How To Build Brick Steps To Last A Lifetime

Published: 20th May 2010
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Steps are an inevitable part of life as no surface on earth is all at the same level. Although there was a time when man believed the earth was flat, steps were probably already in existence.

If there is a thought at the back of your mind to convert the unsightly mess of your garden slope into some presentable steps, it's time to be sensible and learn how to build brick steps. Even though you may have no experience beforehand, an important thing to note is to take accurate measurements of height, width and depth at the intended site. If you're building open-faced brick steps, remember to include the small allowance of space between bricks. Determine the number of steps required between the two levels to be connected. As a precaution, carry out some research on how to build brick steps. Choose the hotter and drier months as it's much easier to complete the job.

Clear the site of grass and rocks, and level it as best as possible. If you are building multiple steps, do the same for each step. Ensure the soil is packed well for each step and no rabbit holes or likewise are lurking underneath as you want to avoid your steps breaking and collapsing into underground tunnels. It should now resemble rudimentary steps cut into the ground. Since this is probably the most important time in building brick steps, use a device to check the ground level for each step. Ensure they are as perfectly horizontal as possible so as not to end up with lopsided steps.

Build a wooden frame for each step to match the width of the step. Make sure it is high enough to contain a sufficient amount of concrete as the foundation. If you intend to have a landing at the beginning and end of the steps, build a similar wooden frame of a much lesser height. Else skip the landing if it's too much of a hassle. Pour on the concrete mix into each frame and spread evenly to achieve a horizontal plane. In case you want to strengthen the foundation, lay some iron rods (reinforced bars) or a mesh made of iron in the frame before adding the concrete mix. This is recommended for regions with cold climates.

Whilst waiting for the foundation to dry, select your bricks for aesthetic purposes. Once the foundation has thoroughly dried, start work from the edge of the highest step and apply some mortar to the foundation. Don't apply all over the step in case you can't work fast enough and the mortar dries out. Arrange the inner-most line of bricks, prettier side facing up. Check the overall level of the line and ensure bricks on both sides are level to one another. Continue to work outwards with one line of bricks after the other until you reach the edge. Arrange the prettier side of bricks facing up and out. To ensure water doesn't pool at any part of the step and runs off the step, a good tip is to tilt each line of bricks ever so slightly forward. However, the tilt shouldn't be obvious to anyone standing on the step. Apply mortar in the gaps between the bricks and tidy up any excess. Ensure the gaps also have a slight angle to act as rivulets for water to run off the steps. Once the bricks and mortar dry out, you have a set of brick steps to last a lifetime.

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