool. Too tall of a first step can be tough to get up on initially, even though you will be somewhat buoyant.

    Here, anything over 48" of water depth requires steel (rebar). You can use #3 bar (3/8") and drill holes in the floor of the pool and again in the wall to pin and dowel the steel (put epoxy in the holes prior to inserting the steel). Drill in a couple of inches, and make sure that you allow for a minimum of 3" of coverage over the steel. Make a 12 X 12 grid of the steel, both horizontally and vertically. You can form the steps with masonite, and when you place the concrete, rough it up so that the plaster will stick. You do not want a smooth finish! Gravel works well to take up some of the space so that you do not need as much concrete, and is inexpensive and self leveling. I use 2X4's to form the bottom of the steps and kick it off so that your can form up the face of the steps. Form the steps anyway you wish, so that it looks how you want it to when it is done, as they will be there a very long time!

    Hope that helps!

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    Re: Size and reinforcement of concrete steps?

    Many thanks, that is very helpful.
    My pool is at the reinforcement stage (see pic post233147.html#p233147).
    I will be able to tie in the rods (I have 8mm on hand for the steps, the rest of the pool has 12mm) at this stage no problem. I will mesh the front of the steps with fine mesh to hold in the fill.
    How much gravel (and what size) could I get away with as a proportion of the whole thing ie, how thick should the mortar cover be (typical for ferrocement is around 40 to 50mm) if using fine mesh with the bars and are vertical bars needed in a zig zag to help form the risers or are horizontal bars sufficient?
    11k gallon IG Ferrocement , Onga (Pentair) SF750 1hp pump, Onga Pantera MK11 PCF200sqft Cartridge Filter, Watermaid WM40-QT300 SWG, Spa Electrics GK7 LED

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    Re: Size and reinforcement of concrete steps?

    Interesting steel; looks very nice

    Typical here is 3/4" gravel, although you can use pea gravel also. Maintain a 3" minimum coverage over all steel, both sides, if possible. Horizontal and vertical is fine, no need to zig-zag.

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    Re: Size and reinforcement of concrete steps?

    Am I right in thinking that steps are notorious for cracking? If so wouldnt there be a prob with water collecting in there and stagnating without a solid fill?
    11k gallon IG Ferrocement , Onga (Pentair) SF750 1hp pump, Onga Pantera MK11 PCF200sqft Cartridge Filter, Watermaid WM40-QT300 SWG, Spa Electrics GK7 LED

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    Re: Size and reinforcement of concrete steps?

    Steps are typically shot monolithic with the shell, so cracking is very rare if all material is "fresh" and wet. Gravel is acceptable fill, so you should be fine.

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    Re: Size and reinforcement of concrete steps?

    If the concrete does happen to be smooth, a bond coat can be used to provide a good grab for the plaster.

    Scott
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    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: Size and reinforcement of concrete steps?

    Please could anyone good at maths very kindly work out the amount of concrete or gravel in cubic metres, required to fill this shape please,
    as it's beyond me

    many thanks
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    11k gallon IG Ferrocement , Onga (Pentair) SF750 1hp pump, Onga Pantera MK11 PCF200sqft Cartridge Filter, Watermaid WM40-QT300 SWG, Spa Electrics GK7 LED

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    Re: Size and reinforcement of concrete steps?

    Calculate it by working each step as a disk with this equation: 3.14 X radius squared X height of the step. This is the volume for the disk so divide this by 4 as each step is 1/4 of a disk. Do this for each step and sum together for total volume.
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    Re: Size and reinforcement of concrete steps?

    Many thanks, I should be able to work that out now.
    11k gallon IG Ferrocement , Onga (Pentair) SF750 1hp pump, Onga Pantera MK11 PCF200sqft Cartridge Filter, Watermaid WM40-QT300 SWG, Spa Electrics GK7 LED

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    Re: Size and reinforcement of concrete steps?

    0.8 Cu Metres for all four steps.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Size and reinforcement of concrete steps?

    thanks so much for doing that....I wasnt looking forward to it.
    Ouch that is a lot of concrete, I think I will have to do it with gravel.
    11k gallon IG Ferrocement , Onga (Pentair) SF750 1hp pump, Onga Pantera MK11 PCF200sqft Cartridge Filter, Watermaid WM40-QT300 SWG, Spa Electrics GK7 LED

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    Re: Size and reinforcement of concrete steps?

    Does anyone know if it would be ok to use fine sand as fill for the steps?
    With gravel there would be pretty much instant compaction but if I watered the sand well, would it be ok or would voids be inevitable as we will need to put the sand in only the day before mortaring the steps.
    It would be a lot easier as its already here as that is what my ground is made up of and its perfect fill sand apparently.
    11k gallon IG Ferrocement , Onga (Pentair) SF750 1hp pump, Onga Pantera MK11 PCF200sqft Cartridge Filter, Watermaid WM40-QT300 SWG, Spa Electrics GK7 LED

  14. Back To Top    #14
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    Re: Size and reinforcement of concrete steps?

    Gravel is the "accepted" fill material in cases such as this. It may be a bit more up front, but I think it will pay for itself in years to come!

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    Re: Size and reinforcement of concrete steps?

    Thanks, it's just that the sand is already down there next to the pool having landed there when it rained last week , the gravel will have to be manhandled in buckets down to the pool right in the middle of mortaring day.
    11k gallon IG Ferrocement , Onga (Pentair) SF750 1hp pump, Onga Pantera MK11 PCF200sqft Cartridge Filter, Watermaid WM40-QT300 SWG, Spa Electrics GK7 LED

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    Re: Size and reinforcement of concrete steps?

    Quote Originally Posted by pool250
    Thanks, it's just that the sand is already down there next to the pool having landed there when it rained last week , the gravel will have to be manhandled in buckets down to the pool right in the middle of mortaring day.
    There used to be an ad running on TV here, where they talked about doing things the easy way: "You can pay me now, or you can pay me later". I hate to say it, but that is what this reminds me of! As much work as it may be to bucket the gravel, it is infinitely easier than draining the pool, jack-hammering the steps and fixing them later, if you have to! A little extra time and effort now just might pay off a couple years down the road.

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    Re: Size and reinforcement of concrete steps?

    The reason that I asked you about using sand was that I wasn't sure whether sand would be an inferior fill or not; you just said it is usual to use gravel not that sand wouldnt do, so I wasnt sure, which is why I asked.
    Its not about the cost of the gravel or because of a wish to do it the "easy way", its because we will all have to stop everything else including the mixer/sprayer, down tools and spend time carrying gravel whereas if the sand could have been used it could have been done by one person without interrupting everything else.
    11k gallon IG Ferrocement , Onga (Pentair) SF750 1hp pump, Onga Pantera MK11 PCF200sqft Cartridge Filter, Watermaid WM40-QT300 SWG, Spa Electrics GK7 LED

  18. Back To Top    #18
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    Re: Size and reinforcement of concrete steps?

    I wasn't trying to infer that you might be trying to "cheat" by using sand, so I apologize if it sounded that way I do understand the inconvenience of having to deal with the gravel, but I would just hate to see a problem down the road, if it occurred, by using the sand.

    I'm sorry I wasn't clearer

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    Re: Size and reinforcement of concrete steps?

    No worries. Probably just crossed wires.
    11k gallon IG Ferrocement , Onga (Pentair) SF750 1hp pump, Onga Pantera MK11 PCF200sqft Cartridge Filter, Watermaid WM40-QT300 SWG, Spa Electrics GK7 LED

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