|Volume 14 Issue 8|
Welcome to Dave's Shop Talk's Home Improvement Newsletter of questions from our members on their construction projects, a Tip of the Month and a home remodeling article, both from our website at https://daveosborne.com.
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An important thing to remember when building stairs is that there is one less tread than riser. Some builders ask me why our Stair Calculator doesn't show the step flush with the upper deck or floor. I feel that this is redundant - the first step from a deck or floor should be one riser down. Why enlarge your deck with a step at the same level? For those who are persistent, I will draw the top step flush with the deck or floor, grumbling as I send it. A professional carpenter usually does not have the top step flush with the upper floor, unless the client demands it. Even though the customer is not always right, they are the ones paying the bills and should be listened to, given an explanation of the correct way of doing a job, so they can make an informed decision. Our job, as contractors, is to do the work to the best of our ability, safely, according to code and to satisfy our clients. If all these criteria are met, everyone goes home happy.
When constructing a project outdoors, use pressure treated lumber for pieces within 12" of the ground or directly on concrete.
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I was on a short fishing trip.
Personally, I would construct a 2x4 wall about 1" away from the concrete wall, insulated or not. The ICF doesn't really provide enough insulation. I did this with my regular foundation walls in the basement. I installed 3 1/2" fiberglass batt insulation and put the studs on 24" centers, with vapor barrier on the warm side of the studs, under the drywall. Single top plate nailed to the ceiling joist. The bottom plate screws anchored or nails shot into the concrete floor.
The other option is to strap the ICF walls with 2x2 or 2x4 on the flat, either shot on or with screws and anchors. This is more work, probably just as costly, but without the added insulation value.
Note: ICF is insulated (with Styrofoam) concrete forms, as in this pic:
Sounds like a neat little project.
I would go with 3/4" plywood. I usually rabbet the edges of plywood to increase the surface area for glue, but without a router or tablesaw that is pretty difficult. Most plywoods, today, have exterior glues, a marine plywood has no voids in the laminates. A cabinet grade plywood would be best since it is a full 3/4". I would also seal the end grain and the plywood with an oil (alkyd) paint to help keep the plywood veneers from delaminating. Use an exterior glue - Carpenter's wood glue should be fine. A trick I use to seal the end grain is to smear glue on the end grain before I paint it. For the leg on one end, an idea is to extend the box end a bit longer, as shown below.
I'm on our boat, right now and noticed your email from 3 days ago. Sorry about that. An 8" rise is not too high, although the code max is 7 7/8 - 7 3/4. For two steps it definitely is not too high.
We are back home now after 2 weeks in our boat visiting the Islands and inlets where Vancouver Island almost touches the mainland at its northern tip. Amazing the number of Americans who visit this region, taking a week, or more, to get up there from their home ports in WA, OR and CA.
Thanks, Marc, I'd like to see the pics.
I was brought up in Vancouver. As soon as we could drive, it seems we were going across the border for a cup of coffee in Bellingham. It was a 2 hour drive then, now about 1/2 an hour.
Victoria is another beautiful city on Vancouver Island, the capital of the province, not as big, but the weather is a bit better. Good boating over here with our Gulf Islands and the US San Juan Islands. Victoria has its British connections!
Hope you get those stairs to satisfy the homeowner.
Sorry about your email, both landed in my Junk folder. I was away, as well, on vacation, for two weeks.
Yes, you add an extra rise to the total rise and you will get the correct stringer. We usually don't add a step level with the upper floor or deck. This is just redundant! There are different ways to attach the stringer to the upper deck and support the stringer, without putting the top step flush with the floor. I discuss these in my articles on stairs: https://daveosborne.com/dave/answers/stringer-to-joist.php
Here is a drawing for your stairs, I amended for you:
Hope this helps,
(taken from our website: DaveOsborne.com
Ceramic tile is designed to be laid over concrete floors, but we can lay the tiles over wood floors if the necessary preparations are done first. In new construction, it is common practice to install a second sheet of 5/8" plywood over the existing sub-floor of 5/8" tongue and groove plywood, giving a total thickness of 1 1/4". Older houses that have 3/4" shiplap for their sub-floor and also a layer of 3/4" hardwood, don't need the second sheet of plywood. Just roughen the surface up with a belt sander for better adhesion of the mortar. For those floors with a layer of vinyl flooring or tile, rather than try to tear it off and leave chunks of tile and glue behind, I would cover it with 1/4" structure wood (or plywood) designed for underlay of vinyl flooring. Nail it down every 4" or 6" on center, according to the manufacturers instructions. The main point here is to have a good, strong, thick area for the ceramic tile to rest on. Ceramic tile does not have to bend or flex much before it cracks, so we want to lay it on a surface that is solid. Concrete floors can be patched and any depressions filled with floor levelling compound made specifically for concrete.
If the floor you are covering is in the bathroom, lift the toilet up and clean the area around the floor flange well. After the grout is dry re-install the toilet with a new wax seal. Refer to my article Removing and Replacing Plumbing Fixtures for more details. Don't bother trying to... Read more at Remodeling 10: How to Lay Ceramic Tile.
I hope you enjoyed the Newsletter this month and that your summer was a good one.
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Hi, I'm Dave Osborne. With over 50 years experience as a journeyman carpenter, foreman and contractor in heavy construction I enjoyed working with apprentices and sharing the tricks of the trade that others shared with me. Now I get emails from Members all over the world and we include many of my answers in our Free Monthly Newsletters. Some of my answers include drawings and instructions specific to a project, but may also answer your questions. I use correct construction terminology, so you can confidently inform your building supply dealers or contractors exactly what you need.
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