May 17, 2010
Do you have crumbling, cracked, chipped or just plain old ugly concrete steps at your entrance way, well if you do we are going to talk today on how to fix them and give your entry way a much needed face lift.
This was a recent job that I did and I am going to go over all the steps necessary to to a concrete step repair or a brick step repair job. The steps we are going to fix were made of concrete and brick together that have fallen apart and are in need of repair. As you can see there is alot of work that needs to be done here so lets get started. This picture was taken after the demolition had begun but you can see there is alot of work to be done.
Once your demolition work is done be sure to remove loose debris so you are ready to start laying brick. Purchase a Brick paver with smooth sides for this project so it looks nice and durable, Brick pavers have no holes in them and are very hard so they are perfect for steps and walkways and even driveways.
Start by laying two courses where you want your steps to be located. Be sure on curves that you cut the back side of the brick off so you can keep you joints tight when making turns, if not you will end up with a mortar joint that is 2 inches wide that will not look good. After you have your first two courses in strike them up and prepare to do the first step top. you want your steps to be about 12 inches wide so be sure that you left your self enough room to accomplish this. In my step I used 1 full brick and a half which gives me a 12 inch step.
In my step now there is a 12 inch step that sits about 8 inches off the porch which is perfect for step height. Be sure that all your joints are full as you go along and most importantly use your level frequently, Your step should be perfectly level from left to right and have a slight slope down towards the porch deck so water sheds easily off of the steps. Be sure as you go along the steps that the base under neeth is filled solid with concrete or mortar to ensure a good strong long lasting base. you can use some debris from your demolition to help reduce the amount of fresh fill needed just be sure that the debis is a masonry unit of some sort and thta is not crumbling and be sure to completely encase it in fresh mortar or concrete.
Now it time to run your second step which will include your top deck which should be big enough to open your door and give yourself plenty of walkway space. Once again lay down your two courses and then once they are in and have set up fill the area in between with mortar or concrete. Once thus step is complete you are ready to start your top deck.
The first thing you should do is layout the cuts you will need if you have an arch on your top step, This can be a time consuming process but is will be needed to be done if you want your project to look right when you are done. When possible if a large peice is needed to be cut off to make the turn try to split the cut between two brick so it isn’t so noticeable.
Once this is complete lay your perimeter row of brick in first, it is very important that this is level from left to right or you may find your self in big trouble when you finish the center of the deck. After you have the perimiter in place strike it up and prepare to run the center brick in to fish your project.
Start along the house and run your brick left to right, start with a half of a brick to beak up the pattern a bit. Then lay in your next course by starting with a whole brick so you will end up with a staggered bond pattern and not a stacked bond. Be sure to tuckpoint as you go any open joints and strike all the joints when they are set up, brush them down and strike them again
Once the job is complete wait one day and get some masonry cleaner, muratic acid works the best but it is a bit dangerous so be sure to wear proper safety gear to protect yourself. Apply the acid with a brush and scrub smears off with a good hard bristel or wire brush.