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Stairs

Use brick pavers to construct sturdy stairs.
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How to Lay Brick Pavers for Stairs

Brick pavers are used to create patios and walkways. They are set tightly together in a bed of compacted sand. The compact ground and the tight set of the pavers prevent them from shifting and moving. Installing steps to match your brick pavers involves a small amount of concrete and mortar to secure the perimeter of the steps and provide a solid foundation. Install your own paver stairs to create a dramatic entry into your home. Keep your stairs to a three-step maximum to avoid the need for a hand rail, according to most building codes.

Level an area for your stairs. Use the back of the shovel to compact the area. Dig 6 inches below ground.

Dry set the bricks to create the stairs. Arrange and rearrange the bricks until you have a design that you like. Measure the length and width along all four sides of the bottom of the stairs.

Cut 2-by-4 lumber to match these measurements. Nail the four pieces of lumber together to create a frame for the foundation. Rub cooking oil on the inside of the wood with a paper towel. Set the frame in place where the stairs will be set.

Mix pre-mixed concrete and water according to package instructions. Pour 6 inches of concrete into the foundation and let it set until slightly firm.

Press the first layer of brick into the concrete. Mix mortar according to package directions. Spread a thin layer of mortar on top of the brick and set your next layer of pavers.

Continue setting pavers using a small amount of mortar to match your brick paver design. Allow the concrete and mortar to set for 48 hours.

Types of Exterior Stairs

Exterior stairs can be both functional and decorative.
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Wood Stairs

Wood comes in many colors and textures suitable for any space
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Wood stairs work well as an inexpensive addition to a concrete patio. Wood is easy to work with and can be cut to fit any space. Ensure long-term use by using a weather stain on wood to prevent the material from weakening, rotting and breaking.

Brick Stairs

Brick stairs evoke a clean, vintage feel.
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Brick is a way to add class and color to the outside of a house. Brick homes often have a higher value and brick can withstand most weather. It comes in multiple sizes.

Concrete Stairs

Concrete is a long-term solution for stairs and works especially well in a garden. The color of concrete is neutral and goes well with any exterior design. Concrete can be molded by barriers or stencils to create patterns or designs.

Stone Stairs

Stone staircases stand the test of time.
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Stone creates a classical texture for an exterior space. It can be difficult to work with but ensures a reliable staircase for many years.

Aluminum Stairs

Affordable and minimalistic, aluminum is a practical option.
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An aluminum staircase is a quick and cheap way to add stairs to a space. They are durable and weather resistant. A spiral aluminum staircase can lead to a balcony or another level of a house is simple to install.

Making Cement Stair Treads

Replace old or damaged concrete treads.
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Step 1

Cut down the length of four laminated boards, splitting them to a width 3 to 4 inches greater than the thickness of the old stair tread. Cut two of the boards to measure 3 to 4 inches longer than the length of the old tread. Cut the other two boards to measure 3 to 4 inches longer than the width of the old tread.

Step 2

Cut four wooden strips to lengths equal to the thickness of the old stair tread. Screw one strip to one side of the end of each board.

Step 3

Set the boards on their sides with the strips facing out. Arrange them into a rectangle with dimensions that match the dimensions of the old tread. Clamp the corners together, affixing the jaws around the strips and the opposite sides of the boards that the strips abut. Place a square at each corner and make any necessary adjustments to create 90-degree angles.

Step 4

Set the clamped form on top of another laminated board. Clamp the form to the baseboard.

Step 5

Mark inside the form to indicate the requisite height of the new tread. Smear vegetable oil on the inside of the form.

Step 6

Put on a dust mask. Prepare ready-mix cement as directed. Pour the concrete into the form, up to the marks. Tap the sides of the form slightly to allow the concrete to settle.

Step 7

Allow the concrete to stiffen, then remove the form.

How to Design Exterior Concrete Stairs

Design concrete stairs for safety first.
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Step 1

Check local regulations for landing and handrail requirements, and minimum and maximum dimensions for stairs. Determine the start and end point of the stairs, including required landings.

Step 2

Find the vertical rise from the surface of the lower landing to the surface of the upper landing. Divide the total rise by the desired height of the riser. Round a fractional number up or down and divide that number by the total rise. The result is the height of the riser.

Step 3

Calculate the tread using the exterior tread-run ratio of 2 x risers (R) + tread (T)= 26 inches. Pitch the stairs at 1/4 inch per foot to shed water.

Step 4

Choose a slip-proof finish for the concrete, such as broom or exposed aggregate finish. Plan expansion and contraction joints close to the bottom riser and far from the top one.

Step 5

Reinforce the concrete with steel. Dowel, or fasten, the stairs into a retaining wall where there is one.