Masonry steps are beautiful and long-lasting. They are also easy to build. If you are unfamiliar working with hardscape materials, a small set of stairs can be a good starter project. After building your stairs, you will know the same principles that are followed for larger jobs, like stone walls.
The most difficult part of building masonry steps is deciding what materials to use. With so many varieties of stone, brick and concrete products available, it can be hard to narrow it down. Here are... three ideas to get you started.
For more ideas, read this article about outdoor steps and stairways.
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Brick Steps with Bluestone Treads
Make sure you start this project by laying down a solid concrete slab, so the bricks and bluestone won't go anywhere. When using mortar, you always need to build on a solid foundation. Otherwise, movements in the ground will cause the mortar to crack and potentially fail. In other words, eventually you will have to redo all that hard work. To save bricks, the... inside of the steps can be filled with concrete after the bricks are laid. The bluestone treads will then be set on top.
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Concrete, Stone and Shells: An Idea for Seaside Steps
To withstand the constant exposure to the sea, steps built on a seaside property need to be strong. Properly cured concrete provides plenty of strength, potentially. To spice up the concrete a bit, a few stones and some mussel shells can be gathered from nearby and inserted.
You can use concrete and objects found near your home. Just be sure to keep in mind that steps are for walking on. Keep them flat and easy to traverse. As long as you can accomplish that, get creative.
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Local, natural stones sometimes come out of the earth as perfect steps. They are uniform in thickness (about eight inches), stack nicely on top of each other (leaving a comfortable tread), and will last forever.
Stone slab steps do have one drawback: They are heavy. You will want some help moving them around (and use a back brace). Some stone companies will deliver steps to your house and even install them for a small fee.