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I am having granite steps installed. The platform will be 7" from the threshold but currently there is a 10" board sill/kickplate (white) with OSB behind it.

I think the proper way is to remove both boards and replace with composite. I am slightly hesitant to do that simply because the kickplate appears to be supporting the metal base of the door and I want to keep things simple for now. Is that just a silly thing to be hesitant about?

Would it be unwise to take a circular saw to cut some of the two existing boards off so that the new steps would fit under them against the foundation and deal with the now shortened kick plate later? This is assuming the concrete is at that height. If it isn't, I would put a composite board against the foundation for the steps to rest on. Any advice is appreciated.

Existing still with OSB and concrete foundation

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  • Hi FreeMan, thanks for the tip. I guess it will be easier to deal with it all if I just remove it back to the foundation like you suggest. Probably can't mess it up too much, especially if I pry it off. I can always replace the OSB and then cut the kickplate to size for now and replace later. I think part of it is that (as most projects go) removing the existing stairs and building the gravel pad was a bit much so I didn't want to go and make a mess here. Luckily I have until July 8th to get it all figured out. – user119012 Jun 24 '20 at 14:42
  • Yeah, your comment seems a bit out of place now, sorry 'bout that! :) It's always good to think before starting a new (phase of a) project, but don't overthink it, you'll never get moving. Welcome to Home Improvement, by the way... Nice job on your first post! I'd suggest taking the tour and browsing through the help center so you can learn how to make the most of the site! – FreeMan Jun 24 '20 at 14:58
  • Granite stairs... I am just going to say it... really bad choice for outdoor stairing. Very slippery when wet, will damage if you drop things on it. – DMoore Jun 24 '20 at 15:26
  • Hi DMoore. Good thing it is almost entirely for appearances. We never actually use the front stairs but I do look forward to hanging out on them so I'll make sure to use a coozy. – user119012 Jun 24 '20 at 15:53
  • @user119012 I hope it's not too late, but the stone can have a roughened texture applied to the surface to ensure you get traction. Talk to your contractor about it! – FreeMan Jun 24 '20 at 16:41
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The metal threshold will support itself over that span with no issue. You won't want to leave it without the boards under it for the long term, though, as it will bend under the weight of people stepping on the unsupported metal, but for the short term of the construction project (where it's getting little to no use and you can remember to not step on it) it will be just fine.

Also, I highly doubt you'll need a saw to remove that wood there, just the careful application of a pry bar. Those pieces should be nailed to the wall and there shouldn't be any attachment to the threshold or the ends of the siding.

Also, check with your contractor - what does he expect to find when she gets there to do the actual install?

  • Will he butt the granite directly against the foundation?
    • Then don't put anything in their way.
  • Will she install a joint expansion strip?
    • Is this something you could do for them?
  • Is there anything else you can do to make their job easier, or do they want you to stay away so they don't have to correct anything that's not to their spec (and a potential cause for disagreement later if something goes wrong).

You will definitely want to replace the trim after the steps are installed. This way you can ensure that you have a nice tight fit under the door and to the top of the step. If you install it before hand, it might be in the way or even get damaged during the installation.

Composite/PVC trim would be an appropriate material to use here when you do replace that trim material. You'll probably need 2 layers to bring it back out from the outside wall of the house to be flush with the bottom of the threshold.

  • Be sure to caulk the ends of the trim pieces (both of them) where they butt up against the siding to ensure water can't leak behind.

  • Be sure to apply a thick bead of caulk to the top of the trim where it meets up with the bottom of the threshold.

    • To get the boards slipped between the step and threshold while not wiping all the caulk off, cut a bit of a bevel on the bottom of the trim board so it can go in at a slight angle, top first, then be pushed nice & tight against the wall, the step and the threshold.
  • Attach each board individually to the wall, just be sure to offset the screws to that you don't run the outer board's screws into the ones beneath.

  • Ask the contractor what kind of sealant they recommend between the bottom of the trim and the top of the step (if any).

    • Not putting a sealant here might be preferred as it allows a path for water to escape if it should happen to get behind the trim. Again, ask them.
  • You can get screws (with a driver bit) specifically for PVC trim. The ones I got included a driver with a depth stop and a set of plugs to cover the screw heads. They're essentially invisible once the plugs are in place. Worth the extra few bucks in my opinion.

    • I don't think nails are really recommended for PVC trim - it's too easy to over drive them and the hammer will dent the material if you miss.
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  • Again, extremely helpful tips FreeMan. I will pry the old stuff off and see whats going on there. I think they are expecting either a concrete foundation or a composite board to put the steps up against. I will ask about the joint expansion strip. Good call about putting the trim up after the steps are installed as it will be easier to get it right. I will try and post an update picture once I pry the boards off. – user119012 Jun 24 '20 at 15:25
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    The biggest issue putting stone close to a building is moisture. Most stone and all masonry cement will retain moisture. A barrier will need to be applied to the building where the framing has been exposed even if there is a house wrap or a gap to the framing present. Typical masons will not concern them selves with such details. Ask or read the contract what they are going to do for preparation to protect the house from moisture. If they say caulk will do it, they are wrong. Stone is a lifetime material, caulk is not. There needs to be a barrier that will last as long as the stone present. – Jack Jun 24 '20 at 16:22
  • Great point Jack, I hope @user119012 sees that! – FreeMan Jun 24 '20 at 16:40
  • Hi Jack. Great advice. Once I remove the existing boards I will be able to tell whether the steps will be up against the foundation or framing. I will add precautions for moisture regardless. Much appreciated. – user119012 Jun 24 '20 at 16:53
  • Overall, it is good that I removed existing boards. I recall when we had the house inspected that the inspector pointed out some rot/repair that had happened by the front door. After removing the OSB and exposing the header, there were clear gaps into my basement where the subfloor was cut out. I filled in those gaps and will staple in some house wrap around the exposed wood before screwing in the PVC board that the steps will go up against. There was also some existing rubber type flashing that I will bend back into place. Jack, what type of barrier do you recommend? – user119012 Jun 26 '20 at 20:22

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