Stairways

Plan, design and build
steps into your wall.
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Stair Design

Stairs can be easily designed with flowing curves or with right angles. The simplest stair designs are built using curves. Allow for extra time for laying out and building your stairs.

Making Stair Construction Simple

The steps shown here are general guidelines for building stairways. By understanding the basic installation elements, stairways can be easily incorporated into the retaining wall installation. Always check local code requirements before building any type of stair application.


stairs with landing

Break up long sets of steps with landings


stairs with curves

Add switchback curves to meander up the hill


stairs with turns

Drop in a turn and a landing to break the stair line


Allan Block Wall Systems offer a variety of options for stairways

Stairs can be designed with flowing curves or straight lines. Curved sidewalls create a softer, natural look. Straight sidewalls and corners offer a crisp, traditional style; however they require AB Corner Blocks and take more time and custom cutting to build.

how many steps do I need

how many steps do I need?

How Many Steps Do I Need?

To find the number of steps needed, measure the total rise of your slope in inches and divide by 8 in. (200 mm) - the approximate height of a block.*

*Check with your local Allan Block Dealer for exact specifications.

Tackle Your Slope

Stair designs for slopes

Match your stair design to your slope type

Match your stairway design to the natural grade of your slope.

Take Time to Build in Quality

Building stairs and steps requires careful planning, flexibility on the job site and an eye for detail. Be sure to allow adequate time for layout and building of stairs.

stair riser locations

Good compaction is required

Stair Building Basics

stair riser locations

Determine stair riser locations

Many stair design variations are possible. Stair layout for rise and run needs to be calculated with consideration to the stair tread that best suits your application.

Determine Stair Riser Locations

Once the number of steps has been determined and the type of stair tread has been selected, excavate the stair location based on the rise and run.


Excavate the base trench and stair location

Excavate the base trench and stair location


Install the drain pipe

Install the drain pipe


Backfill and compact base material

Backfill and compact base material


Install base course of retaining wall

Install base course of retaining wall


Add wall rock to retaining wall and compact

Add wall rock to retaining wall and compact


Excavate the Base Trench and Stair Location

How to build retaining wall stairs

Video: How to build retaining wall stairs

Drain Pipe

If drain pipe is being used on your project, continue it behind the stairs at the lowest point of elevation. Do not interrupt the drain pipe at stair locations.

Install the Base Course

Level retaining wall blocks on base

Level retaining wall blocks on base

Compact the stair tread area

Compact the stair tread area

Align first stair riser

Align first stair riser


Backfill and compact stair riser

Backfill and compact stair riser


Install next stair riser

Install next stair riser


Install retaining wall out from stairs

Install retaining wall out from stairs


Backfill and compact retaining wall and stair risers

Backfill and compact retaining wall and stair risers


Install First Stair Riser

Stair riser placement

Stair riser placement

Backfill and Compact

Stair riser placement

Additional stair riser placement

Additional Steps







Stairs with AB Capstones and Pavers

Stairs with AB Capstones

Stairs with AB Capstones and Pavers

Stairs with AB Capstones

Salt for Ice Removal

In colder climates, salt CANNOT be used on the blocks or AB Capstones as it will cause them to deteriorate. Use sand instead.

Stair Tread Options

Stairs with Pavers

Stairs with Pavers

Stairs with Concrete

Stairs with Concrete

Stairs with AB Capstones

Stairs with AB Capstones

Stairs with AB Capstones and Pavers

Stairs with AB Capstones and Pavers

Stair Applications

There are many different options available for stairs for your retaining wall project. Remember to always check the local building codes before construction.

Curved steps parallel to retaining wall

Curved steps parallel to retaining wall

Square steps parallel to retaining wall

Square steps parallel to retaining wall

Curved steps into retaining wall face

Curved steps into retaining wall face

Curved steps with corners parallel to the retaining wall

Curved steps with corners parallel to the retaining wall

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