enter image description hereI would like to add a plywood landing to the garage and kitchen door entryway from the concrete stoop. The Cinder block garage, which was built later and abuts the house, has a horizontal crack that runs below where I want to attach a 2”x4” ledger with concrete screws. The plywood landing, which would connect to the sloped stoop, would be about 29” x 8’ with some sort of railing.

Is it necessary to chip out and re-point the cinder block bed joints with mortar? It is getting pretty cold for mortar to set here in Northern Illinois. I can try to notch the legs that support the ledger but the floor is pretty uneven too.

I was planning on attaching a ledger to the wall and stoop in a L shape fashion. Since the stoop has a slope should I just add a transition piece or should I build it sloped to match?

Also, the stair rise is high, the first stair is 10 1/2” and the second one to the top of the landing is 7 1/4”. Should I just add a wood step to the bottom floor and secure it somehow?

This is for an 84 year old elderly family member who has a hard time with the steps. Any tips you may have on construction and design are appreciated.


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    You've provided some great pics of the existing situation. However, to me, it's not particularly clear what you're attempting to do. Is the 8' long landing really supposed to be a ramp, or is it actually a level platform? Where is is going to go? Please make a sketch (just a simple hand-drawn, top-down plan view with some dimensions is sufficient) and post a picture of that, too. – FreeMan Dec 14 '20 at 13:03
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    Additionally, yes, you should probably repoint the mortar between the bottom 2 courses of block, but I'm not sure exactly what that has to do with the platform problem. Yes, it's getting cold now, but you're inside a garage, right? Put a heater in there, even if it's temporary while the new mortar cures. – FreeMan Dec 14 '20 at 13:30
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    I wouldn't bother with a ledger. Construct it as a freestanding "deck" then attach to the wall. You could even cover over the existing concrete step for width. Someone else could give better framing advice. – DaveM Dec 14 '20 at 17:04
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    Good design suggestion, DaveM, but the concrete step can't be raised without interfering with the door swing. – isherwood Dec 14 '20 at 17:36
  • Which way does the stoop slope? It appears quite parallel with the two door bottoms. Also, your comment says you'd like a ramp, but your sketch is not a ramp. Please clarify. – isherwood Dec 14 '20 at 17:38

I would build it more or less exactly as you've sketched it, but on posts like a deck. Don't attempt to suspend it on the block wall. Build a conventional floor system with 2x6 sides and joists on 16" centers, then cover it with 3/4" plywood.

Drop six legs to the slab fastened to and supporting the rim joists. I'd probably use one 2x4 under the rim and one against it and lapping onto the joist, inside. Be aware that these will vary in height to accommodate slope in the slab.

Post detail:

 __ __
|  |  |
|  |  |<-- rim joist
|  |  |
|  |__|
|  |  |
|  |  |<-- outer leg member
|  |  |
| <|--|--- inner leg member
|  |  |

You can then fasten it to the block to hold position, but you're not relying on that connection for load bearing. You could also just put a dab of construction adhesive under each post to lock it in place.

As to the slope in the concrete stoop, I'd consider twisting the deck to go from sloped at the concrete to level at the other end. It really depends on what the user prefers, though. The alternative is to set the deck level with the low point on the stoop and create a small transition wedge to blend with the concrete.

A good railing strategy is just to use 2x2 spindles on 5-1/4" centers with a 2x4 top rail (oriented vertically). Optionally cap that with another 2x4 or 2x6 to create more of an elbow rest. Fasten each spindle to the rim joist with two 2-1/2" screws.

The stoop step is a conundrum. Your idea to build a wooden bottom step has merit, but stair sets with random rise heights are a problem. I'd consider building a full 3x3 landing 7-1/4" down from the lower tread, leaving you with two uniform rises above the landing. Mentally this is less likely to result in stumbles.

  • While this isn't likely to move anywhere, if I were doing it, I'd probably put a couple of Tapcons™ or other concrete fastener to hold the whole assembly in place. I'd probably put two in the ledger board next to the (solid?) poured steps, not through the block. Just because I like overkill... – FreeMan Dec 14 '20 at 17:11

If it was me I would go sideways with a ramp and a banister/handle or build a ramp over the stairs and I would demand he use a walker in the house. If he can't negotiate those steps he should be using a walker around the house and you need a ramp for that. I would then attach it to the concrete floor and steps with a few lines of construction adhesive/liquid nails. I would NOT attempt to modify the concrete in any way. You want to be able to demolish it when it's no longer needed.

Really push him to use a walker around the house. All it takes is a fall and break a hip or something and he will never be able to be out of a nursing home again. It is really important at that age. And I think you need to get the house evaluated anyway since this is sure to not be the only dangerous place in the house for someone that old who can't negotiate those stairs.

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    This gives one vague line addressing the question then admonishes the OP for something totally off topic. How do you know this person isn't using a walker? Please stick to addressing the question at hand and don't tell the OP how to deal with the family member. – FreeMan Dec 14 '20 at 13:01
  • For starters I've been down this particular road before in the caring for elderly family member department. I will also point out the OP clarified that he DOES want a ramp. Walkers are most commonly used at home and have saved MANY elderly people from falls and kept them out of nursing homes yet are often resisted by elderly who view them as proof of decline. If the OP ends up hiring a caregiver later they will likely demand a ramp. Spend the time NOW to do the ramp and you won't be forced to tear out the stairs and put in a ramp later. – Ted Mittelstaedt Dec 15 '20 at 6:26

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