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Hills get cut using the following procedure:

Leveling Procedure

When earth is cut deeply enough, stairs get formed.These stairs, which have front walls and back walls, need to be braced. The obvious choice for a brace is pressure treated wood with rebar running through it and into the earth.

Picture of stairs using 2x8 brace

Can composite wood, the wood used for decking, also be used for a brace?

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Composite wood is not usually rated for structural uses. Whether this is structural or not is debatable, but you'd likely need to drive more rebar if you opt for composite boards to prevent buckling.

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I'd have two concerns.

The first is the structural aspect. Composite wood is quite bendable, so if you wanted to do this, you would need to space the rebar much more closely together than using pressure treat.

I'd also worry about decomposition. Composites aren't rated for direct contact with dirt, and they can decay.

I probably wouldn't do it.

  • Pressure treated wood will also decay, and I'd bet much faster than the composite decking (assuming end cuts are sealed properly). – Tester101 Jul 22 '14 at 10:56

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